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A few years ago when I was in college, I learned a concept called the Pareto Principle. Have you heard of it? Essentially it states that 80 percent of our results come from the top 20 percent of our priorities. It matters because I discovered early on that there is never enough time to do everything, but there’s always enough time to do the most important things.

Ok, for those of you who are a little slower with your math (like me), let me break it down for you…

  • 80 percent of the food at a picnic is consumed by 20 percent of the people.
  • 80 percent of the questions are answered by 20 percent of the students.
  • 80 percent of the clothes in your closet are worn 20 percent of the time.
  • 80 percent of the project is done by 20 percent of the team members.

Makes sense, doesn’t it? When I learned this concept in college, it changed the way I spent my time. I learned two things fairly quickly: I was doing too many things and I was doing the wrong things. I needed to work smarter, not harder, to get where I wanted to go.

As you develop your inner leadership and start increasing your influence with others, it’s imperative that you evaluate your priorities. If you’re managing your time and cramming your days with the wrong things, you’ll stalemate, my friend. You’ll get stuck on managing instead of leading yourself well. That’s why today I’m going to give you three R’s to determine the few priorities you need in your top 20 percent.

There is never enough time to do everything, but there’s always enough time to do the most important things.

~John C. Maxwell

Use these three questions to determine your top 20 percent. These three R’s will help you evaluate your priorities so that you’re successful in leading yourself and avoiding a stalemate at all cost.

  1. What’s required of me? What must I do that only I can do?
  2. What’s my return? What areas of my life give me the most joy, fulfill my passion, and fuel me?
  3. What’s rewarding to me? What areas of my life are most satisfying?

I encourage you to answer these three questions. Make a list and determine your top 10 priorities. Then circle the top two. These are the two areas that deserve 80 percent of your energy.  Reflect on those top two. Are you stuck or are you succeeding? If you want to see change in your life and really develop the leader within you, then taking charge of your time and filling it with the things that matter most to you is a critical step.

[bctt tweet=”Remember, you don’t work for your to-do list. Make your list work for you.”]

The WORST president in history…

According to a U.S. News & World Report article I read recently, Warren G. Harding ranks as one of the top ten worst U.S. Presidents of all time. So, naturally I looked into his life and how he led. I found some interesting red flags that contributed to this flop in leadership. I want to share them with you here because I’ve talked about the value of great mentors and how their character and their accomplishments should be worth modeling after.

[bctt tweet=”One way of knowing what to do is to look at what not to do.”]

So, here’s what I learned about President Harding. Use these as guidelines for what you should avoid as you scout out potential mentorship relationships, and as you assess your own life while seeking to mentor others.

A GOOD MENTOR IS NOT INSECURE.

Instead of selecting advisors on the basis of their competence, Harding surrounded himself with admirers to feed his need for personal affirmation. Among these followers were men who had been imprisoned, had accepted bribes, had been charged for corruption, were forced to resign, and one man who committed suicide in the wake an investigation for fraud. Putting his corrupt buddies in powerful government positions only caused him one headache after another.

Good mentors are confident in and of themselves. They know their value, and they surround themselves with others who seek to add value.

A GOOD MENTOR IS NOT A PEOPLE-PLEASER.

In aiming to please people rather than hold them accountable, Harding created a culture of suspicion. People were aware of misdealing in his administration, but they couldn’t count on him to confront the corruption of the people closest to him. When news of government corruption reached the public, the culture of suspicion expanded nationwide. Citizens were distrustful, and no amount of back-tracking could change the damage that Harding had treated passively for so long.

A good mentor speaks the truth. He or she behaves in the spotlight and in private with the utmost integrity.

THE TAKEAWAY

President Harding’s time in office got me thinking about role models—people we follow and look up to. It’s crucial to our success in life to have people ahead of us to follow, and it’s just as crucial for those leaders to have exceptional character. They must lead by example.

The people we follow must demonstrate character worthy of emulating. You see, we become like the people we admire. Jim Rohn says you’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with. The truth is, if you’re going to grow, you’re going to spend a lot of time with your role models and their teachings. They should be worthy examples to follow.

NOW IT’S YOUR TURN

I encourage you today to consider the five people with whom you spend the most time. Ask yourself what kind of example they provide for you. Do they inspire and teach you or deflate you?

Or, if you don’t have five, make a list of the specific strengths or skills you want to improve to reach your potential and the areas where you know you need ongoing guidance. Then consider a few people you know or would like to know who can help you in those areas, even if you just ask them one question at a time.

 

This post was originally shared by John C. Maxwell.

How often do you find yourself saying, “I should workout today”, “I should make that sales call”, “I should get a salad instead of a burger tonight”, or “I should hold this elevator door open for that person that I see running towards me right now”? But instead of doing what you should do, you don’t. We already know in our heads what we should be doing, but our actions don’t always reflect our thoughts. But why do we do this to ourselves?

Jim Rohn calls it the Law of Diminishing Intent.

The longer you wait to do something you should do now, the greater the odds that you will never actually do it.

~John C. Maxwell

If in that moment when an idea comes up to do something and we delay, then the desire to do it fades away. This usually only occurs when we’re thinking of doing something that isn’t comfortable or isn’t immediately rewarding. And the motivation of why we should do it is based either on expectations from others or because it’s in line with our personal values.

So how do we actually stop should-ing ourselves?

1Gain Clarity

You have to get absolutely clear on WHY you should take that action. Is my reason for my decision in my best interest or is it in someone else’s best interest? What would happen if I don’t take this action? Am I doing what’s easy or am I doing what’s right? Awareness is crucial to determining what your true motivating factors.

2Change ‘Should’ to ‘Must’

Change your language to change your thinking. Use words that are more empowering or urgent to spur you into action. If this action means a lot to you, then you MUST do it.

3Implement the 5 Second Rule

Mel Robbins’ 5 second rule can get you to quickly take action before your brain gets a chance to start coming up with excuses and reasons why to not do something. Our brains are wired to keep us safe from things that are uncomfortable and avoid trouble or risk. If you can start advancing towards your idea as soon as it pops into your head, you don’t have to get into that internal debate of whether or not you should do something.

I bet even as you’re reading this, you’re thinking of something you should do. And if you’re not thinking of anything right now, then you should share this post with someone so we can all flush down the habits of procrastination.