A Chinese proverb says, "The journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step." And this couldn't be truer for entrepreneurs.
Most people set goals for success but they often neglect the main difference, or the slight edge, between success and failure: consistent, meaningful action.
You don't get immediate gratification from big goals. Invariably, when slow, steady progress isn't enough, people give up, turn back and head downward, where they remain stuck. This, my friends, is called self-sabotage.
In writing The Slight Edge , I researched how we process information and how businesspeople and great leaders become so successful. The secret comes down to what I call the slight edge: Making small, positive changes consistently on a daily basis for an extended period of time. This slow and steady race isn't for the impatient, but the payoff is worth it. To get started, you need to focus on just one percent.
The power of one percent.
What if you were to increase or improve your practice hours, cold calls, workouts, reading times, study sessions or social media engagement by one percent? It would only require a tiny alteration in your current commitment.
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By altering your course toward the positive by one percent on a consistent, daily basis, you'll reach a level of achievement in that area that will not only be doubled, but more than tripled within one year. Don't believe me? Let me explain.
Let's say you add a value equal to one percent improvement in a particular area daily. By adding one percent each day (pure addition, no compound interest) your year-end result will equate to 365 percent, or an improvement of 3.5 times.
Applying the power of one percent.
For those that need a little help getting started, here are some tips for applying the power of the slight edge to your daily life.
- Write out your priority goal for 2014.
- Define a simple way to know when your goal has been accomplished. Key performance indicators might include measured increases in web traffic, social media following, blog shares, conversions, brick-and-mortar traffic and profitability. Brainstorm ideas by first doing a competitor analysis.
- Develop a plan action. Then establish steps you can apply for the year, quarter, month, week and each day. Your inclination will be to focus on the big-picture steps, but the daily actions are your priority. Consistency is your slight edge.
- Monitor your progress by keeping track of daily actions in a journal or spreadsheet. Review it weekly, monthly or quarterly.
The power of patience and inspiration.
The hard part isn't the one percent. It is impatience and lack of immediate results that make otherwise smart, capable businesspeople give up on their goals.
If you're looking for a quick fix, you might as well stop setting big goals. But if you want to achieve something great, add one penny a day, one tweet a day, one call to your list of prospects. Simply put: Consistently repeated daily actions and time equal unconquerable results.
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