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Improving Your Life Trajectory

Life Trajectory

Why is it that some people’s lives improve along a steady or linear growth curve while others improve exponentially?

It’s because the future success of your life is determined by the trajectory your choices set today.

Similar to the power of compounding interest with money, time also compounds our choices.

When we make good choices at a young age, consistently over a long period of time, it doesn’t create a linear improvement over someone who doesn’t but rather an exponential improvement.

Similarly when we make poor choices at a young age, consistently over a long period of time, it creates the possibility of an exponential decrease of future opportunities and an increase of challenges.

It doesn’t mean that we are ultimately doomed to our history and our past, but it does mean that our best chance for shaping the steepest inclined trajectory for a positive future is to start immediately.

Good choices begets good opportunities.

And making good choices again when presented with good opportunities yields even more drastically positive opportunities.

But it needs to happen now!

You need to start today.

Because the sooner you invest into your own personal development…

The sooner you increase your work ethic…

The sooner you improve your attitude…

The steeper and more positive the trajectory you set for your life.

But you are in control.

You are the one who makes the decisions.

You are the one who makes the choices.

And your best chance for big opportunities later is always exponentially increased by making good choices right now.

So make good choices today and multiply.

How to Let Go of Feeling “Busy”

busy

“I’m SO busy.”

You hear it all the time.

In fact we hear it so much, we should all just assume that everyone is that way and we can all stop saying it.

Because there is a maximum level of busy.

There are only 168 hours in a week, and if every single hour is planned and occupied, then you’ve reached the maximum level of busy.

However, there is no maximum capacity to your mental toughness.

There is no maximum capacity to your peace of mind.

There is no maximum capacity for your ability to handle stress.

Which means that the mental capacity of what you can handle should far exceed the physical and finite time constraints of what you have available in your calendar.

Multipliers seem to have figured out that carrying stress isn’t a necessary prerequisite of having success.

Anxiety isn’t an automatic byproduct of achievement.

And busy isn’t a mandatory requirement of building greatness.

You don’t have to be stressed.

You don’t have to feel anxiety.

You don’t have to feel busy.

Those are all choices that you allow yourself to make.

Those are all emotions that you allow yourself to feel.

But you are bigger than your problems.

You are tougher than your challenges.

And you are stronger than your challenges.

So you can let those feelings die because they aren’t serving you.

You can stop telling yourself that “you’re so busy” because it’s not new information to you that your calendar is full.

And you can stop telling everyone how busy you are so that maybe we all can stop this invisible competition about who has the most going on.

Instead, all of us can move on to getting things done powerfully, productively, and peacefully.

All the while knowing that if we’re working as hard as we can, doing the best we know how to do with what we’ve been given, then no one – including ourselves – can ask us to do anything more.

Finding Your Wingmen with Waldo Waldman – Episode 176 of The Action Catalyst Podcast

wingmen

Lt. Col. (ret.) Rob ‘Waldo’ WaldmanThe Wingman is a professional leadership speaker, executive coach, and author of the New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller Never Fly Solo.  He teaches organizations how to build trusting, revenue producing relationships with their employees, partners, and customers while sharing his experiences as a combat decorated F-16 fighter pilot and businessman.

He is a highly experienced combat veteran with over 2,650 flight hours and sixty-five real world combat missions, having flown both in Iraq enforcing the “No-Fly Zone” and in Yugoslavia during Operation Allied Force in 1999. Some of his military honors include five Air Medals, two Aerial Achievement Medals, four Air Force Commendation Medals, and two Meritorious Service Medals.

Waldo is a graduate of the U.S Air Force Academy and also holds an MBA with a focus on Organizational Behavior. He is an inductee into the Professional Speaker Hall of Fame, a prestigious award that honors speakers who have reached the top echelon of platform excellence, and has been bestowed on less than 190 speakers worldwide. He is also a Certified Speaking Professional (CSP) and his clients include Hewlett Packard, Verizon Wireless, New York Life, Siemens, The Denver Broncos, and Johnson & Johnson.

In addition to his speaking business, Waldo is also founder and President of The Wingman Foundation, a 501(c)(3) whose mission is to build funds and awareness for soldiers, veterans and their families in need.

He’s been featured on Fox & Friends, CNN, MSNBC, CNBC, The Harvard Business Review, Success Magazine, INC. Magazine, and Business Week.

Show Highlights:

  • Your passion has to be stronger than your fear.  @waldowaldman
  • If what you’re doing doesn’t get you out of bed, abort immediately. @waldowaldman
  • When you know people need you, you find meaning in your mission and don’t give up. @waldowaldman
  • I won’t allow my fear to keep me from doing what I need to do and helping people. @waldowaldman
  • A wingman is someone you feel comfortable going to for help and are confident in their ability to help you. @waldowaldman
  • Usually help from a wingman is a proverbial slap across the face. @waldowaldman
  • A wingman will tell you what you need to hear, not what you want to hear. @waldowaldman
  • You need people who will truly speak the truth to us. @waldowaldman
  • A good wingman will point out potential threats to you and you have to take action. @waldowaldman
  • You have to trust what your wingman is telling you because they can see the potential threats you cannot. @waldowaldman
  • Your work ethic is your most important asset. @waldowaldman
  • I would much rather fly with someone who is prepared than someone who I like hanging out with. @waldowaldman
  • Plan for the worst, expect the best. @waldowaldman
  • We have to overcome the things in life that are dragging us down. @waldowaldman
  • Who are your wingmen? @rory_vaden
  • A wingman is someone you have to trust. @rory_vaden
  • A wingman is someone who compliments your strengths. @rory_vaden
  • There will always be a chance to bail; find someone who is loyal. @rory_vaden
  • You know you’ve found a wingman when they’re really looking out for you. @rory_vaden

For more info about Waldo’s programs or his bestseller Never Fly Solo, visit www.yourwingman.com, e-mail info@yourwingman.com, or call 770-333-9867.

A special gift for The Action Catalyst Podcast listeners: Visit www.yourwingman.com/nfs  and use password: Wingman for a free copy of Waldo’s audiobook Never Fly Solo! 

The Action Catalyst is a weekly podcast hosted by Rory Vaden of Southwestern Consulting every Wednesday. The show is regularly in the Top 25 of Business News Podcasts, has listeners from all around the world and shares “insights and inspiration to help you take action.” Each week Rory shares ideas on how to increase your self-discipline and make better use of your time to help you achieve your goals in life. He also interviews special expert guests and thought leaders. Subscribe on iTunes and please leave a rating and review!

Variable Time: 1 Idea That Can Cost You or Make You Millions

variable time

A key expense that we manage and consider regularly in business is “variable cost.”

That is, all of the financial costs that go up proportionately with each additional unit of production. Variable costs (often interchangeably referred to as Cost Of Goods Sold – COGS) are the ones “you can never get away from” because they always go up as your sales go up.

Business leaders work relentlessly to get COGS down – often through economies of scale at larger production quantities – because that is the best way to make addition margin in each additional sale.

What is frequently overlooked by business leaders, and is potentially becoming even more valuable than variable cost, is “Variable Time.”

Variable Time is the amount of additional time required to produce one additional unit.

Since we often pay people money in exchange for their time, any additional time that is added also has an additional cost.

Anything that costs you time, costs you money.

Anything that saves you time, saves you money.

So the question that results from considering Variable Time is: “What could we do to reduce the amount of additional time each new unit requires?”

That question typically receives much less attention, if any, from leaders because it isn’t a line item on their P&L (well it is in the form of paying people but it isn’t segmented into productive time and wasted time) and they don’t create a budget for it.

At the executive level, when you’re considering a new product line, a new service, or a new initiative it would be expected – often even required – to map out how much money you will have to invest.

But what almost never gets presented and thought through is how much time it will take people.

You scrutinize and work to control every cost, but do you equally scrutinize every use of every person’s time?

The next generation of cost savings will be more about saving time than saving money.

When you start to evaluate decisions factoring in “Variable Time” you eventually come to the place of asking: “How can we make additional money without adding ANY additional time?”

And that is a genius question to ask!

Because that is a way to create profitability for you at the highest margin of all: zero variable time!

You might think “well yes, that’d be great Rory, but what could you possibly do that would really make you more money without requiring additional Variable Time?”

Actually the answer is, “lots of things”.

Here are a few examples:

1. Raise your price – Inflation goes up. Costs of living go up and so your prices every once in awhile should go up. Same amount of time on your end but more profits.

2. Charge an activation fee – Chances are you are incurring very legitimate additional expenses of both time and money to setup new clients, so it can be very fair to charge an activation fee and can actually increase the service experience your new customers have because you have resources dedicated to staff it (It also can improve retention). It’s charging for work you’re already doing.

3. Create recurring contracts – Instead of selling it for just one use, one term, or one project, simply change your sales talk to say “this is an ongoing relationship and we work with clients for x# of cycles”. That creates predictable revenue and reduces the potential future selling time needed to create the same revenue dollar.

4. Go Digital – Depending on your industry or product, convert a physical offering that has to be mailed and shipped to instead being virtual. Or if that doesn’t work, just add an additional digital element to your physical offering and bundle them together at an increased cost.

5. Target a higher end clientele – It (theoretically) takes the same amount of time to sell to a wealthy customer as it does to a less financially able customer, but one will typically buy more and buy higher margin goods than the other.

6. Keep an existing client – It’s typically much more profitable to sell to or continue on with existing clients than with new clients. Yet, sometimes we’re so focused on new business that we don’t take care of our current business. Even if a new customer makes you the same amount of money as an existing one, it will always cost you more in variable time.

7. Monetize your waste – Many companies, like manufacturers, produce waste that often can be converted fairly easily into dollars. Someone out there is likely building something or doing something with a raw material that is an unnecessary output of your core offering.

8. Get paid for results – Again, depending on your business model, it might work to be paid for your results instead of your time. Ask for a percentage of the success you help create instead of just being paid an hourly rate. Same amount of time but potentially a lot more money if it makes sense to structure things that way.  

9. Outsource – Hire other people to do things for you that can happen at a lower hourly rate than you can earn if you focus on certain higher income producing activities. A good example of this is bringing in someone to train your team for you (like we do at Southwestern Consulting) to do things like grow revenues. Even if you’re a small company, you can do things like Arnie Malham (link to my podcast interview with him) and pay your people to read books. Books are one of the fastest, cheapest, and best ways to train your people and it costs you zero time.

All of these items are examples of ways to potentially add profitability to your company without adding much or any additional time.

It’s not these examples that really matter though. It’s the consideration of “Variable Time.”

It’s your thinking that matters.

Because when the leaders thinking advances, it advances everyone.

How to Solve Your Competing Priorities Problem

priorities

The first action step for becoming more productive is to write out your vision.

Write out in specific detail what you want your life or business to look like in 5 years.

The clearer you see your vision, the more obvious you will see your priorities.

Priorities are not a matter of right and wrong or good and bad. Priorities are simply a matter of relevant and irrelevant.

The reason people have such a hard time prioritizing is because we live and work in a world with unclear vision.

An unclear vision means there either is no vision or there are too many visions.

If there is no clear vision, then everything is a priority. If there are many visions, then you will bump into having conflicting and competing priorities pulling you in different directions.

Either way, you will have frustration, stress, lack of clarity and feel overwhelmed.

The proper selection of your next most significant priority then is 100% dependent on its context as it relates to the vision.

When you clarify the vision, the sequential set of steps that are needed to make it a reality usually become clear.

But if you don’t have a clear vision, then you may find yourself running in a thousand directions just doing everything that shows up as something you can possibly do.

So if you find yourself struggling to balance competing priorities the answer may not be to just work harder and longer, but to stop, take a breath, and clarify what really matters.

Clayton Morris: Financial Freedom and Multiplying Time – Episode 157 of The Action Catalyst Podcast

financial

Clayton Morris is the weekend anchor for FOX & Friends on The FOX News Channel, husband and father of two (almost three) amazing children. He is a real estate investor with a passion for helping people reach financial freedom.

Show Highlights:

  • There has been a shift in software design towards simplicity. @ClaytonMorris
  • Our brain is not meant to house extraneous tasks. @ClaytonMorris
  • In today’s digital age our perceived threats are different. @ClaytonMorris
  • For most people, we have about 1 “power hour” of true focus and productivity.  @ClaytonMorris
  • Most of us aren’t pursuing meaningful goals in this digital age and that’s the problem. @ClaytonMorris
  • We must allow more space in our lives to pursue our meaningful goals. @ClaytonMorris
  • Digital anxiety comes from not knowing where we’re going and what we’re doing.  @ClaytonMorris
  • The way wealthy people think about money is the same way multipliers think about time. @rory_vaden
  • Time is not money- Time is worth way more than money. @rory_vaden
  • Automation is to your time what compounding interest is to your money. @rory_vaden
  • Rory shares the 5 steps to get out of financial and time debit.

You can find Clayton and learn about the Freedom number by visiting Morrisinvest.com

The Action Catalyst is a weekly podcast hosted by Rory Vaden of Southwestern Consulting™ every Wednesday. The show is regularly in the Top 25 of Business News Podcasts, has listeners from all around the world and shares “insights and inspiration to help you take action.” Each week Rory shares ideas on how to increase your self-discipline and make better use of your time to help you achieve your goals in life. He also interviews special expert guests and thought leaders. Subscribe on iTunes and please leave a rating and review!