Lately, I’ve been thinking about how the little things add up. Like plaque in your arteries. I’ve seen that commercial with the little globules piling up in that guy’s heart. Those globules are really tiny (they tell you the head of a pin tiny) but of course they go on to say the tiny gobs become a clog that can kill you, or you end up with a gurney following you around all day or any number of scary advertising metaphors.
Little things of course mean a lot. They say divorces start over small arguments over the toothpaste cap. So much so that toothpaste manufacturers have been kind enough to attach the cap to the tube, an innovation that has saved millions in legal fees. The point is that there becomes enough of anything (positive OR negative) and a critical mass will eventually arise. So, lately I’ve become obsessed with this concept.
I’ve also become a bit obsessed with cultivating a positive attitude. Now starting with heart attacks and divorce may not sound like an overtly positive person at the keyboard, but I think I’m becoming a pretty positive person. For instance, if you end up having a heart attack and it doesn’t kill you, you’ll probably begin to appreciate the important things in life with your second chance. If you get a divorce, maybe there’s someone better out there for you. If you have a heart attack and get a divorce at the same time, maybe it’s time to realize that your attention to everything may need some work.
Our lives are a process and too often we bump along through that process letting the tide take us wherever it chooses to go. It’s part of the American dream.
If you don’t believe me, just walk into any bar for Thursday night Karaoke and you will hear someone drunkenly singing ‘Rambling Man.’ But the other part of the dream is to have a successful, fulfilling career that showers upon us all the trappings of our achievement. My assessment: the concept of American Dream lives at cross purposes and drives us crazy.
If you live and work in Hollywood as I do, you find yourself at the epicenter of this contradiction. The media that we create tells us that life is easy, we’re supposed to be beautiful with not much effort and no matter the problem, it all works out in the end. Even in Vampire movies for some reason. Nothing more compelling than violent, brooding vampires finding true love, attacking helpless wildlife and living happily ever after.
So, our eyes and ears tell us yes, yes, yes, anything is possible and our brains assess our reality and tell us, no, no, no, all of this is BS. The result: paralysis.
So I want to talk about how to move past paralysis and a way to move forward. I’ve talked in the past about the 1% solution. The idea that making 1% progress in your career everyday compounds and reaches the tipping point that little heart globules can. But how to exact that 1%?. I think I’ve found a way.
I recently read an article by Darren Hardy in Success magazine (yes, I’m one of the dorks that reads that publication) about an equation for building and maintaining your career network through doing little things. It’s called the 3 – 15 – 5 – 1 equation. It breaks down like this: each week commit to 3 – in person meetings, 15 written communications, 5 direct phone calls, 1 gift. The idea is to sit down at the beginning of each week and plan it out. Then work your way through the plan over the next 5 days.
Here’s the paralysis that hit me with this strategy: Do I know enough people to make this work week to week or will I just be hitting the same people over and over again? It forced me to sit down and write a list of all my business contacts that I feel close enough to do this with. I came up with about 120. But, then I took it further, I wrote out a list of people and companies I’d like to get to know or that I have vague aquaintence with. Then I brought in the people I work closest with and reviewed the list, adding people they know well and want to get to know. Now between us all the list is rather large and we can all do it.
It occurred to me as I was putting this together that these are all little things. All doable if I write a weekly plan for it. I haven’t figured it all out yet, the gift thing in particular because that seems a bit forward to me, but I am committed to trying it all out.
Instead of picturing globules piling up in arteries, I am looking at it as more of a turn of the flywheel with each communication. If you want, you can go back and read that blog post also (Lord of the Flywheel). See, I’ve been writing this blog for a year now and the material has compounded to a point where I can refer to previous posts! This works the same way, only you’re compounding a network of relationships! Do 1% daily, turn the flywheel and those relationships will begin to intertwine also. When that happens you reach Hollywoods Holy Grail: BUZZ
Now isn’t this a better use of your time than sitting around waiting for plaque to build up in your heart? As a matter of fact, I’m thinking the positive direction and actionable steps may prevent a heart attack. Oh, and lay off the nachos.