When you need to take action on a big decision but don't know the best path forward, naturally you turn to others like mentors, media outlets, family, and friends for external guidance.
This sounds reasonable, given that we come into this world and learn everything from other people. Even our main identity--our name--is handed to us at birth.
From that moment forward, we acquire habits, beliefs, and thoughts from these outside sources. These layers get more and more complicated and begin to weigh us down while life picks up speed.
Where are you beneath all of that?
As an entrepreneur, it is vital to know what you deeply believe and what you value most in order to navigate business opportunities and make sound decisions. So how do you break free from the layers of outside opinions and actually develop yourself? You take off the layers placed upon you by the outside world. Here's how.
1. Get clear on what you want.
The truth is, we don't have all the answers, nor do we know how everything will ultimately unfold. And when you embrace this insight, you open the door to a powerful reframe of your mistakes and what you want. No longer are you getting things wrong. Instead, you're collecting pieces of a puzzle you don't yet know how to use.
Break your life out into quadrants, like work, relationships, spirituality, health, and education. Identify the areas of your life that carry the highest value, and then ask yourself this single question: "If this part of me were perfect, how would it look?" When you answer this question, be ruthlessly specific. If you want a successful business, identify what you are selling, how you define "success," and what every hour of life in work mode looks and feels like.
The more clarity you can create around what you want, the easier it becomes to stand firm in your decisions and plan moving forward. Outside influences won't obscure your vision.
2. Find people who already have what you want.
Find the people who have what you want and identify what beliefs they hold that allow them to have that type of life experience. These are people who think very differently from you in this moment. When you find them, you can begin the process of actually letting go of beliefs that are not yours in the first place. Look at others, not in a form of comparison that brings you down, but as a source of inspiration and learning to show you the new path forward.
Straight out of college I became an engineer for Chevron with the standard expectation I would work for 40 years in the industry. Knowing this would be life for over four decades filled me with a sense of depression until I stumbled upon the book The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss. Suddenly, my belief system was broken--how I had thought I had to live wasn't the only option, and here, in my hands, was proof that successful alternatives existed.
3. Simplify your focus.
Society is riddled with the idea that by doing more and constantly being "busy" you are successful. But the reality is, all you need is to do one thing very well and it will make everything else no longer matter.
Begin to remove all the extraneous tasks and actions from your life. I follow the 80/20 principle, which outlines that 20 percent of your actions are responsible for 80 percent of your output and results. While this was an aspect of the business I had always considered, it wasn't until later I realized this concept applies to every aspect of your life.
This concept was only further instilled in me from the book, The One Thing by Gary W. Keller and Jay Papasan, which taught me to constantly ask: What is one thing you can do that will make everything else obsolete?
When you remove all of the clutter, external sources, and busy actions from your life that aren't moving the needle forward, you can find great success at a more rapid speed.
Stop looking for more and start doing less.