“Success is simple. Do what’s right, the right way, at the right time.” Arnold H. Glasow
THE SUCCESS HABIT*
You know about habits. They can be hard to break—and hard to create. But we are unknowingly acquiring new ones all the time. When we start and continue a way of thinking or a way of acting over a long enough period, we’ve created a new habit. The choice we face is whether or not we want to form habits that get us what we want from life. If we do, then the Focusing Question is the most powerful success habit we can have.
For me, the Focusing Question is a way of life. I use it to find my most leveraged priority, make the most out of my time, and get the biggest bang for my buck. Whenever the outcome absolutely matters, I ask it. I ask it when I wake up and start my day. I ask it when I get to work, and again when I get home. What’s the ONE Thing I can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary? And when I know the answer, I continue to ask it until I can see the connections and all my dominoes are lined up.
Obviously, you can drive yourself nuts analysing every little aspect of everything you might do. I don’t do that, and you shouldn’t either. Start with the big stuff and see where it takes you. Over time, you’ll develop your own sense of when to use the big picture question and when to use the small focus question.
The Focusing Question is the foundational habit I use to achieve extraordinary results and lead a big life. I use it for some things and not at all for others. I apply it to the important areas of my life: my spiritual life, physical health, personal life, key relationships, job, business, and financial life. And I address them in that order—each one is a foundation for the next.
Because I want my life to matter, I approach each area by doing what matters most to it. I view these as the cornerstones of my life and have found that when I’m doing what’s most important in each area, my life feels like it’s running on all cylinders.
The Focusing Question can direct you to your ONE Thing in the different areas of your life. Simply reframe the Focusing Question by inserting your area of focus. You can also include a time frame—such as “right now” or “this year”—to give your answer the appropriate level of immediacy, or “in five years” or “someday” to find a big-picture answer that points you at outcomes to aim for.
Here are some Focusing Questions to ask yourself. Say the category first, then state the question, add a time frame, and end by adding “such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?”
What’s the ONE Thing I can do to make us more profitable... ?
What’s the ONE Thing I can do to improve our customer
FOR MY JOB...
What’s the ONE Thing I can do to ensure that I hit my goals... ?
What’s the ONE Thing I can do to improve my
What’s the ONE Thing I can do to increase my net
What’s the ONE Thing I can do to improve my investment cash flow... ?
So how do you make The ONE Thing part of your daily routine? How do you make it strong enough to get extraordinary results at work and in the other areas of your life?
Here’s a starter list drawn from our experience and our work with others.
1. Understand and believe it. The first step is to understand the concept of the ONE Thing, then to believe that it can make a difference in your life. If you don’t understand and believe, you won’t take action.
2. Use it. Ask yourself the Focusing Question. Start each day by asking, “What’s the ONE Thing I can do today for [whatever you want] such that by doing it everything else will be easier or even unnecessary?” When you do this, your direction will become clear. Your work will be more productive and your personal life more rewarding.
3. Make it a habit. When you make asking the Focusing Question a habit, you fully engage its power to get the extraordinary results you want. It’s a difference maker. Research says this will take about 66 days. Whether it takes you a few weeks or a few months, stick with it until it becomes your routine. If you’re not serious about learning the Success Habit, you’re not serious about getting extraordinary results.
4. Leverage reminders. Set up ways to remind yourself to use the Focusing Question. One of the best ways to do this is to put up a sign at work that says, “Until my ONE Thing is done, everything else is a distraction.”
5. Recruit support. Research shows that those around you can influence you tremendously. Starting a successful support group with some of your work colleagues can help inspire all of you to practice the Success Habit every day. Get your family involved. Share your ONE Thing. Get them on board. Use the Focusing Question around them to show them how the
Success Habit can make a difference in their school work, their personal achievements, or any other part of their lives.
This one habit can become the foundation for much more, so keep your Success Habit working as powerfully as possible.
*Adapted from a Book One Thing from Gary Keller.
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