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“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” —Viktor Frankl
Speed is a crucial component when it comes to making meaningful change. The sooner we begin the quicker we get to where we want to go. Fast progress encourages us, engages us and helps motivate us to keep moving forward.
Think of any change you’ve set about to make. Once you made up your mind – that’s a tough enough chore and can take much longer than is good for us – then you took action. If you didn’t see or feel any positive results very soon you were tempted to quit. Maybe you remain committed to grind it out…so you kept going. If you saw or felt progress soon then it reinforced your commitment to begin the journey. You felt good about it and it spurred you to keep going.
If you went days or weeks without any noticeable growth or improvement, you likely lost energy. Your commitment took a hit. You began to question if you should have ever made this decision to begin with. And eventually, you quit.
CEOs and business owners experience the same things when they’re trying to figure things out. Maybe we’re more prone to these failures if we try to do things by ourselves, but we’re all susceptible because everybody craves encouragement. The kind of encouragement that reinforces our decision.
That’s precisely why this 7×7 fast start is important when coaching small business owners (or anybody else for that matter). Fast starts need to produce fast results and deeper devotions to the process.
It’s not complicated.
For seven straight weeks carve out some solitude – that means no distractions – for a solid hour of reflection on a single challenge, issue or opportunity.
I’d suggest you do it at the same time each week. Whatever you do, calendar it and keep the appointment no matter what. Treat it as an unbreakable commitment.
Use a pad of paper and a pen. The tactile process of you writing down your thoughts or questions is important. It can help you remember and maybe, more importantly, it sorta forces you to be engaged.
Write down your challenge, issue or opportunity at the top of the page in the form of a question. Make it as precise and detailed as possible.
Now spend the next hour writing down whatever comes to your mind, remaining focused only on that one question.
It’s okay if you want to carry over one challenge, issue or opportunity to the next week. Don’t get stuck on just one though. My preference would be to have you focus on 7 different challenges, issues or opportunities. And I’d encourage you to have at least 2 opportunities. Don’t just make them all challenges or difficulties.
One hour each week. No distractions. Handwritten notes.
You can do this all by yourself to help you distill potential actions to take, to gain clarity on what more you need to learn or any other meaningful action that can help you move forward.
Yes, it helps to have coaching entirely focused on the output of your one hour with yourself. It provides a detailed guideline that can help the coaching process. And because it’s a specific time frame – seven weeks – it’s often one of the highest returns a CEO or leader can get from executive coaching. My 7X7 Fast Start coaching consists of one weekly 90-minute call to coach through the results of your one hour with yourself. It typically takes the first 30 minutes to convey the results of your “solitude session,” then a one-hour discussion about it to help you figure out a plan to make your work come alive.
Call or text (214) 682-2467 if you’re interested.
But if you’re not, do this exercise on your own. Just make sure you follow through on the results of your hour solitude sessions. The start part of this isn’t the solitude work, it’s the putting it into action part. Otherwise, you just end up with pages of handwritten notes that never amount to anything. That’s not the goal.
Do it for seven weeks straight. No excuses.
Hint: You may find you enjoy the process and want to extend it well past 7 weeks. Good. Make it a habit.
Be well. Do good. Grow great!