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Inner Game

4 Things You Can Learn From Doing Absolutely Nothing

todolistIn today’s lesson, I want to talk to you about the power of doing nothing. Really, stay with me…

With the holiday season upon us, I’ve been thinking about vacations and time away from daily obstacles and the fast pace. The thought of taking a break brought me back to a time when I once took two full weeks off – without working at all during that time. Not only that, but I did something I don’t normally do during vacation time: I planned for nothing.

In other words, I didn’t make travel arrangements, didn’t go anywhere, didn’t plan to do anything… I actually took time off, not just another “vacation.”

Normally, during long vacations, I’m going somewhere, doing many things and often busier than when working. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I get home from a vacation and almost feel like I need a vacation from my vacation. Know what I mean?

During those two weeks off, I had a lot of down time. I did a lot of music recording with my band, spent a lot of time with family and my kids just hanging out and playing, had lots of lazy days reading, listening to music, sitting next to a warm fire in my fireplace… and basically didn’t have a whole lot planned, and it was nice. Really nice.

Don’t get me wrong, I had plenty of stuff I could’ve done… but the point is, it was an awesome break from the day-to-day minutia that we can all get buried in.

What does this have to do with you? Well, there are HUGE benefits to taking this kind of time off with nothing to do and nothing planned, and I wanted to share this with you so that you can experience the incredible things that that experience gave me.

1. First and foremost, I spent quiet time with God.

Please know that I fully recognize and appreciate that there are people of many faiths out there…and those who believe…and some who don't at all. I respect everyone’s own personal belief system, and those who know me, know that I’m a Christian and that’s where my faith and belief system comes from.

Having said that, take from this what best suits your beliefs…

I had been frustrated most of my life with my relationship with Christ because I’ve always felt like the relationship was one way. I would pray and pray, and yet I never experienced the clouds parting, the deep voice coming from the sky telling me exactly what to do, how to act, what to believe, etc…

I always wanted to hear from God in some way, and it hadn’t happened. That is, up until it did. As crazy as this may sound to you, God actually (literally) spoke to me for the first time during that 2-week break I first spoke of. (And NO, there was no alcohol or drugs involved… this was the real deal!)

What I can tell you is that this was one of the most incredible experiences of my entire life. I have a renewed and refreshed faith that I have been wanting for so long. And what I learned is, perhaps God has been trying to speak to me in this way for some time, but I’ve just been too busy doing “stuff” to listen.

quiet2. Quiet Time = Vision Clarity

I got to spend a lot of quiet time just thinking about what I want life to look like. And I don’t mean just for the next 2 weeks or 2 months or even 12 months – I didn’t just come up with a list of resolutions or goals…

I really spent time with my vision (both personally and professionally,) and got clear on my direction and path, not only for the next year (which I did), but also for my life as a whole.

Sometimes it’s easy to get so caught up in all of the day-to-day activities (especially business activities) that it’s hard to know (or remember) what you really want. Instead, the easy path is just to schedule more, plan a new goal, set a new financial target, etc.

Taking time off helped me really get down to what’s really important to me, not just the next promotion I’m going to do, deal I’m going to close or target I’m going to hit.

3. My personal life came first. Business came last.

One thing I always teach the people I coach and mentor is to put their personal vision first. Sometimes this is easier said than done. But, try this one exercise and the next 12 months of your life will be totally different (way more fun!) than any other year of your life.

calendarHere’s what I mean: Schedule your life FIRST.

We’ve all heard we’re supposed to pay ourselves first, but most people think this saying goes for finances only. Very few people actually pay themselves with their time first.

When I was planning out my calendar for the next year, I started by putting all of my personal aspects of my vision on my calendar first. The business stuff wasn’t put in there until afterwards, once all of the personal things I’d like to accomplish or experience were already loaded in.

This means I put all of the “vacations” I’d like to take on the calendar:

  • date nights with my wife
  • time away for seminars I’d like to attend to help me grow personally
  • time away for my guys trips
  • my time away with just no plans whatsoever
  • my time to record with my band
  • my time to be with family
  • camping with my son
  • a trip to drive race cars with friends
  • and a whole lot more

All of this got put into the calendar first, then the business trips, events, coaching retreats, etc. were loaded in at the very end.

Now, this calendar doesn’t have to be exactly perfect. But if you do this, you’ll discover that you have a whole lot less time to work in your business than you might have thought, which means if you want to actually have a life, you’re going to have to become a whole lot more efficient with the time you spend in your business.

This not only forces you to become laser-focused on what you’re going to work on in your business, it also helps get you back to the root of LIVING LIFE rather than just creating a business that makes lots of money.

Don’t get me wrong, I want you to make a lot of money, but I know lots of people who make a lot of money and don’t have any time left to enjoy it. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be that guy. Money means nothing if it comes with a fish hook attached.

4. Business got crystal clear for me.

Taking this time off, I realized that there are a number of things in my business that need to just go away.

One thing I’ve learned over the years is that the key to business success is often getting rid of what you don’t need rather than just adding more and more (more goals, more customers, even more income can be a problem if it comes with a lot more fixed monthly expenses…).

focusThere are pieces of my business that are just there because they’re “supposed” to be there (or so that book or seminar said…), not because they were ever a part of my actual vision for my business.

It’s made me realize that there is some fat that needs to be trimmed. It’s so easy to complicate everything in business when the truth is, my business is most profitable when it’s run in a very simple way…

Think of the real estate investor who’s trying to run a profitable short sale business while also doing rehabs, lease option marketing, a rental business, an internet marketing business, an MLM and more, all at the same time – and trying to be the biggest and best at all of them.

While multiple streams of income sounds great (and can be, don’t get me wrong…), sometimes the most profit (both financially and in terms of your time) comes from having laser focus. I’ve found that it’s often most profitable to become the absolute best at one or two things rather than attempting to become the master of many things.

It’s time to trim the fat, friends.

Schedule some time for yourself – some YOU time – to get you moving in the right direction for your vision and you'll be poised, like few others will ever be, to absolutely crush the next year.

Got anything to add?

What’s your take on this? Share in the comments section below.


Do It To It! Immediate Action Steps

1. Decide what you are going to do to actually have (or start) a relationship with your creator/higher power.
2. Schedule some YOU time to do absolutely nothing so that you can get clear on your vision.
3. Begin to put your personal life first so that your professional life can prosper and you can actually have a life. (Hint: Try the calendar exercise and start to schedule business activities after personal ones for a change.)
4. Determine what kind of fat you need to trim in your own business so that you can become the best of the best at one or two things, rather than trying to be the best at everything.

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