I think I’m pretty normal. By that, I mean that like most people, I get caught up in the rush of enthusiasm, and I tend to make really ambitious plans for the year. So to keep me focused, a question I love to ask myself (and my clients), is – what’s the ONE thing that would make the biggest difference this year?
We should always dream big. But it’s easy to get caught up in a lot of activity. “Doing stuff” makes us feel like we’re making progress. Who doesn’t love seeing a long to-do list that’s all checked off? In reality though, all we’re doing is drowning in a sea of activity that has us doing a lot, but not necessarily achieving much that is truly important and meaningful.
Gary Keller in his book The One Thing recommends the use of a pivotal focusing question to develop a laser sharp focus on the few things that will have the greatest impact. He suggests we ask – “What is the one thing I can do such that, by doing it, everything else will be easier or unnecessary?” for each area in our life as a regular habit to keep us focused on the stuff that matters.
I love this approach. Clearly it’s a great productivity tool. It helps us say ‘no’ and guides the way out from under our ever growing mountain(s) of work. But more than this, it’s an excellent focusing question that makes you think about what will create real meaningful shifts in your life and work. I see this as an invaluable tool for our leadership role as strategic gatekeepers to ensure business and personal success.
Applying his principles, I’ve used this question with a small tweak in the following ways –
- What’s the ONE thing that will make the biggest difference to my life this year?
- What’s the ONE thing that will make the biggest difference to my growth this year?
- What’s the ONE thing that will make the biggest difference to achieving my work goals this year?
This will keep me laser focused on my true priority each day, each week until my next review cycle in 90 days time.
I hope it helps with your success journey too.