The One Thing Standing Between You and Your Goals

Every once in a while, I read a business book that makes me think “Eureka!  I’ve found it!”  That’s exactly how I felt when I read this simple book called “The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results”.  I call this a simple book because it’s central premise is that focusing on just one thing will help you succeed in all areas of your life.  This simple idea of narrowing down your focus to just one thing can help improve your: business, finances, personal life, physical health, key relationships, and even your spiritual life.

The number one bestselling book was written by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan.  Keller is the co-founder of Keller Williams, one of the top real estate companies in the United States.  Papasan is an editor at HarperCollins Publishers and is an established speaker and corporate trainer.  In this book, the authors bring together a great collection of stories and science that helps support their ideas.

So, what is this book about?  The premise is that if you want to reach your goals you need to focus your attention on just one thing at a time.  You need to constantly ask yourself this focusing question:  “What’s the ONE thing I can do, such that by doing it everything else will become easier or unnecessary?” 

While this may sound almost ridiculously simple, think about how many of us are living life by doing completely the opposite.  Instead of focusing on just one thing, we are focusing on a million things at once.  This is why entrepreneurs can so easily become victims of burnout.  As one of the authors, Gary Keller, points out, “It is not that we have too little time to do all the things we need to do, it is that we feel the need to do too many things in the time we have.”

If you are like me, perhaps you too have wondered why is it that everyone has the same number of hours in a day, and yet some people seem to get so much more done?  Well, according to this book, success is a result of doing just ONE thing until it’s done.

What I liked about this book is that the authors do a great job of showing us that multi-tasking doesn’t work.  For years, I have struggled with my inability to successfully multi-task.  I don’t know about you, bu I have always found that multi-tasking left me feeling scattered, frustrated, and exhausted.  And yet, I thought it was the secret sauce to being productive.  After reading this book, I finally understood that the reason multi-tasking doesn’t work for me… is because multi-tasking just doesn’t work!  For this one idea alone, the book is a game changer.

 

“If you are chasing two rabbits, you won’t catch either one.”

~ Russian Proverb

 

The book goes on to tackle some other commonly accepted productivity beliefs.  Here’s just a few:

  • Everything we do matters equally – is a lie.  Doing the most important thing is always the most important thing
  • The successful person leads a disciplined life – is a lie.  Success is about doing the right thing, not about doing everything right.
  • We all just need more willpower – is a lie.  We need to do our most important work when our willpower is at its strongest.

What I especially liked about this book is that it helps the reader gain clarity on what their ONE thing is and then formulate a plan to move forward.  The authors provide concrete solutions and a clear road-map on how you can make your ONE thing your highest priority.  It’s also helpful they address all the things that can derail us, which they fondly refer to as the “Four Thieves,” and then offer some advice on goal-setting and time blocking.

“The ONE Thing” is a quick and easy read.  It is well written with examples and stories to back up the authors ideas.  It also includes drawings throughout the book to help support the written text.  Finally, I like that every chapter ends with summary of the “Big Ideas”, which helps to cement what you’ve read.

I highly recommend this book to any business professional that wants to work smarter, not just harder.  This book can help you cut through the clutter of both your professional and personal life, allowing you to better focus on the things in life that really matter.

 

By Gillian Whitney

Communications Consultant

Launch4Life

gillian@launch4life.com

Never Stop Learning With E-Books

While I am currently on vacation, traipsing around the Highlands of Scotland, I am still learning.  Just like I love podcasts, I sure hope you enjoyed reading my previous post on that topic, I also love e-books.  For this three-week adventure, I decided to leave my computer at home and just take my iPad.  To make it a little bit easier on myself, I also brought along an Apple wireless keyboard, to type my blog posts.

At the Seattle/Tacoma airport, where I boarded my flight to Glasgow, I saw a sign that attracted my attention. To be honest with you, since I am a huge book nerd, it doesn’t take much to get me to notice anything advertising free books!

So there I was, with the ability to download a free e-book to take with me.  Better yet, I didn’t even need a library card to take advantage of the free offer.  Instead, I was given the option to sign up for a free two-day pass.  I was allowed to download 3 books and for 14 days. Sweet!

So I quickly browsed their catalog and found 3 books I’d been wanting to read and made my choice. The only extra thing I had to do was download the Overdrive app onto my iPad to read the e-books.  Seeing as how the app is free, and the Seattle airport has free WI-Fi, this wasn’t a hardship in the least.  Once I boarded the plane, I was able to spend 9 hours of down-time catching up on my reading, instead of watching movies or just sleeping.  How awesome is that?

Now of course, being an avid reader, I already have a slew of great books in the Kindle app of my iPad.  Which means that I am never without a great book at my fingertips. While KIndle books are relatively in-expensive, they are not free.  Because I am a “Bootstrap Entrepreneur” I don’t have access to all the business books I’d like.  However, recently, I found out that there’s a way to borrow other people’s Kindle books.  Wow, I think this must be the best kept secret ever.

So how does Kindle book borrowing work?  Here’s the process:

Step 1

  • To borrow an e-book from a Kindle owner, they first have to lend it to you.
  • This means the Kindle book owner has to go to: “amazon.com/mycd” and go to the e-book they are willing to lend you.
  • From there, they can access the “Manage Your Content and Devices” section of their account.

Step 2

  • Next, they lender clicks on the “Action” box right next to the title of the e-book, which is denoted by an ellipsis.
  • From there, they click on “Loan this title.”
  • If the option is not available, this means that the book is not eligible for lending.

Step 3

  • If the book is eligible for lending, they will type in some information (ex. required fields are the recipient’s email address and the name of the lender).
  • The e-mail address should be the recipient’s personal one and NOT their Kindle address.
  • Once the lender has filled out the fields, they click the “Send now” tab.

Step 4

  • Once the book has been sent, check your email and open the message. In the email body, click on the tab that says “Get your loaned book now.”
  • You will be prompted to sign into your Kindle Account and pick a device to send the borrowed book to, then click on the “Accept Loaned Book” button.

Step 5

  • To later return the e-book to the lender, go to “Manage Your Content and Devices” via the “amazon.com/mycd” address.
  • Next, to the title of the book you’re returning under the “Your Content” tab, check the box under “Select” then click on the “Action” box.  From the pop-up menu, select “Return this book.” Confirm the return by clicking “Yes.”

Note, just a few things you need to know:

  • Books only can be borrowed once via the same account.  You can’t just return the lent book and then borrow it again over and over.
  • The owner of the book won’t be able to read a book while it is being borrowed by another user.

So, whether you want to take advantage of free e-books from a public library, or borrow a Kindle book from a friend, it’s nice to know you can still be learning on the go.  E-books are a great way to carry a ton of good books with you and yet still travel light.  For the trip I am currently on, I am away for 3 weeks and limited to nothing more than one carry-on sized suitcase and a day-pack.  So there really wasn’t really room for more than one hard copy book.  Which is why I am glad I have the Overdrive app and Kindle app on my iPad.  If I run out of reading material before my vacation ends… I might just ask my business partner, Janet, to lend me one of her Kindle books.

By Gillian Whitney

Communications Consultant

Launch4Life

gillian@launch4life.com

What’s the One Thing? What’s Your Secret Sauce?

My 5-week long adventure to Andalusia, Spain was coming to an end. For those of you that are not familiar with Andalusia, it is also referenced as the Spanish Riviera.  This region’s southern border is the Mediterranean Sea.  Its beautiful beaches are very popular with Europeans. It also has a reputation for its wonderful Spanish foods like tapas (small dishes).  North of the beaches, you can find the rolling hills covered with olive, almond and orange trees and some wonderful vineyards growing grapes for Roja and Sherry.  But it is also rich in medieval culture with moorish fortresses and mosques, ancient cathedrals, noted in the history books as the golden age of the 10th century, one culture with three religions – Islam, Christian and Judaism side by side. But this is just a side note to seduce you to book a flight to visit and enjoy this beautiful area.

But let me get on with my story and why it matters to you as a business person. On my last Sunday with the weather particularly gorgeous, I decided to venture out among the locals and soak up as much of the ambience as I could.   My friend and I travelled by bus to the lovely town of Fuengirola, near Malaga. We walked to an outdoor market in the marina – similar to what we have in the U.S, with stalls selling fruits and vegetables, along with crafts and local wares.

As we strolled from booth to booth, we stopped at one place selling special things made with sea glass and we met Felix. Felix spoke English well which made it so easy for us to have a conversation with him. With great pride, he told us that he collected sea glass from the beaches and turned it into beautiful jewelry.  We enjoyed our chat and of course ended up buying some of his pieces. How could we not want a piece of sea glass that he had gathered to create such exquisite pieces of art.  While talking to him, because he could speak our language so well, we got to know him and his business.  His mother had married an American from Texas so he had been lucky enough to learn English well.  Doing my research later I found their website and Facebook Page.  Very enterprising business.  www.spanishseaglass.com

As we moved away with our packages, my mind started processing our encounter and why he had impressed me so. Our pieces had so much more meaning because of our conversation. We hadn’t just bought the product. The product became richer.  Felix had added something special. It was because we now understood the story behind his lovely jewelry and bookmarks: the sea glass washed up to shore, its long-ago origin unknown.  Then how it became that piece of art. He had made it magical.

Later, that day, we stopped at a food galleria.  Similar to USA style, it was a large hall with food stations along the walls and tables in the middle. However, this was no fast food place. Each stand offered something fresh and delicious to eat based on International cuisine. Adding to its allure was the ability to purchase beers or wines at their own stands.  You got to pick from a large assortment to accompany your International food of choice.  My kind of place.  Here is their facebook page.  https://www.facebook.com/mercadolagaleria/?fref=nf.

After checking out each stand I decided after much deliberation to try pizza.  I wanted to see if pizza made in Spain, would be different than what we eat in the US.  After careful consideration, I ordered a thin crust pizza with truffle with bacon and mozzarella and was not disappointed.  It was delicious. I had an opportunity to chat with the chef.  Her sous chef spoke some English, so I could communicate that I was visiting from the US.  I complimented Chef Laura on how much I loved her pizza.  Both ladies were delightful and I was lucky to be able to have that conversation, because shortly thereafter there was a rush on pizzas so off they ran behind the counter.  As I sipped my wine after finishing my yummy pizza, once again I started thinking about that experience and why it stood out from the other wonderful experiences during my month abroad. Again, I realized it was that “one” special ingredient they offered that made the difference.  Just my applauding the chef and letting her know how much I appreciated her and then her taking time to dialogue and all with an interpreter.  We got to know each other. I left not only enjoying a great pizza but got to know the lady behind it. If I visit Fuengirola again, Pentole di rame run by chef Laura De Cobellis will be top of my list for lunch.

So, what is that “one” thing?  What makes the difference in buying just a product or getting an experience?  I realized from my travels that it’s the extra effort or energy that a business owner gives to his or her customer.  The human factor. The product can be eaten and forgotten, but the experience of meeting that person will last long beyond that day.   Now I recognize its impractical for someone to have that experience every time.  You don’t always have the luxury of time nor does your customer.  But that doesn’t mean there can’t be something else you can offer that will linger in the memory of your customer beyond that moment of purchase.  It’s just a little extra.  For example, it’s getting my hair cut, and my haircutter encourages me to come back at no charge to trim my bangs before my next scheduled haircut. Throwing a free brownie or a bag of chips in my bag if I bought a sandwich or pizza. Or perhaps as easy as offering me a warm smile particularly if I might be having a bad day.   It makes for a very special experience.  An experience that will prompt me to communicate on Facebook or Yelp to let people know how special I was made to feel.  We all want to feel significant and if the business owner can do that you have a winner.

There is a woman I know in Kansas City, Mary Lucas.  She runs a very successful temporary employment agency.  Her Dad ran a successful butcher shop for many years.  Once and a while when she was feeling discouraged at work, her Dad would sit her down in the kitchen and give her some advice, built on his years of serving customers.  One of the lessons he shared was when someone asked for a pound of meat he would always hand over their wrapped meat with a smile and let them know he gave then a couple of extra slices. He called it his “Come-Back Sauce”.  For me it was his “one” thing. Mary remembered that lesson and it has influenced her business every day. After he died, as a tribute to him bestowing those slices of wisdom to her, she decided to pass on his lessons by writing a book.  Meeting Mary over a glass of wine as well as reading her book was very inspirational to me.  I thought I would pass along the Amazon book link in the event you would like to purchase it. Worth the read no matter your business.  Great little bible and valuable for all of us in the customer service business.

Lunchmeat & Life Lessons: Sharing a Butcher’s Wisdom By Mary B. Lucas

Gillian and I have put that same philosophy into our practice, always giving just a little bit extra so our customers will leave feeling they got more than they paid for…and isn’t that the name of the game. So, what is that “one” extra you give your customers or as Mary’s Dad would say, what’s your come-back sauce??

By Janet Elie

Internet Marketing Specialist

Launch4Life

janet@launch4life.com

Touring Google Headquarters: A Great Business Model

The Launch4Life team had the recent pleasure of touring Google Headquarters in Mountain View, CA. It was an awesome and eye-opening event.  While it is true that Google is a really big business, we learned that its a very cool company to work for.

The first thing we should tell you is that it’s actually very difficult to get a tour of Google HQ. When we learned that we’d be in the Santa Clara area, we thought it would be awesome to add on a “field trip” to Google. So, I began looking into how to set up a visit. Well, it turns out that you can ONLY tour the silicon giant if you have a prior invitation, or, if you know someone.

Matt gave us the most awesome tour of Google and we so appreciated all the time (hours!) he spent with us.  He took us from building to building, explaining Google’s philosophy, work environment, and why everyone loves working there.

Janet in the stress-relieving employee ball pit

Gillian riding one of the Google campus bikes

Here are just some of the reasons that makes Google a very cool place to work:

  • Free carpooling buses (with free wifi) that allow people to commute easily from San Francisco.
  • Dog-friendly workplace that encourages you to bring your dog to work & sit at your work station.
  • Complimentary bikes that any employees can hop on and ride across the Google campus. A great way to encourage exercise and having fun.
  • Giant team meetings with the Google executives where everyone and anyone has a voice.
  • Ongoing education & inspiration with industry experts. They just had Tony Hseih from Zappos, talking about his book Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose.
  • Dining room that offers free food (awesome variety and very healthy) to all Google employees 24/7.

Janet & Gillian in the Google Cafeteria where employees eat for free 24/7

At the end of the day, we walked away with the appreciation that one of the reasons that Google’s successful is that it takes care of its people. They are a great business model because they are proving that a fun and nurturing place to work makes happier employees… which in turn makes excellent products and services.

By Gillian Whitney

Communications Consultant

Launch4Life

gillian@launch4life.com