Brian Tracy was hell-bent on doubling LTDS attendees' incomes in 2018. It's clear he gets fired up about motivating entrepreneurs and leaders. After decades of researching and presenting productivity practices, the best-selling author still passionately wants others to succeed. At 74, he managed to put us all in our places for 90 minutes while we ate him up – and his zeal – with spoons.
His old-school professional development strategies could be the kick in the pants you need right now. They are timeless, so try on one or two this year and see if you double your potential! Start with this thoughtful question first: "What is the highest paid, most valuable work you do?" Tracy asked the San Diego audience right off the bat. There were mumbles in response.
"Thinking," he answered. That's not the answer you had in mind, is it? The way you think, and what you think about are very valuable. Be sure you nurture your own thoughts and thought processes. Thinking about how to better yourself and/or your career is worth the time and money spent on it.
"Successful people don’t second guess themselves," Tracy pointed out. He's found that self-made millionaires all say focus is the key to success, and was the key to their success. Focus.
He summarized three ways successful people think from his book on the topic.
- Long-term thinking vs. short-term thinking. Always be future-focused. Set goals that are clear and work on them all the time because there are consequences to not achieving them.
- The difference between fast and slow thinking. Slow down and think about your decision, and the consequences of that decision. And then and focus on it.
- Informed thinking vs. uninformed thinking. Do your research.
"Keep improving your skills and learning more skills," the animated speaker commanded. "Sometimes adding one skill can dramatically change your earning ability." He reminded everyone that time is our most precious resource, so don't waste it. He has found that wealthy people say they get up before 6:00 a.m. They start their days early to get the most out of them. You could try packing more into your day by rising earlier. Tracy said you need to invest in yourself all the time, and getting up early to do so is worth it.
Then he moved on to setting goals. He always asks his audiences to wave a magic wand and imagine that they could be excellent at one skill overnight. "Write it down," he instructed. "What would it be? What’s the first step to master that skill? Write that step down as a goal."
And he means, literally, write down: "I am absolutely excellent in this ___________ skill.” If you write it like that and say it to yourself like that every day, then you’ll start mastering it.
"Then what?" he asked. "You ask the question again and then master that skill. Ask a mentor for recommendations on how to be as successful as them." Then put those steps and recommendations into action – immediately. "Most successful people take action on it immediately. Do it now. Then develop this fast habit. Get on with it," he chided.
And you can't maximize your potential without better time management. So, Tracy offered some advice in that department as well. You need to be highly productive (to get promoted, to get paid more, and move up faster). Stop trying to do everything.
- Don’t waste time at work, no excuses.
- Work the whole time you’re at work. Don’t start your day with email. Don’t get distracted. Don’t check your email in the morning. Turn your phone off.
- Work for 90 minutes straight without interruption first thing. Then take a 15-minute break. Then work for 90 minutes again full blast. Take another break.
- Clarity. Be so clear about your most important task/goal. Ask yourself, "what am I trying to do?" If it’s not working, ask, "is there a better way to do this or work on this?"
He closed with these final thoughts: "Set your most important life goal and work on it. Always be working on your most important goal."