Photo by Dan Greenwald – Red Spotted Newt – June 2020 – Eastern PA
“What are you doing these days?”
Since I live in NYC, I’m assuming the curiosity behind this FAQ vanilla question is about earning, not about my nature photos, the 3-mile hiking trail I just blazed through the woods, or my soul-driven purpose.
No worries. I’m game with letting people know that from my 30,000 ft. view – I’m in the business of helping people thrive. This started as an NYC educator trained in curriculum design, and I currently do this by supporting people and companies hitting newly defined targets using a framework called ThirtyTenZero. This framework is designed to tap one’s inner power, refine your current target, and customize a measurable game plan for how to hit it. It’s also a useful structure in outlining any concept or challenge.
However, zooming in to 10,000 ft. and looking under the hood, what I’m really doing these days is simply following my guiding principles.
Inspired by Ray Dalio, these three guiding principles maximize my time, sharpen my daily actions and continue to shape ThirtyTenZero.
Time is the greatest commodity
Seek authenticity not approval
Fear equals opportunity
#1 – Time is the greatest commodity
While this seems obvious, it’s not. Intellectually we understand we have a finite amount of time in this world, but it’s only emotionally internalized when we’re dealt a dose of “life is really short.” Like if you lost four people on your favorites list over four years, with two of them being your parents. Or is you suffered an illness that you weren’t sure of the outcome. Regardless of socioeconomic reality, time is a human’s greatest commodity.
Zooming down all the way to 0 ft., my goal is to be a Master of My Time. I do this by relying on my ThiryTenZero (TTZ) by:
Reviewing my weekly schedule every Sunday eve
Starting each day by prioritizing my TTZ Daily -ToDo’s
Ending my day by reviewing what I have lined up for tomorrow
Touching my CRM multiple times a week
I measure my key daily actions, giving me a weekly score as to how well I’m doing in achieving my overall life-target. Being a Master of Time (actions in red) is one of four key areas I focus my energy on.
The way I apply this guiding principle to growing ThirtyTenZero is to continuously minimize friction and make the user experience clearer and easier. Can’t waste your time or mine.
#2 – Seek Authenticity Not Approval
This means applying a greater self-awareness to the source of my actions. Recognizing the self-serving biases my mind creates in the form of stories designed to keep me “safe.” Or when my delicate ego needs to feel; relevant and goes looking for “likes.”
Our world is changing at an exponentially rapid pace. Like you, I’m a cog fueling our attention economy. I’m inundated with focus-sucking media, emails, and posts that add minimal or no value. Marketing experts, please don’t tell me the “only way” to sell is by carpet-bombing my target with click-funnel messages pushing mindsets of fear and scarcity. I’m open to learning about people and companies doing great things, but please sow your seed through lasting value even if I don’t purchase. Some great examples of this are Andrew Barry and how he markets Curious Lion and also The Mission Daily.
One of my 12 favorite problems I put together for this writing program called WriteOfPasage was “ How do I tell my authentic story of growing ThirtyTenZero (TTZ) in order to help grow TTZ without being a part of the digital pollution and being overly “salesy”? I’m banking on my guiding principle #2 to help me navigate this challenge.
I have a bank of content to share. I held back because I questioned the value I was offering. With honesty, I know they’re solid, but the stories of fear are what stopped me from pushing the “post” button.
#3 – Fear Equals Opportunity
If we’re not growing we’re dying. As a human or a business. The immedaite way to fuel change is to recognize our fears and lean-in instead of running away. Growing up with a stutter helped teach me this. You either take the time to say what you want or you don’t and avoid shame.
The human mind has one goal, which is to keep us alive. It does so in three ways.
1. Homeostasis -making sure our body temperature and fluids are where we need them to be.
2. Acts as a file cabinet for our memories and experiences.
3. Creates stories that drive our actions to keep us safe. The flip side of the word “safety” is “fear.” Our mind creates stories that tell us what we should be fearful of. Classic example: don’t go outside at night because you might meet this hungry bear looking for the bird feeders.
This is one three bears that would come visit during Spring2020 quarantine adventure.
What’s confusing for us humans is that the stories of fear leading to our survival are what also limit our growth.
Example: don’t post this and risk the shame of people thinking you’re a self-serving schmo or whatever else it might be.
Practically – I measure facing my fears monthly with a concept called the “Courage Muscle.” This idea was hatched when I started presenting to groups of fellow stutterers. I explain how this is our most important muscle. It grows by recognizing our fear and intentionally leaning into it with action. Each action builds another layer of courage muscle “fibers.” The larger the muscle, the more your able to accomplish. The younger you learn this, the greater your life-impact.
In my ThirtyTenZero, I keep track of each time I lean into a noticeable fear and I record the action I took (see visual above in blue). Months, where I have four or more courage-muscle actions, the data shows my overall life productivity increases. The correlation is obvious.
I’m a dreamer and a romantic idealist who’s allergic to settling. I’m most comfortable existing up at 30,000 feet thinking about the big picture, spotting trends, or hatching visions. When I’m engaged in helping people thrive the excitement in my voice shifts and my physiology change.
If you’re really curious about “what am I doing these days”, simply ask me about my guiding principles.