Want To Win? Focus on Activities Instead of Results

Orient on desired results, don’t obsess on them.

Obsess over your activities instead. One summer in college I sold vacuum cleaners door to door. The desired result was to sell one per day. I couldn’t control that (not everyone needs a new vacuum cleaner, it turns out) but when I focused on the activity of knocking on doors, results followed. No one could buy if I didn’t knock, and I could control how many times I knocked.

Two examples of how to put this to work – one short term, one long term:

Short Term Example – “I Have To Get This Done Today!”

  • Initiate movement: get up early on your day of achievement. You’ll get more done, and you’ll fall asleep better at the end of the day no matter what happens.
  • Do some exercise and listen to the most energizing music you know.
  • Get word out to people who can help. Call prospects, gather info from experts, or let peers know what you need to accomplish. If they can’t help, don’t call them.
  • Then get to work, one activity at a time.  If you need to write, then write. If you need to sell, then pitch. If you need to sell vacuum cleaners…..good luck!

Mountaintops are built from the ground up. If your task is immediate, use the volcano method instead of some tectonic, one-inch-a-thousand year method. But the system is the same. One block, one activity, one job at a time.

Longer Term Example – “I Want To Be a Senior Leader at This Company by Next Year”

  • You know your goal and you’re oriented, now do activities to move you in the right direction. Don’t waste time. Initiate movement (sound familiar?) within a day or two.
  • Build relationships. If you want to lead the organization, then force yourself to make new acquaintances each day. Learn what they need and how you can serve them best.
  • Go to the office and into the field because you won’t become a leader working from home. Control your activity to be in “The Room Where it Happens” as often as possible.
  • Look like, write like, and speak like a senior leader. This isn’t “fake it ‘til you make it” activity, it’s following the path of THINK BIG, then ACT BIG, to BE BIG.

We only travel the path to our desired result by controlling our activities each step of the way.  Take time to identify what the right activities are then start doing them.

After all, who was going to sell a vacuum cleaner way back in the summer of '89? The person who set out with an idea of selling one, or the guy who knocked on 50 or 60 doors before lunch?

Related: Growth Fallacies: The Case for a Plateaued Business