17 For 2017- Small Steps for Cultivating Success

I am re-reading “The Slight Edge” by Jeff Olson and every time I read it,  I get an adrenaline rush.  It is highlighted, underscored, starred, and “WHOA/AHA!” is written in the margin on many of the pages.  The Slight Edge is a philosophy, it’s a mindset.  Olson says that “once you change the way you think, then you can take the steps that will lead you to the “how-tos.”  The things that you do every day may not look like they matter, but they actually do. They not only make a difference- they make ALL the difference.”   He is quick to point out that there is a natural progression in what we do….we plant (set goals), cultivate (take action), and harvest results (achieve or not achieve) success.   It’s the CULTIVATION (action) where we either fail or achieve.   “Successful people do simple things that are easy to do.   But because these actions are also easy NOT to do…most won’t.”   What we do matters.  How do we create small, actionable steps that compound over time so that we can achieve our goals?  Hopefully, by now you have set some goals (planted)  for 2017.  In this blog post, I want to share some small steps to help you cultivate the success you want. WORK/PRODUCTIVITY
  1. Make your bed every day.  The most successful people agree that this one step alone sets the tone for your day.  Making your bed is instantly gratifying.  It’s one check mark on your To Do list.  Success builds on success.  This one can be knocked out in one minute.
  2. Spend one hour on Sunday night planning out your week.  If you have written down your goals,  and broken down tasks, the next step is to assign a priority to the task.  Look at your whole life, not just your work life.   Make sure to plan for all of the things you value- your health, relationships, and personal development.
  3. Switch your phone’s notification to OFF for at least 90 minutes while doing your most important task of the day.  Mark Twain was famous for saying, “Every morning, eat that frog.”  In other words, do the most difficult task you have when your energy is at it’s highest.  We live in an age when we get email notifications, social media notifications, text messages, and of course, phone calls.  When you are working on your hardest task, turn your notifications OFF, (not just vibrate). 
  4. Create a Networking Strategy.  Let’s face it, we all need to network whether we’re in sales or not.  According to Heather White of Smarter Networking,  the first step in creating a network strategy is to do identify why you need one.  Are you looking for a mentor?  Looking for an accountability partner?  Next, work out how many contacts you need, and finally, where are they?  Where is a good place to find the kind of people you need to connect with?  
  5. Send a hand written thank you note.  This is a big one for us here at Milosi.  How many people still send handwritten notes?  Not many.  Want to stand out and make a difference?  Be the one to send a hand written note.  It’s thoughtful, authentic, and meaningful to the recipient.
  1. Intentionally make time for friends in person.  Social media is great, but nothing replaces face to face interaction.  Meet for coffee.  Have that lunch.  Invite people over for an evening.   It doesn’t have to be fancy.  We all crave connection.  Make the time to do it.  As we get older, life gets lonelier without a wide network of friends.   One of the top 5 regrets people have on their deathbeds is losing touch with friends.
  2. Learn how to actively listen.  Listening is a skill.  It takes practice to really hear what someone is saying.  It’s not the same thing as hearing.  Relationship building, in business or with your spouse, requires good listening skills.  Dr. Harville Hendrix developed one of the most famous techniques for learning how to actively listen called Imago Therapy.  Remember, that “Listening feels so much like love, most people don’t know the difference.”  
  3. Call your mom.  ‘Nuff said.  
  1. Drink more water.  75% of us are dehydrated and we don’t even know it.  
  2. Don’t try and tackle too many things at once while trying to lose weight. Start with one change, and then add to it.  If your intention is to lose weight and exercise, be careful not to try and make too many changes all at once.  This is the #1 reason why people fail!  Choose one new habit to work on at a time, and build on it.  
  3. Take your cell phone out of the bedroom while you are sleeping.  Buy an alarm clock.  An acquaintance of mine has a very high-powered, important job here in Nashville.  Every year she goes to the Miraval Spa to rest and rejuvenate.  Her wellness coach told her very matter of factly that she was going to DIE if she didn’t start charging her cell phone in the kitchen and get it out of her bedroom while sleeping.   Avoiding DEATH is a big motivator, but her coach wanted to be dramatic, to stress how important this is.     She told her that her body stayed “wired” as long as that cell phone was on her nightstand.  She could wake up to check email and her brain would never have a chance to rest.  Without “unplugging”, she was risking her health.  Buy an alarm clock and leave that phone charging in the kitchen!  
  1. Read 10 pages a night reading a personal growth book.  Jeff Olson said that this one Slight Edge strategy had the power to radically change your life over time.  Read 10 pages a night is the equivalent of reading 10 to 20 books per year.  He says, “Just like a penny over time, reading ten pages a day would compound, just like that, and create a ten million dollar bank of knowledge.”
  2. Mobile Apps-   “There’s an App for that!”  Yep, there is.  Some of the best apps I’ve found for meditation and money management are Calm, Insight Timer, Stash, Digit, and Mint to name a few.
  3. Do one thing every day for someone else.  This is one of Taylor Milliken’s from Milosi.  He is always asking if he could do something for us every day.  Outside of your daily relationships, volunteer work is immensely rewarding.  Hands On Nashville is a great resource to learn volunteer opportunities around Nashville.
  4. Do a mind dump and journal.  This, too, is one of Taylor’s daily practices.  It requires a great deal of energy to keep all of our information, to do’s, schedules, stresses, etc. in our heads.  A mind dump allows you to write down all of that information, and it frees up energy that flows to the rest of your body.  That energy allows the digestive tract, internal organs, and heart to work properly.  
  5. 20 Minutes of Stillness.  Oprah Winfrey believes in this practice so much, she requires all of her employees at Harpo Studios to maintain 20 minutes of stillness per day.  She believes that in that stillness, you allow space for creativity.  It also harnesses mental clarity.
  6. Set a one-word intention for the year.  Lastly, if New Year’s Resolutions is not your thing, you may want to consider setting a one-word intention.  The one word becomes your focus and highest intention.  This year, my word is Strong.  What is your focus word for 2017?
Can you implement one or more of these for 2017?  Good luck, and Happy Cultivating!