Setting a goal almost always sets up a gut check—that moment when the small urgencies of life threaten your energy and progress. It’s a make or break turning point that may require sacrifice and doubling down on your determination. Those energy drains are why I found the book Essentialism so relevant. Author Greg McKeown does a beautiful job of delivering his subtitle, “The Disciplined Pursuit of Less.” It helps you map your journey without getting sidetracked, by shedding the distractions that keep you from being your best self.
The following are my personal seven top points from Essentialism to manage energy and find more fulfillment.
- Three core truths: I decide for myself. Only a few things really matter. I can do anything—but not everything.
- Priority is singular. This word came into our language back in the 1400s; five hundred years later, we started making it plural. By multiplying the idea of what is important, we divided our energy among the many instead of the few.
- Choose to empower yourself. This is each of ours until we don’t exercise it. When we fail to deliberately select to focus ourselves, other people choose for us, and that’s a detour from what is most meaningful.
- Tradeoffs are inescapable. This is much easier when the criteria is selective and explicit—this is the filter of essentialism. Trade a long laundry list of ‘accomplishments’ that don’t really matter for a career of select achievements that have real meaning and significance. You must decide what is most important, and this priority is a one-time decision that cuts through the noise and helps make a thousand future decisions.
- Eliminating the “trivial many.” Think about the last time you agreed to take on a time-consuming task. What did you have to give up (time and more) to fulfill this promise? By considering this cost, it is easier to say no in the future and focus on your priority.
- Go for the small wins. A small, simple win in an area that is essential will create great momentum. Progress breeds motivation. For me, a small win is staying physically active; it is a ritual that is meaningful and key to sustaining my energy. Remember that small, meaningful goals are their own reward, and lead to greater fulfillment than setting goals that may be too lofty or impossible.
- Remember WIN. “What’s important now?” Those three words can gently and clearly pull you back to the track you need to stay on.
Your Game Changer Takeaway
More isn’t better. It puts you on a hamster wheel of expectations. Nobody can do everything. Energy management is critical, and you can boost your energy by shifting your focus from getting more done to getting done what’s right. Spend some time brainstorming what better would look like. What trivial pursuits and time wasters can you shed to turn your focus to what’s right? This critical thinking can help you find more clarity and joy as well as energy. It takes guts to make tough decisions regarding priority, but it’s liberating. Finding your “essentialism” allows for the blossoming of your most meaningful relationships and activities. It’s the best alternative to the stress of an endless to-do list.
The Molly Fletcher Company inspires leaders, teams and organizations to kick-start growth. A keynote speaker and author, Molly draws on her decades of experiences working as a sports agent. Her company offers training and coaching programs to help leaders unleash their potential, including: Game Changer Negotiation Training, which teaches business people a framework for successful negotiating; The Energized Leader training, which teaches people how to manage their energy to achieve focus and freedom; and a monthly coaching program, Game Changer Leadership Huddles, to help members recharge their purpose and mindset. Sign up here to receive our weekly newsletter and subscribe to the Game Changers with Molly Fletcher podcast on iTunes.
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