A woman once told me this story...
My father managed prizefighters. If you ever saw the original Rocky movie, those were the venues. Smoky halls, inconsistent lighting, where the air is heavy.
These were not heavyweight championships, but strong men who needed the prize money and weren't afraid of going toe-to-toe with anyone.
I was a young girl at the time. I often joined my father at ringside. One night his fighter had a really tough match. It went back and forth, with each fighter looking like the victor only to have the gloved fists start flying again.
The fight ended. The crowd was uneasy, noisy, and nervous about their bets. After a brief delay, the referee was given the decision on a small piece of paper and walked confidently back to center ring, motioning for the fighters to join him. He then announced that my father's fighter had won.
The crowd didn't like the decision. They thought my father's fighter had cheated. Some started chanting, others jeered, and a growing number of them yelled threats. The decision cost them money, and they felt cheated. It looked like they would riot, and rip the fighter apart along with her father, his manager.
The fighter was scared.
So was I, a little girl surrounded by an angry mob.
My father turned to the fighter and me, and ordered us: "Follow me!"
Then he did an amazing thing. He marched right down into the crowd from the ring, with the two of us meekly following. Everywhere people were shouting threats. It was really scary.
As soon as my father reached the floor of the auditorium, a man blocked his way shouting he would hurt us. My father fiercely held his ground and pulled back his right fist to punch the guy. The guy backed off, fading into the blur of the crowd.
We took a few more steps.
Again, another man threatened my father since he was in the lead. Quickly my father pulled back his fist again to punch the man, and he quickly faded into the crowd. Still verbally threatening us, but unwilling to take on my formidable father.
We worked our way through the crowd that way, with my father only pausing briefly when necessary to threaten someone out of our way.
The overwhelming mob was overcome by focusing on one problem at a time.
I love this woman's story because it features danger, courage, and practicality. It reminds us to solve problems one step at a time.
Do you take on too much? Are you unable to complete all of your work? Perhaps you need to focus on one thing at a time.
Often that's the most difficult task, having the discipline to tackle your work in a methodical manner. It's why time management and prioritizing work are critical skills we teach in Dave's Charm School.
Discipline Fosters Success
One method of focusing your time is scheduling 15 minutes or more weekly of uninterrupted consideration. This time should occur at the beginning or end of your typical week, as Lee Iacocca did every Sunday night.
We call this time Sanctuary, and works by asking yourself 3 questions:
- Metrics: Did I meet or exceed all the metrics for my performance during the past week?
- Adjustments: Where do I need help, information, or adjustments in order to stay on track?
- Plan: What is my detailed plan for the upcoming week?
Force yourself to define a simple plan for each upcoming week to accomplish something significant that leads to achieving your major objective.
Remember, during Sanctuary time you do NOT open your email, instant messenger, or other communication apps. Silence and place your cell phone face down to avoid texts. Do not answer the phone. Eliminate all distractions. Just concentrate on and realign yourself with what's most important.
Do this regularly and it will help you achieve your big goal for the year.