Warren Buffett once famously said that “someone is sitting in the shade today because someone else planted a tree a long time ago.” Breaking that down, there are two critical messages that we can all take away from this.
The first is that we need to think long-term and big-picture. We need to be “tree-planters” and not just somebody who sits under them. We have to stop thinking about just today! We have to dream big, and focus on doing more with what we have. Set some big goals.
The second is that the choices we make today have a lasting impact, not only on us but on generations to come. Maybe you have children now, or you might want them in the future. Perhaps you have employees in your business counting on you for their salaries. Maybe you have patients, customers, or clients that need your help. There is always somebody relying on you.
Of course, I realize it’s hard to think that way when you’re barely scraping by from a money or time perspective, of course. But, we can’t use that as a crutch. We have to start somewhere.
As a decision scientist and financial coach, I see so many people become stuck in their day-to-day that they don’t look up and focus on what’s important. The most critical areas that we have to make better choices around are money, health, and relationships. How are you doing in those areas? Are you making the difference you once dreamed of as a child?
Try these simple techniques to see if you can shift your focus.
- Write down 3 (yes, just 3) things that you want to get done over the next 100 days. Think beyond the tactical, routine tasks and errands, like going to the grocery store. Think “lasting impact.” What are the 3 significant accomplishments you can do today to move the needle (or make a difference) for your business, family, and wealth? Ask yourself, “what three things will have the greatest impact on my results? Focus on those things. Write them down on sticky notes, your mirror, and your organizer. Make sure you focus on those daily. Spend more time on these and significantly less on anything that doesn’t move needles!
- Make a note of your “key numbers” for health and wealth. Document these today and then every month for the next three months. These numbers are vital. For example, for health record your blood pressure, heart rate, and blood glucose (if you can get it). For wealth, document your current net worth (sum of all things you own minus what you owe), your savings rate (number of dollars saved monthly divided by gross income), and your spending percentage (percent of money used to buy things, divided by your monthly income). “What gets measured, gets done” is another famous saying. Track these critical numbers for your health and wealth, and you’ll be much more likely to take actions on them to improve.
- Adopt a “conscious” perspective. To be conscious is to be aware, mindful- present, and alert. Before doing anything like purchasing something big or negotiating, literally shake yourself. Wake yourself up. Talk to yourself and make sure you’re present. You’d be surprised how many people sleepwalk through major life events and decisions at an unconscious level.
Declare that today will be the day to start making a difference!
That’s it – start small and work on these areas. I’ve seen it make a huge difference with myself, and high-performers I’ve taught and coached. You can do this!