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One Simple Equation That Will Help You Achieve Remarkable Results

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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 = How

What + 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.

Uh oh.

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
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About the Author:

29-time Emmy Award winner and Hall of Fame keynote speaker Bill Stainton, CSP is an expert on Innovation, Creativity, and Breakthrough Thinking. He helps leaders and their teams come up with innovative solutions — on demand — to their most challenging problems.
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