Doing what works.

Let me get straight to the point: most hacks are a fallacy.

I get it, our lives are busy and getting busier, and we all want workaroundsto be more productive, creative, connective, and effective. Because our time is finite, we want to believe in hacks. Unfortunately, nearly all of them are click-bait that falls into the same mythical camp as the Easter Bunny and the Loch Ness Monster (nothing against Nessie).

Maybe we’re still chasing after the after-effects of the Dot Com era, where some (a very tiny percentage) businesses hit the proverbial business lottery and sold for untold millions. Even the SBA reports that the startup business failure rate is around 50%. Common reasons for failure include lack of demand for the product or service, lack of leadership and management, lack of focus, too much pride and overconfidence.

There’s so much that’s been said about the next big thing or disruption that sometimes I get the sense some folks are looking for new just for the sake of new, not necessarily for the better—more effective, more valuable, more beneficial. This is a version of shiny object syndrome, which is a distraction at its least productive.

Here’s an alternative approach.

Maybe instead of seeking out the next big thing, the alternative option is to turn to the tried and true things that have always been there. The tools and approaches that have always created results, and maybe we forgot about them or simply looked past them because they aren’t the next big thing. Some would argue that it’s logical to say you can’t get to the next big thing doing things the old way. For those skeptics, I’d point to the routine behaviors of Warren Buffett, Jeff Bezos, Bill GatesOprah WinfreyReed Hastings, Tim Cook, and Ray Dalio.

Here’s what I believe works:

  • Being persistent and focusing on our big goals and the greater good (for your company, your customers, your family, your community).
  • Being honest—which makes you more vulnerable—always has a place.
  • Being generous with how you think of others, how you think of your self and how you treat people.
  • Making keepable promises and keeping promises have always benefitted everyone around you (and holding others accountable for their promises).
  • Doing the right thing, not just the easy or comfortable thing.
  • Hard work and deep work (thanks Cal Newport!) works to get the important stuff done.
  • Creating something of value never fails.
  • Starting small, making mistakes and learning from them, building and growing at a manageable pace.
  • Following your gut, heart or intuition works to fine-tune your own decision-compass.
  • Meeting in person or calling someone, instead of only texting or emailing has always worked.
  • Focusing on the long game gets you long game wins.

In life and business, we get what we focus on. Or adding to the grass is always greener maxim, the grass is greener where we water it. When we know what’s most important to focus on and invest our finite and valuable time and energy, day in and day out, we’ll get to the next big thing.

 

Do these things, and you’ll get results. Do them consistently, over time, and your next big thing will happen in ways that may be larger than you can likely imagine.

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