Ask for What You Want!

Written by on Saturday May 18, 2013

“The mantra of the millennium is ‘I don’t have time. I don’t have time. I don’t have time.’” Dan Baker, in his wonderful book What Happy People Know, expresses no sympathy for this socalled belief, pointing out that there are still 24 hours in every day. He argues that we are programmed by fear to want everything often because we feel like we are not good enough as we are.
“The real culprit is making decisions that are driven by fear: choosing too much, choosing a happiness trap* as a priority, or not choosing at all. These are actions that squander time and render it scarce.”
(*The happiness traps are worth listing: trying to buy happiness; trying to find it through pleasure/indulgence; trying to over-analyze the past and end up a victim; trying to overcome weaknesses; trying to force happiness)
His advice is to make sure you prioritize what is truly most valuable to you. The three areas that fulfill us most are our purpose, our health, and our relationships. This leads me back to the Big Picture.
Goals: This is a great place to start. There are many excellent books on this topic. At present I like starting my day out with Brian Tracy’s method of writing out 12 month goals in the present tense and starting each sentence with the word “I.” For example, I earn $x, I work out x times/week, I enjoy time with my family x times/year etc. This is fun so long as you stretch yourself and think bigger with your goals or else it can get monotonous. The real juice comes from picturing each one actually existing in your life.
The real point here is to create something big that you’re up to. Goals based around what matters most to you can get you excited and in action. Remember: it’s what they make of you not what they make for you that counts.
Habits: Many of us try out new ideas and strategies in our life, and even though we see some positive results we do not turn them into habits.
Whether it was because those activities were always outside our comfort zone or because they required greater self-discipline, the fact is we are living small, avoiding complete responsibility, and not fulfilling our potential by avoiding doing these important and effective things.
The book that has influenced me more than any other has to be Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Here are the 7 habits:

  • 1. Be proactive: Take complete responsibility for all areas of your life-this is much easier said than done. How’s your health? Is there something more you could be doing there? What about your financial situation? Relationships with family members? It’s very easy to put the blame “out there” but this resolves nothing.
  • 2. Begin with the end in mind: Know where you want to go in all areas of your life. When Alice tells the Cheshire Cat in Alice in Wonderland that she doesn’t know where she wants to go, the cat replies: “Well, then, any road will do.” Don’t be another Alice!
  • 3. Put first things first: Not pursuing the most important things in life is the cause of most of our unhappiness. You want to spend your time on the first things in your life.
  • 4. Think Win/Win: Life and business work so much better when both parties are happy.
  • 5. Seek first to understand, then to be understood: poor communication is the main reason for challenges in life and business. Make sure the other person knows he or she has been understood before you respond. Much easier said than done! For most of us this is a skill to develop.
  • 6. Synergize: you cannot get to the top on your own no matter how proud you are about being “independent.” Reaching out for support and guidance and working together with others will move you from good to great. If you are obsessed with doing it all yourself, you are not at the top of your game. I know not least because that’s how I used to be!
  • 7. Sharpen the Saw: this means that if you don’t take care of yourself first, you are no good to anyone. You have physical, emotional, spiritual, and mental needs that must all be nurtured and kept active for you to be an effective person.

DO IT! Start with the Brian Tracy approach to setting 12 month goals in the present tense.
Goals and habits are the first piece to mastering your time.
Author: Matt Anderson, The Referral Authority, Author of Fearless Referrals Copyright 2011.


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