A few years ago, I read Predictable Success. And then I read it again (and again and again and again).
And then I became obsessed with everything about it and tracked down its author, Les McKeown, whom I forced to be my friend.
Then I made him talk to me about the stages of an organization’s life, mostly so I didn’t feel crazy every time something big happened during our growth.
I keep a copy of the book on my desk and, from time-to-time, I open it up to the section that best fits our current situation and I read. And study.
Because, again, I like to feel less crazy than I feel.
When you “uplevel” something in your life or business, you begin to feel crazy.
When you finally take a goal off the back burner and make it a priority, you feel crazy.
You feel like you’re standing in front of a cliff, getting ready to jump…without a parachute.
The Rainbow Killer
Of course, the experts like Les will tell you that the opportunity lies in your uncomfortableness. But I’m not sure that makes it any easier.
It IS supposed to feel this way, but, because everything in life is 80 percent mindset and 20 percent mechanics, most of what we do has to focus on our thinking.
Remember when The Secret was published and the entire world went nuts?
I’m not going to pretend I read it and can eschew all sorts of lessons for you from it. But I do know about karma and what it’s like to put good vibes out into the world.
It’s not really a secret at all. It’s simply a different way of looking at things—and taking control of your own destiny.
When Laura Petrolino first started working here, we had this joke that she was rainbows and unicorns and I was the rainbow killer.
I mean, she even had a mug made for me with ?? on it.
I like to think it’s because I’m more practical (and certainly more cynical) than she.
But the truth of the matter is, she is extraordinarily optimistic. And, because of that, great things happen to her.
The “secret” is that she puts so much good out into the world that it comes back to her ten-fold.
The Excuses We Give Ourselves
Another way to think about this is your New Year’s resolution to go to the gym three days a week.
The mechanics of getting there—the 20 percent—work.
We know if we go to the gym three days a week, follow a training schedule, and improve our nutrition, we will reach our weight loss and fitness goals.
The mechanics are all there for us to be successful.
That’s not where things break down. Things break down with our mindset and we make excuses:
- It’s too busy at work and I couldn’t get there today, this week, this month, this year.
- I really cannot get up any earlier than I already do.
- I’m working 16 hour days and I just can’t get away.
- The gym is too far away and it’s cold outside.
- I stayed up too late last night.
- I’m hungover.
- My kids have activities and I’m driving them all around town.
- My body is so sore from the first three days that I can’t move and have to take a break.
- I like to work out in the evenings, but by the time I get home, I’m too tired to stand.
- My gym membership increased.
And those excuses are just the few I could think of, off the top of my head.
We definitely have the strategies to lose weight or get fit (or both), but the excuses are what make us stuck.
Collect Evidence to Support Your Thinking
To push through and actually get to the gym, you have to change your mindset—and find someone to keep us accountable.
I will often tell my cycling coach what I am planning to ride each weekend, just so he’ll hold me accountable.
He has the rides I HAVE to do and the rides I said I was going to do.
Then, when my alarm goes off at 5 a.m. on Saturday morning so I can get out there before any traffic, I really have no choice but to get up and get going.
My mindset will keep me going, but the accountability partner gets my butt out of bed.
When you can get those two things right, magic happens and then you can tap into your strategy (or the mechanics of what you want to do).
The trouble with mindset, though, is it’s also fact.
If you say you don’t have time, you don’t.
You’ve created a belief around why you can’t lose weight or build a business or quit your job or take an online course or read more books or the multiple other things you want to do, but don’t.
Because you believe you can’t do those things, you collect evidence to support your thinking:
- Moms don’t have time to read books
- I don’t have time to exercise
- No time to date
- There is no time for TV
- Eating healthy is expensive
- I don’t like the taste of water
It was incredibly easy for me to find things that support each of those sentences, with just one Google search.
If you want to believe something is true, you can find plenty of stuff out there to support your thinking.
(And don’t get me started on #fakenews, which is part of the problem.)
Humans are meaning-making machines, which means we give meaning to everything that shapes our worlds, and that includes our excuses for not doing things.
Why Am I Stuck?
But it also means we absolutely can make those things that are important to us a priority.
If you really want to work out or eat healthy or have dinner with the family every night or scale a business, you can do it.
You just have to give meaning to those things, change the way you think about them, and find evidence to support your mind shift.
Right now, I’d love for you to pause your reading and write down one thing you want to do.
It could be something like the Spin Sucks podcast—on your list for a thousand years and you just need to get it done.
Or it could be something bigger that you need to make a priority, once and for all.
Got it? Good.
Now I want you to tape it to your mirror or above your computer—someplace you will see it every, single day.
Then, when you get stuck, take out a notebook and write down your thoughts:
- I don’t have time to work out.
- A weekly podcast will take too much time.
- Clients won’t pay me what I’m worth.
- Clients in my market won’t pay more than $1,500/month.
These are all negative thoughts. When you are stuck, ask yourself:
What thought is preventing me from moving forward right now?
Write it down and then look for the patterns that show up around your thoughts so you can reframe it in your head.
For instance, I used to think I didn’t have time to work out, but now I see that I can ride a stationary bike while I watch TV with my family.
Or, I used to think I didn’t have time to commit to hosting a weekly podcast, but now I see that it’s actually easier than sitting down to write 2,000 words every, single day.
Or, I used to think my clients wouldn’t pay me what I’m worth, but now I see it’s because I’ve settled for those who were willing to pay me at the time instead of working only with my ideal clients.
Even, I used to think clients in my market wouldn’t pay a premium retainer, but now I see that it’s simply because I never asked.
Change Your Mindset, Reach Your Goals
I’d love for you to continue this work with me.
Take out a notebook or open a document on your computer and get ready to write.
Write down the goal you decided on above and then answer the following questions:
- What is making it impossible for me to reach this goal?
- Why haven’t I made this a priority before now?
- What excuses have I given myself to make it OK in my head to keep pushing this down my priority list?
- Why do I allow myself to continue to not make this a priority?
- What is absolutely not true in the excuses I’ve made so far?
- What will happen when I make this goal a priority? How does my life change? What kind of person do I become?
- Do I want the result this goal will give me or do I want to keep pushing it down the to-do list?
It’s not easy work. They say it takes six weeks to make a new habit and you’re doing that, plus changing your mindset.
But I guarantee you, if you do this work and stick with it for the next six weeks, you’ll have what Les McKeown calls…predictable success.