What Is One Thing?

 In Barbara's Blog
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A Five-Step Process to Accomplishing Your Work and Enjoying Your Life

For several years, I had the privilege of being a student of Dan Sullivan, founder of The Strategic Coach. One of the many things he taught was a deceptively simple query he called “The R-Factor Question: “If we were meeting three years from today—and you were to look back over those three years to today—what has to have happened during that period, both personally and professionally, for you to feel happy about your progress?”

It’s a powerful question, and there’s no doubt that answering that question, and then creating and implementing the systems to make that happen will enable you to accomplish great things in your personal and professional life.

I have to admit that I personally stumbled with that question for many years, because I kept looking for “one thing” – but there were SO many things I wanted to accomplish.
Today, I regularly ask a slightly different question: “What is ONE thing that has to happen for me to feel happy with my progress?”

Using this technique for several years has taken me from a frequent state of depression to a continuous state of hope. As I look through the journal I have written through the years notes (very sporadic notes, I have to say!), there is ample evidence of the success of this technique in my life. Through the years, I’ve discovered that this question can be a great catalyst for my clients in my efforts to help them accomplish their work and enjoy their lives.

What Is It?

So how do you identify “one thing?” Now, here’s the important part! Notice, I didn’t say “the” one thing. It’s just “one thing.” It’s something that you know you need or want to do. You’ve thought about it for days, weeks, months – or even years. It’s one thing you think about when you can’t sleep at night. Sometimes you start to do it – and sometimes you’ve started to do it several times. When you think about it, you feel guilty, overwhelmed, sad, confused – sometimes, even powerless.
Don’t agonize of what “it” is – just pick something that you really need or want to do!

What Then?

Now that you’ve identified “one thing,” you can utilize what I call “The Productive Environment Process™” to make it happen. That name comes from my philosophy that a “productive environment” is an intentional setting in which you can accomplish your work and enjoy your life. That environment can be your office, your home – or your mind! Here are the five steps:

1) State your vision
2) Identify your obstacles
3) Commit your resources
4) Design and executive your plan
5) Sustain your success.

Notice the common word in the five steps: YOUR. This is all about YOU. What one thing do YOU need to do to feel happy with your progress?

SO, here’s how it works:

Step 1: State Your Vision

How will you know when your “one thing” is accomplished? What result will you have? What will you be able to do that you can’t do now? How will you feel? For example, if your “one thing” is” spend more time with my family,” you need to be specific. Which members of the family? How often? How long?

Step 2: Identify Your Obstacles

What has, what is, or what might prevent you from accomplishing your “one thing?”
Time? Money? Not knowing what to do? A person? For example, if your “one thing” is to “organize my finances so I won’t have a crisis at tax time this year,” one of your obstacles might be not knowing what records you need to keep.

Step 3: Commit Your Resources

There is ONE resource that is essential to your success: time! How much time and when are you willing to work on your “one thing?” What other resources do you already have that you could utilize? What physical things do you have that would help you? Who could help you? For example, if your “one thing” is to “spend more time alone so you can meditate and pray,” you will need a comfortable physical place to do it.

Step 4: Design and Implement Your Vision

In order to reach your vision, overcome your obstacles, and utilize your resources, what do you need to do? Obviously, this is the most important step of the five steps, but you’re not likely to be successful if you ignore the first three. If this is something with which you have been struggling, or something about which you have been procrastinating for some time, this is where you will probably need help. It’s the reason that all successful business owners have coaches, mentors, consultants, subcontractors, and/or employees!

Step 5: Sustain Your Success

Unless your “one thing” is something you only have to do once, and it will be done forever, this step is the MOST important, and the one many people fail to implement. For example, if your “one thing” is to organize your closet, you will need to do it periodically – quite likely, when seasons change.

What’s Different?

Here’s the really exciting news. Going forward, anytime you think of “one thing” that you want or need to do, you can use this five-step process. Everything you know or think about this “one thing” fits into one of these five steps.

I use this process with all my clients who are trying to make their office a “productive environment” where they can accomplish their work and enjoy their life, and one client recently used it to plan their family vacation. Another client said, “This process could save my marriage!”

So, what is “one thing” you want to do?

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