State of the Spark Blog
“What the crap SHOULD I focus on?”
I can’t tell you how many times I have heard a client say this.
And, at higher levels of success, hitting new plateaus can be devastating. It not only can affect your own financial success, but as you now employ people and serve more people, it can be devastating for those you are responsible to serve.
I am here to remind you of a critical core principal: ” Remember that success is continuously making the main thing about making the main thing the main thing.”
It is all about protecting your IOs.
In State of the Spark, we use the phrase IOs to describe our Ignited Outputs.
This is a simple reminder to focus on the Outputs that matter the absolutely most.
Ignited Outputs are the product of the Queen Bee Role. Focusing on your IOs is a reminder to be doing the activity of the QBR, the Queen Bee Role.
As Bob Proctor reminds us, it is “Work that counts”.
It is the work that most defines the success of your company.
It is the CORE KPI so that you know that you can (sustain-ably) continue your great work.
“But when I DO focus on the IOs, Grant, I feel like the stresses still pile up.” Stacy wasn’t wrong. She expressed something that I believe holds many people back from living the simple life principle of focusing on the IOs.
HOW DOES FOCUSING ON THE IO’S FEEL?
Let us clarify what it feels like to actually live life by focusing on the IOs.
In fact, I will borrow a phrase I heard from one of my success mentors. He told me:
“You have to be comfortable going home with fires still burning in the office. What matters is that you choose which fires are still burning.”
To take new levels in your business and in your life, you have to be ok with having open loops, open tasks. Remember, you are taking a new level. That means that you are still on the hook for ensuring that the responsibilities of the current level are being fulfilled while (masochistically) grabbing for more responsibilities from the new level you are reaching to achieve.
That means you are adding more to your plate.
Notice what I did NOT say.
I did NOT say that you need to FULFILL the responsibilities of the current level yourself. I DID say that you are on the hook to ensure that they are still being done. Since you are pioneering the new level in your life, then you are most likely on the hook (at least initially) to fulfill the responsibilities of the new level.
You can delegate the responsibilities of the current level to those on your team, subcontractors, or anyone willing to help. You can hire it out. If you can’t pay for you, you can partner to have it completed. In rare cases you can simply cut off the responsibilities. It is rare because most people depend on the rewards of those responsibilities to survive.
You could feel stuck here.
You either have to A.) do it ALL yourself, which is stressful and overloading, or B.) you can delegate then feel stressful doubting that the work is being completed to your standards for your clients, so the real stress is the responsibility of training and delegating WELL and pushing forward through the work until it is successfully delegated.
This can make you feel like you’re choking!
The fires you must be comfortable going home with, though, I contend should be the fires of open loops. I will assume you make the wise choice and decided to train your replacement. You will make a repeatable process for them. You will show them how to do it through repetition. Then you will hand it off to them.
And they will fail!
You will incorporate a quality check step as an opportunity for training them even further.
But at your core you will do this because you believe it is possible for people to be even better.
So the fires you will allow to burn is the fire in your mind that wonders if the work is being done well. It is merely the fires of the open loops. Chances are that the work is being completed, so go home.
You will have to entrust these responsibilities in others at some point. And them being on their own will reveal what needs to be worked on next. The imperfection is good!
YES, there are definitely still fires.
But you have focused on your IOs.
60% of your time was dedicated to needle moving activity.
(Note: part of your IOs should be to successfully hand off these tasks to your team anyways!)
Once you have prioritized that, then the rest of your day can be spent scrambling, catching up, swallowing that frog, or whatever other axiom you use.
And that time will not feel free, but instead it will be tough.
But you can clock out knowing that you moved the business development forward. Your Queen Bee role will have been fulfilled. You will have moved the majority of the business forward, while night fires still burned.
That is the way of it. Find zen in it. Do the IOs anyway.
Because this IS the in-between! This IS the limbo of the Level-Up.
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