The Art of Achieving More Than Your Peers

I was having dinner with a friend and fellow entrepreneur the other night when the topic of accomplishment came up.  He’s in the process of moving to a new city to help grow his audience (he’s a musician) and was telling me how sometimes he doesn’t feel like he achieves as much as he should.  I told him to stop and think where he was a year ago.  Then to think about where he will be a year from now.  Then to compare and contrast that to some of our peers that have achieved a 3% raise and 2 weeks vacation each of the past two years.  He rocks their world – his laundry list of achievements would trump almost anyone else our age (or any age for that matter).
I’ve now been out of the corporate world for a few years now, and I’m pretty sure I’ll never work for someone else again.  If you look back at the 2+ years of this blog you’ll see the immense professional growth and accomplishment I’ve had.  Hell, Pure Adapt is still less than a year old and I can rattle off a list of accomplishments we’ve had in our first year that would boggle the minds of an outsider.  And I’ve grown to know several other entrepreneurs in the same boat.  So what do I/we do differently?  From what I’ve seen it’s pretty vanilla – we focus on achievement every day and we block out anything that gets in our way.

I have my personal goals for the next year.  Our company has its goals for the next year.  Both are very lofty and not easily achievable.  However, I’ve always set lofty goals and almost always achieved them.  The key is that we don’t harp on those lofty goals.  We break them down into monthly goals.  Then we break those monthly goals down into a set of tasks that need to be accomplished to meet those goals.  Then each person further breaks down their tasks into a list of what needs to be accomplished each day.  I have a list of goals that I make up EVERY MORNING for myself for that day.  If I cross off each item on that list 90% of the time I’ll meet my monthly goal and I’ll eventually hit that lofty goal.

I think if you take a look at anyone you know that you think is successful, you’ll find that they do the same thing (whether or not they realize it).   I’m not sure what goes through the minds of the other people – I’ve always been this way.  My guess is that they get distracted by sports, drinking, TV, video games, etc and procrastinate goals until they seem impossible and they give up.  Don’t mistake me – I love each of those things as much as the next guy, but I use them as rewards for myself after I achieved my goals for the day.  Many times, especially on weekends, my goals only take an hour or two and I spend the rest of the day having fun…but at least I make progress.

Simple? Yup.  Obvious?  Probably.  Something that a lot of people do?  Nope.

3 comments on The Art of Achieving More Than Your Peers

  1. Jonathan says:

    This is like the 20/80 rule, where 20% of your effort produces 80% of the results. As you noted, it’s the case with most people that lose focus and spend the 80% of our time getting to the 20% focus.

    Jonathan Frye
    Make Money Jot

  2. Adam McFarland says:

    Ah, the good old Pareto Principle. It’s one of the most true things I’ve ever encountered, and it’s so hard to just focus on what’s important.

    At a higher level, I know that our company makes most of our money on 10-30% of our actions and the rest is just a waste…it’s just tough to identify sometimes what the wasted time is b/c you don’t want to eliminate something that’s critical.

    Thanks for taking the time to read and comment!

    Adam

  3. This article is really interesting, I enjoy reading it and thank you for sharing.

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