I recently had the fortunate accident to connect with a successful CEO, and like I do all the time, I started asking a bunch of questions.
If curiosity actually killed the cat I’d be long gone by now, so who cares about being shy? I love figuring shit out.
When I asked him about the single factor that kept his company rocking well past the point where he could control everything, he said he chose to eliminate 7 out of the 1-10 scale.
“When things got to the point where I couldn’t interview everyone as we were expanding, I had my employees do the interviewing. The one rule I gave the was that they were not allowed to rate someone as a 7. They could rate them as a 6 or below or an 8-10, but 7 was off the table.”
This got me thinking about how many 7’s we let creep into our life on a daily basis.
How many friendships would you rate as 7’s? Not bad, but not fulfilling or energizing.
How many home tasks do you do during the day that are a 7? You don’t mind them, but your real value comes from contributing in those 8-10’s.
How many work tasks do you do that are 7’s? Could you delegate or better yet, DELETE them all together? One of the tactics Bill Gates uses is that once he has his calendar for the day, he has one his partners review his calendar and delete (not delegate) the tasks that aren’t where Mr. Gates adds the most value.
Here’s some ways you can delete or delegate the 7’s as well as how to spot em:
1.Be conscious of Input vs Output
What do I mean by this? Be aware of what you put into a task and what you get out of it. Output is measured in 3 things – money made, money saved or time saved. If your input (what you’re doing) does not result in one of those 3 things, it does not have an output.
There are necessities, however, which are defined as things that if they don’t get done the results will be catastrophic.
Eating has no output. It doesn’t make or save money or time, however if you don’t eat you’ll die eventually, making it a necessity.
Cleaning the house however, also doesn’t have an output by these standards.
My challenge to you is this, look at everything you’re doing and find the activities that have defined output.
The reason I’ve made output so black and white here (again – output is money saved, money made or time saved) is because it’s very easy for us to rationalize activities based on the relationship we think it will create or the exposure we expect to receive.
That is NOT a defined output. More like a happy coincidence if it does happen.
Once you’ve identified the activities that have a defined output, focus on those, and see how many of the activities that don’t have an output can be delegated or deleted.
Side note here – make sure you’re balancing your low-zero output activities, for example if cleaning the house is an zero output activity but a cleaner would cost more per hour than your time is worth, it’s not valuable to delegate that just yet.
2. Focus On Contribution, Not Significance
Oh my god – this is something I come back to over and over again.
How many times do we get caught up in the ‘me’ trap? I’m not successful enough, pretty enough, handsome enough, accomplished enough, rich enough, promoted enough…the list goes on.
When we shift the focus to contribution, the activities we’re doing that have some output but are only designed to serve ourselves (ahem…7’s) and easily put aside for the skills we could implement right now that could really contribute to others’ lives (this stuff rates as an 11/10 in my book).
Now, here’s an important distinction, I don’t just mean any old activity that helps someone else.
You and only you know your skill set, but if you’re serving soup at a kitchen when you’re a gifted and trained therapist, you’re much better off sharing that gift with the world with the same time you would use serving soup. Kapiche?
Focusing on contribution instead of significance brings it all back to what matters.
We’re all going to die, and what will be left over is what we left behind for others, not ourselves!
What lessons, monuments, movement, books, ideas, industries or changes do you want to be remembered for?
That’s the contribution mindset. Ironically, it unlocks a ton of the significance factor and allows it to shine in a way that a self focused motivation never could.
3. Be Willing To Walk Alone
Holy fuck this one is HARD.
Anyone who has ever made a big lifestyle change (moved to new city, quit drinking or another addiction or left a relationship) knows that one of the biggest and scariest byproducts of it is that you won’t have your community around you.
You won’t have your spouse you just broke up with or the friends you would go out and party with if you decide to change your ways and stick with it.
Here’s the thing – if your fear of being alone overrides your desire for a better life, there will always be a disconnect.
How many relationships do you have in your life that are 7’s? They’re not horrible but they don’t really serve you?
My suggestion is not to cut them off cold turkey (I’ll leave that judgement call up to you), however be aware of them and be aware of the relationships in your life that you would rate as an 8 or above and notice the difference.
In order to attract the 8 and above quality friends, a great question to ask is ‘who do I need to be to be of value in a friendship like that?’.
This is very significant in relationships, as we yearn sometimes for that perfect partner but seldom stop to ask ‘Who do I need to be to attract that type of a boyfriend/girlfriend?’
When the focus turns inward it gives you an element of control in what you want, and it also opens up your world to different environments you could expose yourself to.
So in short, fuck 7’s!
If everything in your life was 6 or below or an 8 or above, what would it look like, and how would it shift the way you do things?
I love accidental encounters with people who make me realize shit like this, and I hope this hit home for you as much as it did for me.