When we implemented the strategies in Gino Wickman’s book Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business in our company, I’d love to tell you that the difference was immediate and remarkable, but actually, it took time. However, just like the book describes, we started to gain traction and then we saw it spilling over into our personal lives in an amazing way.
EOS is the Entrepreneurial Operating System, a set of simple concepts and practical tools that everyone on our team uses. When I saw what it was doing for our business, I realized that it’s also a framework for living.
We should all establish an operating system for our lives.
Without it, we just flounder. We blow in the wind. We’re reactionary instead of being in control, which is frustrating and causes stress—and that sends us on a downward spiral that’s hard to pull out of.
But when we have a system, when we know what we want our lives to be and we have a plan for making it happen, we’re in control and at peace—even when we’re dealing with the unexpected.
In business, your goals and plans are going to revolve around your company’s mission, revenue, profits, growth, and so on.
What about your personal life? Do you have goals for your health, your relationships, your personal growth, your finances? Do you know how you’re going to reach those goals?
Recently I saw internationally recognized sales trainer Joe Pici of Pici & Pici speak at the Central Florida Christian Chamber of Commerce. He said we all need to know what our non-negotiables are—the things that we are either willing to do or not do to reach our goals—and live by them.
Then he gave a simple system for managing our priorities. Everything on our to-do list should fall into one of four categories:
- I gotta. These are the things that absolutely must get done. Do them first, no exceptions.
- I should. After you get the “I gottas” done, tackle the “I shoulds.”
- I’d like to. If you have time, you can do these.
- Delete. These are the things that will not move you closer to your goals or that someone else can do for you. Cross them off your list and don’t do them.
We don’t have to do everything.
When I sit down with my calendar every Sunday evening and look at the week ahead, I do it with my business and personal priorities in mind. I limit my business activities to measurable things that are consistent with our vision and goals. We have a great team, so I delegate whatever I can.
My health is important to me, so things like working out and preparing healthy meals are a non-negotiable priority. So is time with my family. Putting these things in the “I gotta” category makes me a better wealth advisor and business leader.
A big part of EOS is prioritizing the vision over the chaos. There will always be things tugging at your attention—things that weren’t urgent a few minutes ago but seem urgent now because something happened to make you aware of them and you’re allowing yourself to focus on them. Sometimes those things may be legitimately urgent, but most of the time, they’re not.
Don’t let other people and minutia run your life. Just because they want a chunk of your time and attention doesn’t mean they deserve it.
When my plan gets interrupted and I’m faced with an unexpected challenge, I like to take a deep breath and use the Power Pause (a simple, powerful technique developed by John Harricharan) to prioritize. I take just three minutes and disconnect from the problem by totally switching my attention away from it. I let myself feel as though the problem was solved completely. Then I thank God for guiding me. And I know what I have to do (or not do).
When you’ve defined your vision, established your priorities and created a system for focusing on what matters most, it’s much more likely you will stay on track, be hyper aware of distractions and truly make your life count.