I read a great book a while back called the “Compound Effect” by Darren Hardy. As you know he is the editor of Success Magazine. Recently I decided to read it again. This is the time of the year we evaluate how our year went, the changes we need to make and the new habits we need to form. This book, The Compound Effect, reminds us that it's often the small things that make the biggest impact.
If I were to sum up this book in one short paragraph would be:
“Success is often built by taking small consistent steps over time. While these steps in the moment don’t feel significant, the results over time are massive.”
Like most other real estate investors I know, I struggle with multi-tasking. We all know it’s a bad idea, but we have more jobs than hours in the day. As entrepreneurs we are also creative types who tend to get side tracked by shiny objects. What happens is we jump from one great idea to another. We are “big picture people” and it can be hard to slow down long enough to even think about making small changes.
What happens is that because folks fail to plan for success, life just happens to them.
So how can we change that? How can we become more focused, intentional and consistent with our actions? We create new habits.
The Power of Taking Small, Consistent Steps
Darren Hardy has said more than once he isn’t the smartest person, but given enough time he will beat anyone in just about anything. How is he able to do that? He does that by taking those small consistent steps needed EVERY day to move his business forward. You’ll notice he doesn’t say some days or most every day; he says every day.
Putting the Compound Effect in Action
If you are committed to achieving massive results over time, there are 5 parts to this process.
- Momentum or “Big Mo”
So let’s look at each one of these.
There are some things in life we have no choice over such as illness, but by and large we are completely responsible for the life we create. We all come into the world the same; naked, scared and ignorant. When it’s all said and done, the life we end up with is almost entirely an accumulation of the choices we make.
Becoming aware of our choices is the first step. Choosing well takes you down a much different path than not choosing at all.
Stop and think about this; what if you had to think of every tiny step necessary for brushing your teeth, washing dishes, mowing the lawn and a whole host of other things we just do without thinking about all of those individual steps. The problem is that by definition a habit is something we do without really thinking about it. Sitting down with a bag of potato chips or a whole can of nuts when we are watching TV then realizing that you have eaten the entire amount is nothing more than a bad habit.
So how do you stop living life on autopilot and create better habits? You need a big enough “why” to change bad habits and create new ones.
Your habits influence your goals so if you’re not making the progress that you would like to be making, it’s simply because your goals are not well defined and you don’t have the right habits. In his book Darren goes over 5 strategies for eliminating bad habits.
Momentum or “Big Mo”
This was one of my favorite chapters. I wrote an entire blog post on “Big Mo”. When you are trying to get momentum in your real estate business the first steps are always the hardest. But when you get it, momentum is almost impossible to stop. So how do you get it?
Here are the 4 steps to achieving “Big Mo”
- Make new choices based on your goals and core values
- Create new positive behaviors by putting good choices to work
- Create new habits to replace your current bad habits
- Build routines and stay consistent over a long period of time (routines are so important)
At their core these 4 steps are pretty simple, but they are anything but easy to implement when you are first trying to make these changes. Identifying the things you need to change is the first step to making positive changes.
You want to start small. Just pick one thing and create a new habit. For me it was getting up earlier each day. I’m still not where I want to be, but I have been getting up earlier for quite a while now. Reading Hal Elrod’s book “The Miracle Morning” has helped to reinforce that habit. Remember that small consistent steps over time will get you where you need to be.
Don’t make the mistake of over committing. You don’t have to jump right into a new habit requiring massive changes when you know deep down you won’t be able to maintain that habit. It’s OK to ease into it so that it sticks. The last thing you want to do is set yourself up for failure from day 1.
Even though we are all 100% responsible for our life and the choices we make, there are subtle influences or external forces that you need to be aware of that will put you off track.
Here are the 3 kinds of influences:
- Environment or your surroundings
So let’s break them down a little bit.
Influences are things like the news. Did you ever notice the effect the nightly news can have on your mood? Let’s face it; most of the news is bad so why participate?
You always hear things like:
- The economy is shaky
- Real estate sales have picked up, but how long will that continue?
- It’s really hard for 1st time home buyers to get a mortgage
- We can expect terror attacks in the near future in the US
Your mind is like an empty glass, so be careful what you put into it. Or as Darren says, “Don’t drink dirty water”.
I’m sure you’ve heard this saying; “You become the average of the 5 people you hang out with”. Seek out positive people that share your vision. Look for mentors that are already where you want to be. Get an accountability partner that will kick your butt when you need it or join a mastermind group. If you can’t find a mastermind group, start one Find a way to spend most of your time with people that that are “already sitting at the table you want to pull your chair up to”.
Sometimes your vision for your business or the dream in your heart may be bigger than your environment (including the people in your environment). I’m not only talking about where you currently live or other limiting personal situations. I’m also talking about physical and mental clutter that may be getting in the way. These things drain your energy. They weigh you down.
So finish your “incompletes”. Clean up your work space or even your garage if that’s weighing you down. Purge those files. Get all those unfinished projects done once and for all so that you can create an environment for success.
While we are on the subject of your environment, I am also talking about the people in your life creating all the drama. You can’t “fire your momma”, but you can limit your access to folks that are responsible for all that negativity in your life.
When things get tough, our minds create all sorts of reasons or “alibis” for why it’s OK to stop or to throw in the towel. Your subconscious is more than willing to give up on this current new habit or the new choice we need to make in order to put the compound effect into place in our life. After all, change is hard! When tough times come our way and we hit those emotional and mental walls don’t be the one that quits.
Just do a little more each day so you can see those massive results – the compound effect over time. Take some time today and look down the road. Are you headed where you want to end up? If not, what changes do you need to make?
Here’s the real question you need to ask yourself.
If you’re not already subscribed to the “Inner Circle”, be sure to do that today so you don’t miss any of the business building tips I have coming your way. I want this year to be your best year ever! And if you enjoyed this article, please share it.