The Cowboy and I drink a lot of water. We buy cases of it several times a week.
After we finish drinking our water, we push the bottle downward (without the cap on) so we can compress it into a nice, neat package that takes up less room in our recycling trash can.
When I crush that bottle, it makes a satisfying crackling sound. But even more satisfying is when I pull back and throw the crushed bottle across my office into a large brown paper bag that sits on the floor, which acts as my “basket.”
However, for a long time I really sucked when it came to throwing the bottle right into the bag.
Sometimes I’d get it in (closet door [backboard] = SCORE!). but most of the time, the floor would be littered with near-misses and big fat fails.
Just recently, The Cowboy watched how I threw the bottle. He noticed that my arm was coming in from the side, which always put the bottle to the left of the target. He showed me how to pivot my body slightly so my arm was now throwing more along a straight line.
I followed his directions and BOOM! In the basket, Jackson!
I threw a few more just to make sure and was amazed. Just a slight adjustment to how I positioned my body made all the difference.
How do you position yourself in the marketplace?
Simon Sinek, in his book, Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action, says this:
“…every single company and organization on the planet knows WHAT they do. Some companies and people know HOW they do WHAT they do. Very few people or companies can clearly articulate WHY they do WHAT they do.
When I say WHY, I don’t mean to make money – that’s a result. By WHY I mean what is your purpose, cause or belief? WHY does your company exist? WHY do you get out of bed every morning? And WHY should anyone care?”
Sinek recommends starting with the “why” question because he understands that your product development, marketing and sales will either succeed or fail depending on its clarity and commitment.
Positioning isn’t easy to figure out. It typically happens through trial and error. However, once you figure out the “why,” then everything else flows from it. The “how” to do it is affected and the “what” can’t help but be remarkable.
Goals make all the difference in the world
I just finished reading James Altucher’s book, Choose Yourself. Great book. Really, really great.
Toward the end, he talks about creating goals. But in his inimitable way, he doesn’t come at it headfirst like most productivity experts. He comes at it from the side:
Draw a little circle. Put what you do in that circle. If you’re a secretary, put “secretary.” If you’re an artist, put “artist.” If you are a mother, put “mother.” Put the thing that is central to your life.
If you are unsure what is central to your life, put your job title. If you don’t have a job title, put what title you would like to be central to your life. Draw a circle around that. Draw lines dividing up the second circle into compartments. Like apartments in a space station. Write down the names of the people who are affected by your first circle.
Maybe you help them do better jobs. Maybe you’re a doctor and they are your patients. Maybe you are a secretary and they are your colleagues, your bosses, your family whom you provide for, your relatives who listen to you, your friends who rely on you. If you are a blogger, they are your readers. Draw a circle around that one. Draw the lines again.
Who lives in these compartments? The people who are affected by the people you affect. For instance, the children of your friends. The friends of your children. The people related to your employees. Or your employers. This would be in the third circle. Next circle: what your center circle can turn into. A blog can turn into a book, or a show, or a consulting service, or a novel, or who knows? Keep thinking of it.
Now that’s a creative way to think about goals. Who do you want to influence? And how?
Without something to aim for, you’ll achieve very little if anything at all. You must take action.
Taking action is what separates the high achievers from the wish-I-coulders. It’s the difference between the CEO and the middle manager. Once you decide to do something and take action… watch out! The world will never be the same.
Dan Kennedy says that there are three types of action:
- Starting things or implementation
He contends that for many people, starting something is easy. It’s the follow-through and completion that gets them in the end.
Since learning the right way to throw, I “practice” every day. I make more of my shots than not. And it’s the same for my other goals. I write them down and make them happen. It’s not by accident.
Another takeaway: it took someone else to watch what I was doing in order to help me correct the mistake I was making. Sometimes it’s hard to ask for help. Sometimes we want to look like we’ve got it together and can handle things.
But sometimes, it can actually save you a lot of frustration to just seek out someone who knows more and ask for input. The satisfaction I get watching my empty water bottle sail through the air right into the bag makes it well worth it.