The Success Framework is a framework built around characteristics and habits of the most successful people in the world, as well as a lot of things that I have learned myself over the past 15 years or so that I’ve been studying and running my own group of successful businesses.
This framework is about giving you an actionable roadmap to predictable success.
The key here is that success is predictable. Anyone can succeed, but you need to know how to play your cards. I’ve found that business success and success in life in general follow a fairly simple framework, which is what we’ll be discussing here today.
Success is predictable, and success leaves clues.
I have a unique vantage point here because over the past decade, over 100,000 students have been through our online training programs, and I’ve helped hundreds of people on a one-on-one basis. This has given me a unique look at not just the result that people get but the way they approach things, their insights, and their habits.
People say that success leaves clues, but failure also leaves clues. I’ve seen these success clues and these failure clues over and over and over again. People are often, in many cases, in most cases, their own worst enemy… without even knowing it.
Most people only have bits and pieces of a success framework that I’ll dive into here today, which is why most people have mediocre success (at best). The elements of the success framework are what separate successful people to those who aren’t.
There’s some good news here for you: anyone can achieve huge business success, and with that, enormous wealth – multi-millionaire status.
Often, you’ll hear me using the word “millionaire” throughout this post, and that’s interchangeable with “success”. We’re talking about business success here, and money is often a great measure for that.
If you think the odds are stacked against you, then know this: your background does not matter.
Success isn’t some dark art or some cryptic code, it comes from a tried and tested framework, the ingredients are in plain sight, and they’re more accessible to everyone now than ever before.
That’s something to be excited and optimistic about.
I come from a middle-class background. I was born and raised in New Zealand, I grew up on a sheep and beef farm. My family was very much a middle-class family: my father was a farmer and my mom was a teacher, my childhood was a text-book middle-class lifestyle.
I had zero exposure to massive business success or “the millionaire mind”.
There were no millionaires in family nor in the town that I grew up in. There were no fancy cars, certainly no fancy yachts – I come from a working-class family and when I was growing up I had no business mentors.
I had plenty of family values though, and these are just as important as any of the business insights that I have picked up over the years. My parents both have a lot of grit, determination, and focus, and they certainly passed that on to me.
Values like grit, determination, and focus are certainly key parts of the framework – but they are only one part of the framework. If you don’t have these habits as well as all of the characteristics we’re about to discuss working for you, then it’s very, very hard to get anything other than average results.
Society trains us to get a regular day job, and to get more or less average results. That’s why 99% of people are in that bell curve of averageness – some doing a little bit better than others, some not so well. But about 1% of people do extremely well, and they are the people that embrace the different parts of the framework we’re about to discuss.
This presentation is not just for making money online, it’s a framework for success, and can be applied to almost anything you want to excel at in life.
Who am I to be talking about this?
I’m not a self-help guru, I’m not a best-selling author, but I am friends with at least 50 self-made multi-millionaires. I’ve personally built several businesses that earn me millions of dollars every single year, in fact, our businesses generate millions of dollars every single month. I’m very analytical, and I’ve actively studied success for the past 20 years.
The one big thing that I’ve learned is that anyone can succeed, and that success is predictable. It’s time for you to cash in on your potential, it’s time to unlock The Success Framework.
The Success Framework
The success framework is a set of traits and characteristics, but more useful than the traits and characteristics is the framework that you can follow and apply to any project in life. The characteristics and traits fall into the framework, here’s what it looks like:
This is the success framework.
It has three parts to it: a destination, a game plan, and execution.
The success that you get is a multiplication of these three components, along with an overarching set of beliefs, which I call the Core. These are the beliefs and habits that impact people in all areas of life.
As you work through The Success Framework, the objective is to get the three parts in the puzzle working for you while simultaneously building an overarching set of beliefs that foster success and prosperity.
If you can internalize these habits and beliefs, you’re going to make success virtually inevitable.
PART 1: DECIDE ON YOUR DESTINATION
This is really important.
Your destination is made up of your vision and your goals. Vision and goals are different, but both complement one another.
A vision is a vivid picture in your mind of what you want your future to look like.
A vision is important because to have any chance of achieving what you want in life, you need to be able to imagine it first. You don’t need to know how to get to the finish line, you only need the first few steps.
As Walt Disney said, “If you can dream it, you can do it.” If you can’t imagine it happening, then there’s zero chance that it’ll happen (other than by dumb luck). Your mind absolutely limits you to what you can or can’t achieve in life, so make a decision right now to use it to your advantage.
A vision should be all encompassing and cover all of the areas of your life that you care about.
For example, I am a parent, a husband, a friend, a business owner, a health and fitness enthusiast, and investor, etc. I have a vision of what I aspire to achieve for each of these roles.
Once you understand what your roles are, you can start planning out how to improve in those different areas in your life.
So what next?
The Success Framework journey starts with being aware.
Awareness is about understanding what’s possible. You can’t come up with your best vision if you don’t know what’s possible. Let me give you some examples of things that we know to be possible:
- Flying machines (aircrafts)
- Running a 4-minute mile
- Space travel
- Climbing Mount Everest
- Swimming the English Channel
- Jumping from stratosphere to earth
- Scaling ‘el Capitan’ in Yosemite without ropes
- Earning millions from a laptop
These things are all possible, other people have done them. That’s not to say that you’ll be able to do these things… most people will never be fit enough to swim the English Channel or gifted enough to run a 4 minute mile, but these things ARE possible, and part of being aware is realising this.
What’s possible with an online business?
- Building a dropship eCommerce business and making $1,000,000/year
- Earning $1,000,000/year from an affiliate marketing business
- Selling services (SEM, consulting, etc.) to earn $1,000,000/year
- Creating your own products to earn $1,000,000/year
- Developing and selling software (SAAS) to earn $1,000,000/year
- Making $1,000,000/year selling your own branded physical products
I know every single one of these to be true because I personally do every single one of these things.
An important difference that these achievements have compared to the first group I presented are that these online business achievements do NOT require any special physical attributes. You can be overweight, without any special qualifications or education, or any special experience at all.
So add these to your awareness. They might not seem realistic to you right now, but they absolutely can be.
Building your Vision in 3 Simple Steps
A vision is a clear picture in your mind of what you want to achieve. The more specific and vivid your vision is, the better.
Let’s work through an example related to an online business.
First, let’s get some clarity around how much money you’ll be making and how you’ll be making it according to your dream vision.
Let’s start with this question:
How much money will you be making, and how will you be making it?
The ‘answer’ might be something like this:
“$10,000 per week selling other people’s products as an affiliate.”
That’s a good start, but it’s not vivid enough, we need more details, so let’s flesh this out a little more with another question:
Physically and geographically, how and where will you be running your business?
You can get creative here, let your mind run wild, here’s an example:
“On my laptop sitting on the balcony of my ski chalet in the French Alps.”
There’s no limit to what you can put here. It may sound unrealistic to you right now, but it doesn’t matter because we’re just building your vision.
Let’s get even more detailed around how having achieved your vision makes you feel and why you feel that way…
How will the success of your business make you feel and why?
“Happy and fulfilled, because I have the comfort I’ve always dreamed of and the ability to provide for my family in the way I want to.”
Combine these three things, think about them in present tense like they are a reality today, and you’ve got your vision. In this example it’d look something like this:
“I’m earning $10,000 per week selling other people’s products as an affiliate. I run my business on my laptop sitting on the balcony of my ski chalet in the French Alps. My business and lifestyle make me feel happy and fulfilled, because I have the comfort I’ve always dreamed of and the ability to provide for my family in the way I want to.”
It’s easy to feel self-conscious about this kind of exercise if you’ve never done it before, but remember, this is something that private, and the idea is to get you thinking bigger, to give you something powerful to work towards.
The ‘Destination Toolbox’
Each of the four parts of The Success Framework (Destination, Gameplan, Execution, Core) contain important principles as well as a toolbox to help you incorporate the principles into your life.
The first part of our framework is ‘Destination’, and in the Destination toolbox we have three useful tools:
- Vision board
- Test Drives
- SMART Goals
Let’s take a look at each. Firstly, here’s a vision board that I made in 2007:
This was before my business had seen any real success. In fact, I was drowning in student debt and didn’t have any money to talk of.
I created this dream board, and for me at the time, this was really pushing the barriers.
Could I own a Porsche? Am I going to Tahiti? Will I ever be able to visit the Great Wall of China? Or go on luxury cruises? Own nice homes?
To say I was going outside of my comfort zone when I created this vision board would be an understatement, but I did it anyway. I set this as my desktop background and looked at it every day, apart from that I didn’t do anything else with it.
If you see your Vision Board often enough, it can work its way into your subconscious… fast forward a decade and I’ve achieved everything on my Vision Board… of course, the Vision has changed a lot, because everything on my 2007 Vision Board has been achieved, my 2007 Vision Board is just regular life for me now.
A Vision Board is something you can use to make the visualization process easier. I know that a lot of people give things like creating a vision a bad rap, but we’re not doing anything eerie fairy here. All we’re doing is training the mind to think bigger.
The second tool I’ll introduce you to is what I call Test Drives.
In 2006, I came to Buenos Aires, Argentina, which is where I live most of the time nowadays. When I arrived to Buenos Aires I didn’t have any money and didn’t know anything about the power of Visualization. What I did enjoy doing though was dreaming of what I’d like my life to look like one day in the future… without knowing it, I actually was using a powerful visualization technique.
I vividly remember dreaming about how I’d like to live in one of the luxury apartment buildings in Buenos Aires.
I had time on my hands, so I would go and check out luxury properties on the market. I didn’t have any money (I didn’t tell the Real Estate Agents that!), but I would go out and have a look at these apartments, and they were amazing.
With no money, I didn’t have much hope of actually ever having one of them, but it planted a seed in my mind of what’s possible. It made me able to see what these luxury apartments looked like, and gave me a taste of what it’d be like to live in one.
A lot of people do the same thing with cars. They go and test drive their dream car, or even just sit in it, it helps build a vivid picture of what it’d be like to own one, and allows the mind to see it as a reality.
What we’re starting to do here is Think. To imagine.
That’s part of the vision.
Then, once you know what you want in your life, you can start to be the person that does that kind of thing.
That means you will do what needs to be done, and eventually you’ll put yourself in a position to have it.
The flow here is to first Think (imagine), then Be (behave), then Do (execute) and finally you Have what you originally aspired to have.
Fifteen years after I first arrived in Buenos Aires, I now have a large international property portfolio, and I live in my dream apartment (one of the highest-end apartments in Buenos Aires). I’m married with two amazing kids, and I’ve traveled to over 50 countries. I’ve been on luxury cruises and I can buy any car I want. I’ve got investments well into 8 figures, and I own a group of six multi-million-dollar businesses.
But none of this would have been possible if I hadn’t been able to first imagine it.
“Vision without execution is delusion.”
Thomas Edison said that, and it’s 100% true.
You can’t just manifest something to appear in your life. You can’t just think about it and then the universe will just randomly give it to you. You need to execute; but even execution alone isn’t enough. You need to do build a viable game plan as well.
Goals are another tool in the Destination toolbox.
Goals are your milestone markers on your journey towards your vision.
The best way to think about goals when setting them is to use the SMART acronym:
If your Vision is:
“I earn $10,000 per week selling other people’s products as an affiliate. I do this from my laptop sitting on the balcony of my ski chalet in the French Alps. I feel happy and fulfilled, because I have the comfort I’ve always dreamed of and the ability to provide for my family in the way I want to.”
Your SMART goal might be:
“Earn $10,000 per week from affiliate marketing business before the 1st of June.”
The date depends on you, but this is an example of a SMART goal – it is specific and measurable. It’s attainable, and it’s realistic, and it’s got a time attached to it.
I urge you to put your goals down on paper.
Something that I started doing a long time ago was to create one really strong goal and vision, then I’ll write it down a small piece of paper and I’ll put it in my wallet and carry it around with me.
Even if I don’t read it that often, I know it’s there.
Every time I open my wallet, I see this little piece of paper and it triggers my mind that I’ve got that goal. It starts to bring the subconscious into play. This is something you can do as well.
Just like each step in the framework, the Destination step has a set of principles that help form a key part of the system.
Destination Principle #1: Abundance VS Scarcity
This is a big one, and so many people struggle with this. Every single self-made millionaire that I know thinks in terms of abundance and not in terms of scarcity or frugality. There’s an abundance of opportunities out there and there is plenty of money to go around.
As you start a business or embark on any project in life, don’t let yourself fall into the trap of being afraid of competition.
When you approach a project from a position of fear, you’re limiting yourself to this scarcity mindset.
Frugal thinking is a handbrake not just on your bank balance but on success in general. You can’t get ahead by squirreling away every last penny or resource you have. It’s just not scalable. Saving is not scalable.
It’s taken me a long time to be able to embrace the abundance mindset. Throughout my middleclass upbringing, I was taught to be very careful with money and saw this first hand as I grew up.
When I realized that frugal thinking was a handbrake on my results, and when I started to embrace abundance, my shackles were released and quickly saw tangible results in lots of areas of my life.
Destination Principle #2: Steve’s Soccer Strategy
My business partner, Steven Clayton, has effectively used what we now refer to as ‘Steve’s Soccer Strategy’ to put himself and our business in a position to win time and time again, and it works.
Using a soccer/football analogy here, the approach is the get the ball in a position where you have the chance of scoring a goal as often as you can.
In business, this might mean getting in front of the right people regularly, or to get support from the right coaches and mentors.
Putting yourself in a position to score regularly doesn’t mean that you will indeed score every time, but it means you will at least have more chances to succeed. And eventually, with enough opportunities, the ‘goal’ becomes inevitable.
This simple strategy has served us well in our businesses and even my personal life.
For example, we opened an office in China in 2014, it was quite a leap of faith at the time, but our ‘on-the-ground’ presence in China has opened up a whole raft of opportunities for us and in fact become a business in its own right. This wouldn’t have been possible if we hadn’t first put ourselves in a position to win in the first place.
Building strategic partnerships and lucrative relationships have been deliberate decisions we’ve made over the past 10+ years and they’ve helped us immensely.
As your forge forwards, remember Steve’s Soccer Strategy, it’ll help you win more often in life.
Destination Principle #3: Think Bigger
Think big. These two words have become somewhat of a cliché but in my experience they’re absolutely vital, you can’t have big success if you can’t first imagine it.
This principle applies to all areas of life. As we’ve already discussed, before you can have whatever it is that you want, you need to be able to imagine it first.
In 2006 I bought my first property, a tiny 28-square meter (approximately 300 square feet) apartment in the heart of Buenos Aires. It cost me $32,000.
The apartment was an absolute dump the day I bought it. I ripped it right back to the structural bricks and built it up again. The point is, because I was actively looking for ways to get on the property ladder, I somehow found a way to make it happen.
The $32,000 was a loan (I didn’t have cash of my own!), and to be able to find a property that I could afford with that loan and start was my first small step at the property ladder.
Property #1 gave me experience and confidence. Two years later, I bought my first property in New Zealand leveraging a mortgage, and it was another small win.
In 2010, I read a book called “Think Bigger” (by Michael Hill, a self-made millionaire from New Zealand), and it inspired me to get serious about my property investment. I set the goal of owning 20 properties outright by 2020 (this would give me a property portfolio worth over $4,000,000).
I achieved it by 2017.
Fast forward a few more years and I have an international property portfolio worth well over $10,000,000 with luxury properties in Manhattan, Buenos Aires, and New Zealand.
The point is, most people limit themselves because they don’t think big enough.
What would it look like if you multiplied your goal by a factor of 10? Or instead of thinking of what you can achieve in 12 months, what if you thought about what you could achieve in 12 years… what would that look like?
Vision and goals are inherently connected, so it’s important to think these things through together to make sure they’re cohesive with one another.
Destination Principle #4: Directional Focus
The media have led us to believe in overnight success… “the guy that built a $10MM business on one little idea in a few short months” – that almost NEVER happens, and the chance of it happening to you is almost zero.
You’re more likely to win the lottery than to have a major overnight success.
Success and prosperity in any project take time. It’s like a masterpiece that you work away at little by little, piece by piece, and then one day, unsurprisingly, you’re at where you want to be.
This is directional focus.
It’s key that you have directional focus because without it, it’s easy to get sucked off course and end up lost in the middle of nowhere, a place you do NOT want to be.
Unless you have a destination decided upon, you will have virtually no chance of getting where you want to be.
PART #2: BUILD YOUR GAME PLAN.
We’ll now dive into step 2 of the Success Framework, the Game Plan.
Here’s a recap of the different stages of the framework:
Step 1, Destination, gives you clarity about where you’re headed, and Step 2, Game Plan, gives you a vehicle to get to your destination.
But before embarking on the Game Plan stage of the framework, it’s VITAL that you have complete clarity of what your goals are. Once you know your goals, you can then tie them back to your daily actions.
As you progress with building your Game Plan, you should regularly sanity check if your plan is going to get you to your goals. If not, then you either need a new plan that WILL get you to your destination, or perhaps you need to rethink your Destination, either is fine.
To use another sports analogy, let’s say you’ve set yourself a goal of competing in the Hawaii Ironman (Kona). Your Destination (Step 1) is to Compete. Your Game Plan (Step 2) is everything that happens in the lead up to the competition… this includes training, other competitions, qualification, and so on. The Execution (step 3 in the Success Framework) is game-day, when you’re actually competing in the event.
People tend to do an okay job of the planning and initial game plan stages (step 1 and 2), but most people get stuck in one of these stages and don’t move on to Execution.
In this section (Build Your Game Plan) I’ll give you a set of proven tools and principles you can use to make sure you NAIL your Game Plan and set yourself up for success when we come to Execution shortly.
Game Plan Toolbox
There are four different things I recommend you include as part of your Game Plan toolbox. These are going to make it easier for you to succeed with your business and anything in life.
- Find a recipe
- Get a mentor
- Flesh out your critical path
- Understand the ‘math of money’ (sanity check).
The first one is to find a recipe.
It’s unlikely you’re the very first person to try to achieve whatever your goal is. If people have come before you and seen success, have any of them published their recipe or blueprint or method? Or do they offer any kind of coaching? If they have, FIND IT and USE IT, it’ll save you time, money and frustration.
Whatever you do, do not proceed using trial and error.
The trial and error approach is normally a massive and very costly mistake. Don’t go down that rabbit hole; instead, find a proven recipe and follow it.
Continuing on with the recipe analogy here, let’s say you wanted to bake a cake, and you were given all the ingredients but no recipe, and you have no experience. You could try mixing the ingredients, putting them in a baking tray and in the oven for different amounts of time and in different ways. You could try to bake that chocolate cake a thousand times, and it might be horrible every single time. But if you’ve got a proven chocolate cake recipe and you’ve got the ingredients and the tools you need, then you should expect to do a pretty darn good job the very first time you use the recipe.
The same principle is true in business and life, yet many people seem oblivious to it!
You need to find a proven recipe and use that, it’s one of the fastest and most certain paths to success.
Next, get a mentor.
The most successful people in all areas of life all have mentors.
- Michael Jordan had mentors.
- Zuckerberg had Steve Jobs for a mentor.
- Ellen DeGeneres has Oprah Winfrey as her mentor.
- Bill Gates has openly spoken about Warren Buffet being one of his most important mentors (in addition to being a friend), and being a vital cog in helping him through the most challenging parts of building Microsoft.
Everyone who is super successful has a mentor. So, what can you take from that? Well, maybe you should get one as well.
Can you befriend a personal mentor? Can you hire a mentor?
The idea of a mentor helping you get better results is something that can apply to all areas of life, as a personal example, I do a lot of swimming, so I hire a swim coach. My coach is someone who participates in the Iron Man world championship and is one of the top Ironman competitors in Argentina. Obviously having his guidance makes me a lot better swimmer.
In business, I hire the best advisors I can, because I know their knowledge will pay off in my results every time.
You can get a mentor in every part of life, just be careful about who you choose. If possible, choose someone who has already done what you want to do, nothing beats learning from first-hand experience.
If you can’t find a personal mentor, what’s the next best thing?
Can you invest in some kind of a group coaching or training program where perhaps you don’t have one-on-one personal access to a mentor, but you still have someone that can guide you?
Try to think outside of the box here: if you can’t get a mentor to help you on a one-on-one basis for whatever reason, then maybe there’s another way to do it. Look online for solutions. If other people have already achieved what you want to achieve, then find them and find out how they can pass on their insights to you.
The next piece in the Game Plan toolbox is the Critical Path.
What you do today needs to be aligned with your long-term objectives.
The way that I look at this is to set myself up with a long-term goal that maps back to shorter term micro-goals. My long-term goals are typically in the 10-15 year range, and these come from my vision.
Then, I have a 12-month goal, which is also perfectly aligned and congruent with my 10-15 year goal.
I then have a 3-month goal, a quarterly goal. Then I have my weekly tasks.
The image here of the dominoes visually shows how this works.
The last domino represents the Someday Goal, and the very first domino is ‘Right Now’. The objective is to set the dominoes off on their path, with the key being to have all goals aligned. In other words, to make sure that the ‘Right Now’ goal is congruent with the longer term goals. This is exactly how I do my planning.
I’ve been using this planning system for about a decade now and I find it works very well. You can do this however you want, you need to find a system that works for you and then use that, just make sure you’re linking your long-term goals with your short term goals.
Your long-term goal should be closely linked to your vision, while your 12-month goal is in alignment with your long-term goal. Your 3-month objective should then be a milestone to reaching your one-year goal, and your weekly tasks are tasks that need to be done to meet your 3-month goal.
The system that I use is based on the book, The 12 Week Year by Brian P. Moran.
The final thing we have in our Game Plan toolbox is the Math of Money.
A lot of people don’t understand how this works, but it’s very simple.
The ‘Math of Money’ revolves around the Dollar Equation, shown above. This is the universal rule for your business income.
It works like this: you’re going to have a certain number of leads or visitors that are exposed to your business offer, and a certain number of people are going to take action on what you’re offering, this is your conversion rate. Normally a conversion can be measured in terms of dollars, and this is where you get your ‘Dollars per Customer’ from.
Going one step further here, sometimes customers will make multiple transactions (repeat orders), this relates to the “average number of transactions” part of the equation.
As an example, let’s say you set up a lemonade stand on the corner of your street. You’re getting 100 people passing by your lemonade stand every single day. This is your number of leads. If you’re getting 5% of those 100 people buying from you, then that’s a 5% conversion rate. If you’re making $10 per customer, and the average number of transactions per customer is 1, you can then multiply these things together.
100 leads x 5% x $10 x 1 = $50 per day
Doubling two of the factors quadruples the revenue, and doubling all four factors multiplies the revenue by 16x.
Plug your business plan numbers into this. If you’re focusing on affiliate marketing, take a guess at what your numbers might be and see how the formula unfolds. Take how many leads you think you might get, have a guess at your conversion rate, and see what comes out of it.
Let’s say you have 1,000 visitors per week coming to your website, multiple that by a 2% conversion rate, multiply that by $50 affiliate commission per sale, and multiply that by each customer buying 1 time. That’s $1,000.
If you double the number of visitors and the conversion rate, that’s $4,000.
This is the Math of Money.
If you have a goal that sees you at $10,000 profit per week, then is that goal realistic with the business plan that you’re using to go after it? Or do you need to change things up a little bit? This is just a simple sanity check, but it’s an important one.
Game Plan Principles
The principles that fall under the Game Plan are the following:
Game Plan Principle #1: Prioritize
You need to be ruthless in prioritizing. If something isn’t mission critical, don’t do it. You need to get used to saying no more often than you say yes. Prioritize the things that matters and eliminate those that doesn’t.
Game Plan Principle #2: Impact Theory
Elon Musk said that you get paid in direct proportion to the difficulty of the problems you solve. For business success your options (generally speaking) are to solve a single (or a few) big problems or to solve a smaller problem for a lot of people.
My question to you is can you impact enough people or solve a big enough problem? If not, then you need to re-think your plan.
Game Plan Principle #3: Simplification
I ask myself on a daily basis, “What would this look like in its simplest form?” If I had to do something as quickly and as simply as possible, what would that look like?
People always overcomplicate things, it’s human nature but it’s not conducive to massive success.
Joe Vitale once said that “money likes speed”, and I’ve found this to be very true. You need to find a way to get more done than what most people do, and simplification is part of this. Aim for good enough – not perfect.
PART 3: EXECUTION.
Execution is where the magic happens. The problem however is that if people manage to get through the first two parts of the Success Framework, they almost always fall off somewhere during the Execution.
Think of Execution as your in-game performance. Without strong execution, you won’t reach your potential (and that’ll mean certain failure to most people). Everything that we’ve covered so far through the Destination and Game Plan sections will be in vain if you’re not executing, so it’s VITAL that you hit your straps when it comes to Execution.
But just like working through planning your Destination and Game Plan is pointless without Execution, jumping directly into Execution without first working on your Destination and Game Plan is also a recipe for failure…
The other thing to consider is that if you Execute, you will always get some outcome, but a lack of Destination and Game Plan may mean the outcome isn’t what you really want.
You need an efficient and effective Execution plan.
Your Game Plan will determine your Execution. Execution is driven by everything that happens in your weekly tasks. Nailing all the small daily tasks might seem trivial, but in the long-term they are absolutely mission critical.
These are tiny little tasks that are going to bring a huge impact to your outcomes.
Rituals are the key to execution. These are things like the following:
- How do you start your day?
- What’s the first thing you do when you turn on the computer?
- How do you ensure you’re operating with maximum focus and attention?
- How do you stay on track, and what do you do if you get pulled off track?
There are a lot of tools and principles that will determine how effective your execution is, let’s take a look at them.
The Execution tools we’ll discuss here are getting help, buffer blocks, KPI’s, to-do lists, pomodoros, and accountability.
First of all, nothing major is ever achieved without getting help. Pharaohs, emperors, top athletes – they all seek help.
There are two types of help you can get:
- Expertise (because you can’t be an expert at everything)
- Time (because if you’re working alone, you’re limited to 24 hours of work in a day).
Plugging Expertise and Time holes is why the most successful business owners focus on building teams and delegation, to the point where they’re able to get hundreds or thousands of hours worth of work done in a day.
Personally, I get 480 hours of work done every day – I have a fulltime team of 60 people who work 8 hours a day. That equates to 2,400 hours per week (based on a 5-day work week).
If you had 2,400 hours a week, do you think you could build a business faster? Of course!
You might be thinking… “it’s easy for you Aidan, you have a team of 60 people!”
That’s true, but I started on my own as a solopreneur, then I hired one person for five hours a week. Then little by little, as my business grew, I started ramping up and getting more and more work done by other people. When I started getting help, that’s when my business started to explode.
A business partner is a great option which can often fulfill both types of help, Expertise and Time. Having a business partner is an easy way to get more done and to tap into many other benefits as well.
Another way to get more done is to systematize everything, basically to be more efficient.
Ask yourself, what can you do to get more help so that you can reach your destination more easily? Everyone has things they can do, what can you do?
The next tool in our toolbox here is buffer blocks. Buffer Blocks can help you prepare for the unpredictable. Buffer Blocks will protect you from being pulled off course by the inevitable miscellaneous tasks that crop up.
What is a Buffer Block and how can you use one?
A Buffer Block is a block of time that you set aside to deal with unforeseen tasks that need to be attended to.
If you’ve got 8 hours of work time available in a day, a good way to use Buffer Blocks is to dedicate 1 hour (in two 30-minute blocks) to handle the unforeseen but necessary tasks. I set aside 30 minutes in the morning, and another 30 minutes in the afternoon.
My buffer blocks are built into my agenda and these are where I deal with emails and phone calls and other unexpected tasks.
You can scale the time you set aside for Buffer Blocks in relation to how much time you have available each day. For example, if you can only work on your business (or any project) for 2 hours each day, start with a single 15-minute buffer block and see how that works for you.
The next tool in our Execution Toolbox is KPIs (key performance indicators). KPIs give you your bearings and allow you to see whether or not you’re on track.
KPIs are a vital measurement tool, and measurement is a VITAL part of the Execution stage of the framework, because they’re like your scorecard.
If you don’t measure it, how will you gauge how you’re doing? And how will you be able to systematically improve?
What you can measure will vary from project to project.
As an example, for an affiliate website I would measure the likes of…
- Traffic (by source)
- Conversion rate (by source)
- Lifetime value of each customer
- Subscriber rate
These are the types of KPIs that would give you a clear idea of whether you’re on track or not with an affiliate website project, and the ability to measure performance changes.
The big takeaway here is that you need to measure your progress, otherwise you’ve got no way of knowing if you’re on track.
The next tool is your to-do list.
But not just any to-do list… your to-do list should be driven by your weekly task list.
Part of the planning is to drill down to weekly tasks, which are then aligned with your 3-month objectives (many people make the mistake of creating an ad-hoc to-do list each week, completely unaligned with longer term objectives).
I like to build out my plan in 3-month chunks. I sit down, knock out a big list of action items to get me to my 3-month objective.
It takes me a couple of hours to do this, but by the end of the planning session I’m able to say; “In week one, I’m going to do this. In week two, I’m going to do this,” and I actually write down 10-15 different tasks that I need to do every single week for 12 weeks over those 3 months.
From this exercise I establish a weekly to-do list, but it needs to be more granular than this. Once I’ve got a weekly to-do list, I break this out into daily objectives. I prepare for Tuesday on Monday evening, and so on. This is really important. It keeps you on track and saves time. It lets your subconscious start to digest what you’re going to be doing the next day before the next day arrives.
By mapping out what you need to do each day in advance (the tasks that get you to your strategic goal), when you sit down to get work done you can hit the ground running.
If what you’re doing is a creative task, then your subconscious would have already been working away at it in the background and you’ll find it easier to make breakthroughs.
My to-do lists normally revolve around 1-2 big objectives each day, and a number of mini-steps related to them.
At the end of each week, I like to perform a critical analysis of what I’ve achieved, then adjust the next week accordingly.
Another tool that gets results is the Pomodoro Technique.
The Pomodoro Technique is a great way to smash through procrastination.
The way it works is you identify your tasks for the day and break them into 25-minute segments. Next you set a 25-minute timer which will give you a deadline to deliver by, and then you get started on your first 25-minute block.
Once the timer starts, the idea is that you work in a very focused way for 25 minutes straight and complete whatever task you had assigned to those 25 minutes.
After your first 25 minute bock (round 1), take a 5-minute break then start again with round 2. After completing 4 rounds (2 hours in total), take a longer break of 20-30 minutes, and then start again.
The Pomodoro Technique is something that I use when I really need to give myself a kick and get something happening because I’m falling into the procrastination trap. This is a great way to blast out of procrastination, by giving yourself a deadline.
Work always expands to fill up the time you have available, The Pomodoro Technique is a great way to tackle this head on.
This is kind of in line with “what would this look like in its simplest form?” It forces you to deliver on something in 25 minutes.
The next thing in the toolbox is accountability.
If you’re not sticking to the plan and doing whatever is needed, then you won’t get the results you want.
An accountability partner can be enormously valuable (a business partner can fulfill the same function).
If you want an Accountability Partner but are unsure how to find one, consider simply asking a friend, getting a coach, or joining an online group. If it’s important to you, you’ll find one.
Don’t underestimate the power of an Accountability Partner. A lack of accountability will quickly derail any project.
Execution Principle #1: Deliberate Practice
The first of my Execution Principles is Deliberate Practice, something that is fundamentally different to just ‘Practice’.
The 10,000-hour rule made famous by Malcolm Gladwell is misunderstood and misused, because mind-numbing practice alone will not make you an expert at anything. 10,000 hours or 10,000 repetitions won’t make you an expert. Deliberate practice is what makes you better.
If you’re doing the same thing 10,000 times in a row without a focus on improvement, you’re not going to get much better. Conscious improvement comes from awareness.
And to be able to properly improve, you need to track your progress, this will allow you to self-critique and seek external feedback and constructive criticism.
When you are executing your plan, you don’t need to be perfect on the first day, what matters is that you get better and build on your experience. Keep learning and try to be a little better each time. In a very short period of time, your performance can radically improve and your results will reflect this.
Execution Principle #2: 1% Better = 37x Better
The effect of compounding improvements shows that if you get 1% better every day, you will get 37x better over the course of the year. This is compounding improvement.
This is yet another reason you need to be deliberate about what you do, another reason to measure, another reason to follow a proven recipe and another reason to have a mentor.
Micro-improvements stacked on top of one another can make a big difference, so adopt an ‘always improving’ mindset and work to get a little better every single day.
Execution Principle #3: Say NO
“The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.” – Warren Buffet
People don’t like to say no, in fact since babies we’ve been trained to say yes.
Every yes that doesn’t get you closer to your goal comes at the sacrifice of something that does. Get used to saying no more than you say yes.
Execution Principle #4: The Dip
Seth Godin has this book called ‘The Dip’ where he talks about a challenging phenomenon that appears in so many projects, it looks like this:
My advice for you here is to brace yourself and prepare for it.
If you’re building an affiliate marketing business or an eCommerce business from the ground up, you’ll almost certainly experience ‘The Dip’ in some form. What I’ve seen over and over again is that someone gets started on a new project in Week 1, and some results quickly come in. Maybe by Week 3 things are doing quite well, then by Week 4 or 5 things start to happen that you haven’t prepared for, or all of a sudden you’re not making sales anymore.
The same analogy is true for many fitness regimes, and repeated in almost all areas of life…
This point is the dip.
This is the most challenging part of any project. In my opinion, the key here is to prepare yourself and know that adversity will arrive at some point. Prepare for it and charge on, because that’s where the magic happens: when you come on the other side of the dip and you move into the success curve.
Execution Principle #5: Trial and Error = ERROR
Trial and error can be a great teacher, but no one said that it has to be you making the errors.
You could bake 1,000 cakes and they could all turn out to be horrible, or you could use a proven recipe and get it right the first time.
Trial and error will only slow you down and cost you big in terms of opportunity cost.
Trial and error may even defeat you entirely. Don’t use trial and error as a deliberate strategy, there is simply too much good information out there that you can tap into.
Execution Principle #6: Interested VS Committed
“There’s a difference between being interested and being committed. When you’re interested in doing something, you do it only when it’s convenient. When you’re committed to something, you accept no excuses; only results.” – Kenneth Blanchard
Your execution requires genuine commitment. Without it you’re likely wasting your time and may as well stop before you even begin.
No excuses. Commit to delivering and completing your tasks, by doing so you’ll set off a positive chain reaction.
Execution Principle #7: Eliminate the Unhealthy
Out of sight, out of mind.
There are plenty of things that are unhealthy in business, one fine example are distractions.
Anything that can drag you off course or stop you from getting closer to your goal is unhealthy for your business.
This expands to things not directly work-related. It’s anything that will impact your performance.
And your personal willpower can only get you so far. If you’re relying on willpower, it’s like you’re trying to continuously hold a spring down… eventually the spring will overpower you. The best approach to dealing with the unhealthy is to simply eliminate it.
Execution Principle #8: Get Used to Being Uncomfortable
“If you want something you’ve never had, you must be willing to do something you’ve never done.”
As you execute your plan, you will almost certainly need to do new things that will push your comfort zone, but that’s exactly where the magic happens.
Don’t avoid discomfort, instead use it to your advantage, seek it out (strategically!)
Humans are programmed to operate in a ‘safe zone’ (comfort zone). This is built into all of us, it forms part of our survival mechanisms and dates back hundreds of thousands of years. The problem is that it can trap you by stopping you advance when you need to.
Be aware that discomfort can often move you closer to where you want to get to, and embrace it.
Execution Principle #9: Outlook
One of the hardest things for people to control is a built-in outlook on life. You can alter it temporarily, but until your outlook has been rewired, it almost always reverts back to whatever you started with.
As you execute your plan, you need to make a conscious effort daily to control your outlook.
Are you seeing the glass as half full or half empty? It’s your choice.
Negativity breeds negativity. Positivity breeds positivity.
Positive or negative, however you are, there will be a flow on effect and it will impact the results during your execution.
When the going gets tough, when you hit the dip, make a conscious effort to be optimistic, not pessimistic.
This principle isn’t based on some ‘airy fairy’ guru preaching, it’s based on science. Optimism is tied to success and opportunity, the fact of the matter is that you’ll see far more opportunities to progress when you tackle each day with a positive outlook.
Execution Principle #10: Embrace Failure
Don’t look at success or failure as black or white.
Failure is your best teacher, and it’s inevitable that everyone will hit hurdles during execution. This is part of the journey.
It’s okay if some things don’t go to plan because you can always change course. The key is to use failure as a way to learn and push on anyway. Don’t dwell on failure or get down about it, simply regroup, adjust your course accordingly, and push on.
Execution Principle #11: Be the Millionaire
Here I’m using the word millionaire as a replacement for successful person (it’s a generalization).
As you execute your plan, one of the most important mindset ingredients of all is to be the person you want to become, that starts with the way you think and flows on to the way you behave.
Muhammad Ali walked around strutting his stuff believing that he was the greatest. He said it before he knew that it was a fact. He manifested it into his lifestyle. The same is true for countless other people who have achieved massive success in life.
As Napoleon Hill said, “When you begin to think like a millionaire, you’ll then start to behave like a millionaire. When you behave like a millionaire, you’ll being to do things that a millionaire does, and when you start to do those things, you’ll begin to get results.”
It’s a spin on the old corporate adage, “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.”
And if you’re not sure about how to approach a situation or how to be a millionaire, ask yourself: what would my mentor/coach do? Use this as a way to guide you as you learn.
PART 4: CORE
The core is an overarching set of beliefs, characteristics, and behavior traits that impact everything. These impact each of the three steps in the Success Framework and every part of life. Let’s take a brief look at each one:
Core Principle #1: Response Mechanism
What happens when things go wrong? Many people get completely derailed.
Accept that shit happens. Refocus your goals and push on tomorrow. Directional focus must guide you and you must adapt to and expect setbacks.
Core Principle #2: Off When You’re Off
Focus on what you’re doing. If you’re disconnecting, focus on disconnecting.
Downtime is important. Not enough downtime leads to burnout. And humans are not good at multi-tasking, you’ll find you perform better if you deliberately focus on just one thing at a time, even if that one thing is to disconnect.
Core Principle #3: Self-Belief
Your belief system will make or break you. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach, you need to use as many processes as possible to foster self-belief.
Self belief is a massive topic and not something I’ll attempt to get into here, it’s something you should continually work on over time.
Core Principle #4: Affirmations
Affirmations are not magic. You can’t say something as a fact and then it will magically appear in your life. That’s just silly.
An affirmation is a way to hack your subconscious mind, it is a statement of intent.
Your subconscious can’t differentiate between reality and imagination, fact and fiction. You can trick your subconscious into believing something to be true, which can help build self-belief which in turn will help you with many facets of the Success Framework.
I personally use Affirmations every day and find them incredibly helpful in training my subconscious mind, and rewiring my conscious mind about what I can and can’t achieve. I’ve seen the results of affirmation first hand.
Core Principle #5: YOLO vs Delayed Gratification
“Rome wasn’t built in a day, but they were laying bricks every single hour.”
The Romans were actively working towards building an empire.
Be willing to put in the grind and persistence without payoff initially for the reward of something far better later. This is in direct contrast to YOLO (“you only live once”) and other behaviors where instant gratification and “living for the moment” are favored.
I believe in enjoying myself, absolutely, and I know the most successful people in the world do as well, but I also know that the most successful people are willing to work hard over a period of time to see results.
Be prepared to get your hands dirty, do some hard work, and grind it out until success comes your way.
Core Principle #6: Play to Your Strengths
Know your strengths and harness them.
Don’t try to be a sprinter if you’re a marathon runner. Don’t try to be a property broker if you hate talking to people.
Playing to your strengths is about understanding yourself, and having the awareness to plug holes where necessary in order to get to where you want to go.
Core Principle #7: Sponge Mentality
Adopt a sponge mentality, learn as much as you can about whatever it is you’re working on.
Learn from everyone and invest in yourself.
How much have you invested in your learning?
Self-education is a huge opportunity, yet so few people really explore it (which actually makes it an even bigger opportunity). Leverage information to your advantage. High-quality information has never been so accessible.
Take kids as an example, they are learning machines – they’re sponges. Tell them one thing once and its retained. As we get older, we lose this amazing ability to some degree, but focused and conscious effort to learn and absorb lessons from the world around you is still possible, but you need to make an effort to make this happen.
Core Principle #8: Osmosis
Osmosis is the process of gradual or unconscious assimilation of ideas, knowledge, etc. This is the key to effortless learning.
After enough time with someone, the way they are rubs off on you. This is why having a mentor you spend time with and hiring the best people is so important. The osmosis way of learning is a massively untapped opportunity.
Core Principle #9: Success Circle
Your associations will impact your results.
You may have heard the saying that you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with, and for a variety of reasons this tends to be true.
The good news is that to a certain degree you can choose who you hang out with and who you work with. Choose carefully, it’ll impact who you become and the results you achieve!
Your success circle doesn’t need to be people who are with you physically, they can be virtual as well. Most of my own success circle is virtual, they’re people I am in regular contact with and have a positive impact on me personally.
Core Principle #10: Sleep
Getting enough sleep is mission-critical to your success! Get seven or more hours a day.
As a father of two young children, an owner of several different business and with a workforce of over 60 people, I know how challenging this can be. Sometimes it’ll seem impossible, but believe me, if you make sleep a priority, you’ll find a way to get in the amount you need.
Aside from the many health benefits, it has a huge impact on how well you can focus and on your creativity, as well as your ability to assess situations.
To learn more about how important your sleep is, check out ‘Why We Sleep, by Matthew Walker, PHD. I promise you that if you read that book (or listen to the audio version) you’ll never look at sleep the same way again.
Core Principle #11: Water
Your body is made up of about 60% water. It is scientifically proven that humans need to drink 2L of water a day, and less than this amount impairs performance.
If you are thirsty, it means you are dehydrated.
Insufficient water results in fatigue, reduced concentration, and a raft of other health issues.
If you’re like me, someone who struggles to drink enough water, consider using an app tracker (there are dozens of them available for smartphones) or simply fill up a 2L bottle of water each day, and make sure you drink it before going to bed!
Core Principle #12: Alcohol
In terms of alcohol consumption, the scientifically agreed upon magic number here is 14 units/week.
14 units is approximately 7 pints of beer, or 6 or 7 half-pints and a bottle of wine, or 1.5 bottles of wine. If you want to work this out for yourself, here’s the formula:
Units = ABV (alcohol by volume) x Volume (ml) / 1000.
As an example, a 500mL beer with a 5% alcohol level would work out as follows:
Units = 5 x 500 / 1000 = 2.5
Remember, this isn’t a goal, it’s the maximum amount of alcohol you can drink in a week before it begins to lead to impaired performance, and obviously, if you drink all 14 units at once you should expect some impaired performance!
Core Principle #13: Exercise
Almost every mega-successful person I know or have studied exercises. This is not a coincidence.
Personally, I aim for 4 workouts each week.
When it comes to exercise, it’s important to find what works for you – yoga, HIIT, running, weights, etc. The key is activity that gets your blood pumping, this is where the benefits begin to kick in.
Being physically fit will help your physical health, but there’s a big mental side benefit from working out as well.
Core Principle #14: Meditation
This is the secret weapon of many of the world’s most successful people, I think of meditation as the mental equivalent of a gym workout, it’s like a workout for my mind.
I find meditation helps me maintain balance, focus, and perspective.
I use the Headspace app for meditation. Calm is another good one. I do this for 10 minutes a day, 5 days a week.
Putting It All Together
This is a lot to consume and I know it can seem overwhelming, the key is to let the framework guide you.
You need to start by understanding where you want to get to, where is your Destination?
Chances are you’ll have multiple ‘Destinations’… what matters is that they are aligned with one another.
Once you know where you want to get to, plot a path to get there. This is where you build your Game Plan. No Game Plan is perfect, but any Game Plan is better than no Game Plan at all, and all Game Plan’s can be improved upon over time. Your Game Plan also needs to be agile, you need to be able to adjust course and change your plan along the way.
Once you’ve got a Game Plan, it’s time to Execute. This is where the rubber hits the road and you start making progress. Small steps each day can have a HUGE impact over a short period of time, the key is that the steps you take are in the right direction, and this is where a feedback loop is essential.
I hope you have taken a few ideas out of this, and I hope you embrace the ideas. Even if you just remember what the framework is (deciding on your destination, building your game plan, and executing), you’ll be in a good position to be able to move forward with purpose.
I wish you the best of luck with all of your endeavors!