Like many of you, I hold a planning retreat for my business at the beginning of each year. (I also do a smaller one at the beginning of each month, which is a practice that I strongly recommend.) My annual retreat was this past weekend, and in looking over what I accomplished last year, something that I already knew about myself was strongly reinforced:
When I have a clear goal, set my mind to it, and combine these two things with a hard deadline, I get things done.
In thinking about this further, I realized that I could break this down into an equation—an equation that has been responsible for virtually every achievement I’ve made in my business:
What + Why = HowWhat + Why = How Click To Tweet
Let me give you an example.
Several years ago I got a call from a potential client who was interested in having me keynote their annual convention. They had narrowed it down to three possible speakers, including me. This would be a lucrative contract for a client that I really wanted to work for, with a strong possibility of future business. Our phone conversation confirmed that I’d be a good match for this audience. The only hitch was that they wanted to hire an author because they wanted to give each audience member a copy of the speaker’s book. At that time, I had not yet written a book. Each of the other two speakers had.
I asked when they would be making their final decision. She said that she and the committee would be getting together in three weeks. I said, “Give me the names and addresses of the committee members, and I’ll make sure each of them have a copy of my book at that meeting.”
So now I had my What: a book—written, designed, edited, printed, and delivered—in three weeks. The What, in other words, combines the clear goal with the deadline. (And, since I had made a promise to the client, this represented a very hard deadline!)
I also had my Why: a lucrative contract with an ideal client—one for whom my message would resonate perfectly—with a strong possibility of future business.
Now, if you ask most people to write, produce, and ship a completed book all within three weeks, they’d tell you it can’t be done (or at least that they can’t do it). I would have told you the same thing.
But remember the equation: What + Why = How.
I had my What. I had my Why. And because they were so strong, I found my How.
I wrote the book in one marathon three-day weekend. It wasn’t War and Peace, but it was a book. At the same time, I asked a colleague who had self-published multiple books to find me a designer/editor who would work within my time frame and budget. Because my colleague was well-connected in this area, I had my designer/editor even before my book was finished. On Monday night, I emailed her the manuscript. On Friday morning, she emailed me the PDF of the completed book. We made a few changes over the weekend, and the following Monday I uploaded the PDF to Amazon CreateSpace (an instant printing service) and ordered copies for each of the committee members.
Bottom line for me: They had the books in their hands with nearly a week to spare, and I got the contract.
Bottom line for you: When you have a crystal-clear What, and a truly compelling Why, you’ll find the How.When you have a crystal clear What, and a truly compelling Why, you’ll find the How. Click To Tweet