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Guide True Confessions of a Lousy Bottom

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Instead, we begin each day with unknown situations, variables well beyond our ability to plan and prepare. For these reasons, a leader must use self-discipline—the ability to mentally call a time-out, to get rest, to run through a checklist—despite overwhelming temptations to quickly react or respond without doing so. It is the one thing we have complete control over. When we look at the highlight reel of successful people, it gives us the impression that they are always on—always producing.

As we watch from the sidelines, we create for ourselves a false set of expectations. We introduce unnecessary stress into our lives and work as we try to keep up. Top producers insert pause into their work. We need the self-discipline to do the same by letting go of a false ideal. The 24 Hour Rule is a well thought out and well-executed booklet. Fred provides three steps for building self-discipline around pause. It is a quick read but one that is worth spending some time thinking about. Productivity is not about doing more faster.

We undermine our potential when we try to do everything.

True Confessions of a Lousy Bottom

Freedom to focus, Freedom to be present. Freedom to be spontaneous. Freedom to do nothing. To that end, Michael Hyatt presents in Free to Focus , 9 actions grouped into 3 steps. To start, you must stop. Formulate : What do you want your life to look like? What matters to you most. What does that look like for you? Evaluate : Where are you now? What should you be doing? Evaluate what you do and could do based on two key criteria: passion and proficiency. The desire zone is where your passion and proficiency intersect and where you can make the greatest contribution.

Obviously, this is where you want to be functioning most of the time. Hyatt adds a fifth zone called the Development Zone. This is an area where you are passionate about and developing a proficiency, or passionate about but not yet proficient. We need to evaluate all of our tasks and place them in the appropriate zone. Rejuvenate : Make time to rejuvenate.

We can increase the energy we direct at our why when we sleep, eat right, move, connect, play, reflect, and unplug. Eliminate : Every yes contains a no. Time is a zero-sum game. Then go find it. Delegate : Should I be doing this job at all?

Tasks in your Drudgery and Disinterest Zones should be delegated. The items in your Distraction Zone may be harder to let loose of since you enjoy them even though you are not the most proficient at them. Better to give them over to someone who can do them much better. If you have more than you can handle in your Desire Zone, you should look at delegating some of those too.

So, while delegation does, in fact, take more time on the front end, it will save you an enormous amount of time every instance after that. Consolidate : Harness the power of MegaBatching. In those dedicated blocks of time, I truly am free to focus on the thing that matters most at that moment. Designate : Decide what needs to be done now and what can be done later.

Plan your ideal week. Designate the what and when of your week and day. Limit instant communications by turning off your notifications. Set boundaries by letting people know in advance that you are going offline for a period of time to focus. Use technology to block technology.


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Listen to the right background music. Take charge of your day. Free to Focus is one of the best books you will read in order to take control of your life. You will find downloadable tools for each step of the process. To some, this comes naturally. Others must constantly work on it. Since my earliest memory, I have had the sense that anything worth doing… worth pursuing… must be passionately pursued. A positive attitude naturally follows. I found myself first assuming leadership responsibilities at age 14 when I became an Eagle Scout.

For me, getting there was just a mountain to climb. It was the culmination of 21 merit badges and a large community project. It was the excitement of the journey, the arrival at a destination, and the achievement of the reward. For me, at 14 years old, it was like reaching the top of Mount Everest but with no real thought or plan on how I was going to get back down… the part of the climb where most people die. But it did help jump-start a lifelong journey to develop and sharpen my leadership skills—a journey that really never ends.

Great leaders constantly deal with the struggle between achieving personal goals, while doing so with humility.

In high school, I held leadership roles in school government and on the sports field. My agreement sealed my fate. All these experiences helped shape my thinking about, and commitment to, leadership because people started to turn to me to lead. I had the right attitude throughout these early years. However, there came a period in college when I lost my way.

My attendance at Purdue was facilitated by an Army ROTC scholarship, at a time when the Vietnam War was stoking nationwide protests across nearly every college campus. Compared to other campuses, Purdue was a fairly conservative school, but we had a chapter of the Students for Democratic Society SDS , and they regularly protested the war on the mall or at the Armory. I had mixed feelings about the war when I arrived at Purdue in , having spent most of my high school years in Europe—insulated from the anti-war movement.

But since I had an ROTC scholarship and my dad was retiring from the Air Force and starting law school about the same time I entered college, I felt an obligation to stay in a program that was paying my way. I also worked 4 hours each evening Monday - Friday as a janitor, cleaning the second floor of the university library to help make ends meet. Just walking across campus in uniform to attend military drills drew unwanted attention.

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So, when the annual Army ROTC awards ceremony occurred in the spring of my freshman year , and knowing that I was not an award recipient, I decided to skip the ceremony and attend the SDS rally in the mall instead. Upon arriving at the armory, they broke open the large truck-sized doors and entered, chanting loud and strong. State troopers in riot gear soon arrived to keep the protesters away from the formation of cadets. He called me in the following morning and told me that my scholarship was being put on probation. This was a wakeup call for me, and it began the reshaping of my attitude.

I had to decide which side to be on.

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I came to realize that I wanted to be a leader more than a protestor. Like some other Americans, I may have thought that the Vietnam War was ill-advised, but I also realized that there were alternative ways to make my mark on the world. When ROTC summer camp training rolled around between my junior and senior year, I spent nine weeks at Fort Riley and did well enough to become the third-ranking cadet at Purdue during my senior year. Upon graduation from Purdue in , I was one of six cadets designated a Distinguished Military Graduate. You need building blocks to realize that dream. During those early years at Purdue—at least as it applied to an Army career—I lacked ambition, a good self-awareness, and perseverance.

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I simply knew that I owed four years to the Army after graduation because of my scholarship, but after that, I thought I could move on to something else. Consider, for example, all the other concepts that courage connects to in workplace settings. Innovation takes courage because it requires creating ideas that are ground-breaking and tradition-defying; great ideas always start out as blasphemy! And sales always take courage because it requires knocking on the doors of prospects over and over in the face of rejection. Having a way of categorizing courageous behavior allows you to pinpoint the exact type of courage that each individual worker may be most in need of building.

The first bucket of courage is TRY Courage. TRY Courage is the courage of action. It is the courage of initiative.