Doing too many things, not accomplishing enough?

“I’m working as hard as I can, but I always feel behind.”

I hear this a lot from my clients. Can you relate? Invariably, when we dig into what they’re actually working on, I find that they’re falling into a common trap: doing too many things and not accomplishing enough. They’re confusing motion with momentum. Imagine everything you’re working on in a funnel. At the top of the funnel is the shiny and new: ideas, projects and connections that may or may not produce fruit. At the bottom are the tasks, projects, relationships that will have the greatest impact on your success.

As entrepreneur-VC Mark Suster points out, the amount of time it takes to move the things in the bottom of your funnel forward is disproportionately long and hard relative to the time and ease of each new top-of-funnel activity — which is why you allocate your time on the wrong things. Shiny objects are alluring precisely because opening is orders-of-magnitude easier than closing.  Rapper 50 Cent said, “Most people can’t handle boredom. That means they can’t stay on one thing until they get good at it.” (Or execute to closure.) That’s ’cause your brain loves novelty. It’s looking for ways to be distracted and avoid the mundane or hard. But consider world-class performers: They’re able to find an inherent satisfaction in what others see as boring:

=>Michael Phelps swims back and forth over a black line for hours.
=>Kobe Bryant doesn’t stop until he’s made 800 jump shots.
=>James Dyson was able to create 5,000+ prototypes of his vacuum.
=>Warren Buffett read all 725 pages of The Intelligent Investor 12 times.

And there is a small group of evolved leaders who have also learned how to focus relentlessly on what matters most.  As a result, these leaders no longer feel like they’re falling behind. By mastering their natural human tendencies, they have greater energy, confidence and influence on the people around them. Do you find yourself constantly comparing where you are to where you want to be? Are you feeling like you’re on the path to burnout? If you’re serious and committed to levelling up so you can have the impact and influence you deserve, we need to talk.