I find todo lists daunting.
The biggest problem with todo lists is that they kill the spirit in things.
The second biggest problem with todo lists is that they mix big things, and small things.
What takes you someplace worth going to are two kinds of things
- simple steps repeated regularly, like
-eating the right foods the right way,
-energizing your water so you can have some energy
-moving your body,
-going to sleep at the same time,
-reading a few pages every night,
-reminding yourself to get present,
-taking deep breaths when you remember,
-taking your supplements,
-Catching the dark wolf talkingThe best reminders are questions… have you done that today?
What time are you going to walk today?
Gentle reminders. If the answer is resistance, the next question is: what purpose does walking for you?
For me regular walking is increasing my capacity to walk a lot, and still enjoy what’s around me. I am having recurring dreams of living in different countries six months at a time. Walking increases my stamina: without stamina all that travel would be sheer torture.
In this article I’ll talk a little more about projects.
If you put a big ball of wax in the sink, the water won’t be able to drain. Unless you melt the whole ball of wax, the water will sit in the sink until you melt the ball completely.
Life doesn’t work this way.
You can snip at the loose ends of the yarn-ball, pull out a little short thread here and a little there. No big steps at any one time.
Once you’ve pulled out enough yarn, the water drains through the now loose and cushy ball.
And then there are projects that are pie in the sky, and won’t move… ever.
But real doable projects do move after a while.
Real projects go through seven stages to completion.
Here are the stages of a project I learned in Landmark.
- Listen / Express
- Remember / Forget
- Strengthen & Build Support / Fail
- Predict & Tune / Succeed
- Enhance / Flood
- Distinguish / Understand
- Enroll / Lose
Most of you will find yourself already stuck in the first stage… If you don’t DO this first stage well, the project will disappear… or become an unfulfilled dream.
Many of you try to start a project in the middle. You fail… Or you become a machine, no joy.
Desire trap makes you look at the tippy top of the project pyramid… and make you fail at this first step.
Let me talk a little bit about the stages you regularly miss:
- Listen (the issue to conquer: Express) In this phase you talk. You keep talking (it can be in writing) until you are clear. What you are trying to formulate is what it is you are going for and why. This can take a day, or a year. My projects spend a lot of time in this stage. Actually most of my ideas die at this stage: speaking them shows their weakness, or speaking them show that they don’t fit in with my life’s purpose.
You are lousy at this step. Because unless you are clear, your speaking and your writing isn’t clear either.
80% of good ideas die in this phase…
- Remember (the issue to conquer: Forget) In this stage you still talk. A lot. Think a lot. Dream a lot. You can see that each stage also has the seven stages: you’ll remember or you’ll forget to formulate the project in conversation… Conversation probably came and went, in early days.
Conversations come and go… unless they are kept alive
Adding time, people, and media — keeping the conversation growing en mass. Meetings, facebook, twitter, buying some stuff that will keep reminding you of what you wanted to do.
Have another phone call scheduled; Have a conversation scheduled. Put it on the calendar
Action, and then followup.Pamphlets, trying to get in the newspaper, websites. Anything that shows up and reminds you or anybody else is media. Sharing it in the Discussion forum is media. Discussing it with me. Scheduling some actions. If you don’t break through the thing on the right hand side, forgetting, you don’t make it through this stage and the project dies.
If you don’t remember to continue the conversation, then the conversation dies with time.
20% of projects die here in this phase… or we can say, only 1% of all ideas actually move to the third phase.
Now you see why nothing much is happening in your life other than empty talking.
- Strengthen & Build Support (the issue to conquer: Fail)
If and when I find you doing something… building a website, going to networking meetings, buying a course… I ask the question: what is the goal, how will you get there, what are you building with that, etc. If you can’t answer then you missed the first two stages, and you’ll probably quit. You started in stage three…
A student of mine went from cleaning houses, to becoming a sought after massage therapist in a year through this process.
The “issue” of each stage
Each rang on the ladder requires you to conquer the “issue” of the stage… so doing projects this way is a transformational way… the way of the strait and narrow, where you conquer the “issue” that has been keeping you off the path.
Remember what T. Harv Eker said (I paraphrase): It is not the millions of dollars that is the result, it is who you needed to become to be able to make, and have millions of dollars.
The biggest issue seems to be speaking. Speaking in a way that the project becomes alive, infectious, and start living a life independent of you.
Speaking in a way that is an action… speaking stuff into reality. Communication.
The best way to do these projects, these stages is with people who will support you in conquering the issue. Most coaches, alas, are like drill sergeants, push push push. But to conquer the “issue” you need someone who is conscious of the issue, who is more interested in solving the issue, inside an empowering context, than some result you promised that would make THEM look good.
This is one of the reasons parents make lousy coaches to their children: they want to look good themselves, at the expense of the child.
A project can be small, and a project can be big, but a project that is worth practicing on is bigger than what you need, what you want, what you should… It goes beyond you.
And to create the bigger thing is the job of the context.
Anything, any activity, any project, that is just about you will leave you unfulfilled.
What something is about, is created in language. We call it context.
Conceptual language, language that creates, is the difference between animals and humans, failures and successes, losers and winners.
Learning to use your word to create context should be your primary goal, if you would like to live a fulfilled life. This is done in communication.
You can be outwardly successful without a context big enough to alter your emotional relationship to what you are doing. Some really successful people, at a certain point, start becoming a philanthropist. I bet you know about a few. That is a dead giveaway that their working years, their life, their business, has been all about themselves, that their context was tiny, not enough for them to feel good about themselves. (Bill Gates comes to mind first…)
It is possible to contribute to all of humanity without ever making a donation, spouting “giving back”, or being charitable. This is all in the context, because context is decisive.
Context is decisive? of what?
Decisive of your experience of life. Decisive whether you’ll do what you said you’d do or not.
Without inventing a context you are left with the default context which is “having to, needing to, wanting to, and should”
The context of your todo list is the default context. The world lives in the default context. But you don’t have to…
What you have to, is protect the context when you are done inventing it. Protect it from the noise in the world, from other people, even from your ordinary self.
And keep on speaking it… Keep on creating it… Keep it alive…
Some 17 years ago I hired a business coach. It was very expensive, $270 a session. And he wanted to “deliver” and push me to make more money, make more sales.
He was stunned when I told him that I need him to help me keep the conversation, the context alive, and inspiring to me. It resulted in me having the best 11 years of my life, doing a business I loved.
That is what I am talking about.
PS: Some website links on “context is decisive”
PPS: in the Discussion Forum, once you have an idea of what you want to accomplish, this type of coaching will be available. .. if you qualify.
By the way, my “prayer” has been, for the past many years, to have clients who are up to something… It’s as rare as a big diamond… very rare.