Kim Perell, author of The Execution Factor, identified three main goals she wanted to achieve in her life in 2001, when she was 23 and broke and unemployed: to have independence, to be her own boss, and to control her own destiny. She became a multimillionaire seven years later, in 2008, after selling her first company for $30 million.
She decided that now that she had achieved her objectives, she wanted to assist other entrepreneurs in achieving theirs as well. To that goal, she became an angel investor, which is a person who invests in start-up businesses. She has discovered that the ability to execute, to carry out a plan of action, is the critical ingredient that transforms entrepreneurial dreams into successful realities after investing in more than 70 companies.
This execution element, in turn, is based on five characteristics, all of which can be created by anyone willing to put in the effort. The book takes a look at each of the five aspects of execution, explaining some broad ideas to help you understand them better before going through some particular, practical approaches for mastering them.
To bring our comparisons back down to earth while maintaining an eye on the heavens above, consider your vision to be similar to the North Star that once guided mariners through the oceans. A vision, like that celestial body, gives you a point of reference to assist you navigate life’s turbulent waters and unexpected waves.
Those “waves” are the events, setbacks, and competing forces that can cause you to lose sight of your goals. Even in difficult times, you may stay focused on your life’s work and maintain your orientation toward your chosen goal by keeping your mind’s eye fixated on your vision.
The future you envisage for yourself is that destination. It can take many different shapes. It could be a goal you set for yourself, such as making a constructive contribution to the environment. It could be a profession, such as cooking. It could also be a personal objective, such as buying a house, starting a business, or running a marathon.
Whatever your aim, you’ll almost certainly be led in unexpected paths as you pursue it, especially if it’s a more generic goal that can be attained in a variety of ways, such as financial independence. For example, the author’s first company was a digital marketing firm that marketed a wide range of products, from teeth whiteners to remote-control toys.
Was this the exact destiny she had envisioned for herself as a child? Of course not, but it was a necessary step on her way to financial independence. You’ll never know where your vision will lead you until you arrive!
How do you create a vision for yourself if you don’t already have one? Most of us have ideas for things we’d like to undertake or accomplish in the future. These concepts give us with the raw material for a magnificent vision, but we must refine them in order to turn them into a guiding North Star. To begin, all visions share four characteristics.
The first characteristic is clarity. In your mind’s eye, you should be able to clearly explain your vision in a single statement, and you should be able to picture it coming to fruition. If you can’t execute one of them, go back to the drawing board to fine-tune your vision.
Clarity may appear simple at first, especially if your vision includes a specific goal or vocation, such as financial independence or operating a food truck. After all, who can see herself with a large sum of money or cooking on the street?
But here’s the thing: in order to acquire true clarity, your imagination must be quite specific. Imagine not only a hazy, generic vision of donning a chef’s hat and frying food when it comes to running a food truck, but a gritty, detailed image of working throughout mealtime hours, ordering staff around, dealing with dissatisfied customers, and so on. To put it another way, you must ask yourself, and honestly answer, “Could I picture myself doing this?”
That takes us to the other three criteria of a feasible vision, all of which are interconnected and have to do with whether or not a vision is a genuine representation of yourself. A vision must be captivating, meaningful, and relevant to you in order to be such an expression. To put it another way, it should be a good match for your values, tastes, desires, and personality.
Visions that don’t meet these requirements are frequently the result of other people’s visions for you. So, how can you avoid chasing a goal that is diametrically opposed to who you are? How do you know if your vision is truly yours and not someone else’s interpretation of your vision?
One method is to try out your vision on a lesser scale before committing fully. It’s up to you whether you like it or not. If the latter is true, it will be disappointing but it is better to find out by joining a one-time, no-risk contest than by quitting your job and buying a food truck!
The next stage is to keep focused on your goal once you’ve concluded that it is actually in sync with who you are. One thing to do is to imagine the future in solid, evocative detail. The more vivid your image of the future is, the easier it will be to focus on it.
Here’s an easy way to accomplish it: imagine yourself having already attained your goal. What do you think you see? To get particular answers, ask yourself specific questions. What does your workplace look like, for example, if your vision is to start a business? What types of people make up your work force? On a daily basis, what do you envision yourself doing?
Write down your vision in a position where you’ll see it every day, such as your bathroom mirror, to remind yourself of it. Then, when you organize your day, keep it in mind. Make sure you’re pursuing and prioritizing tasks that will help you get closer to your goal. After all, crossing off every item on your to-do list won’t get you any closer to your overarching objective unless they’re related to it!
Prioritizing actions linked to realizing your vision may necessitate de-prioritizing or even outright ignoring other activities you enjoy, particularly ones that are completely discretionary, such as watching television. After all, time is a limited resource, so you must be judicious in how you use it in order to devote enough of it to achieving your goals.
You’ve addressed the question, “What do you want to execute?” by defining your vision. “How do you put it together?” is now the question. This leads us to the second characteristic of effective execution: passion. The first thing that comes to mind when you hear the phrase is generally a powerful, ardent emotion, as in the sentence “John has a passion for marketing.” But that’s only one meaning of the term; there’s another one that’s important here as well. It all starts with the word “passion,” which comes from the Latin word pati, which means “to suffer or endure.”
Passion, in this sense, isn’t just about doing things fiercely because you enjoy them; it’s about loving them so deeply that you’re willing to put yourself through pain and make sacrifices for them. The genuine test of passion is such readiness. For example, the author wanted to ride horses so desperately as a child that she promised to clean out a horse owner’s stables in exchange for lessons. In other words, her desire to ride horses was so strong that she was willing to pick up horse feces to do so!
Why is this kind of enthusiasm so important? There are no easy shortcuts to success unless you define it narrowly as only making money and luck out by winning the lottery. Hard labor, unpleasant events, and inconvenient situations will inevitably arise, such as attending conference calls when sick, missing social engagements for business trips, or putting personal finances on the line.
You can’t avoid making sacrifices like these if you want to succeed; all you can do is be ready to put up with them, and that willingness comes from desire. Your enthusiasm will supply you with the emotional energy you’ll need to get through the hard days and sleepless nights ahead of you on your path to achievement.
It’s also crucial in locating other people who can assist you on your path. You can present yourself as an inspiring leader to your colleagues or employees by exhibiting a willingness to make sacrifices for your cause. Inquiring whether potential or present coworkers or employees share your interest can also assist you in selecting the people with whom you associate.
To harness the power of passion, you must first understand what it is that you are passionate about. If you don’t already have a clear idea of what I’m talking about, consider the following: What do you care about so much that you’d be willing to go to great lengths for it? It could be a topic, such as fashion or animals. Perhaps it’s a skill or hobby, like writing or painting. Maybe it’s a job, like being a teacher or a babysitter.
Whatever it is, ask yourself this question: What do you do on a regular basis to feed your passion? If the answer is no, the next step is to make a change! You can begin with simple steps. The goal is to just get your feet wet and do something — anything – to connect with your passion more deeply. If it were fashion, for example, you wouldn’t have to go out and become a designer right away; instead, you could start a fashion blog!
If you don’t create time for it, you won’t be able to publish a single blog article or take any other tiny steps toward feeding your love. You must prioritize your passion and create out time in your calendar for it, just as you do for your vision. And that necessitates making compromises. You’ll have to forgo tasks that aren’t related to your passion in order to complete activities that are. This may need declining invitations to social events such as parties and dinners, which may be planned at times that are inconvenient for you to pursue your interest.
You should explain your absences to your friends, colleagues, and family members to avoid their disappointment. You can also make up for their absences by scheduling one-on-one meetings or small group get-togethers around the pursuit of your passion.
While you’re working on it, you can boost your motivation by celebrating your victories, big and little. Treat yourself or your team to a supper to truly feed your enthusiasm!
You’re like a driver with a destination in mind and a full tank of gas in your car once you’ve identified your vision and passion. You’re set to go, but you won’t get anywhere until you press the accelerator pedal.
The third characteristic of efficient implementation is action. To summarize, no one has ever achieved anything without taking action, which in this case means doing something that moves you closer to pursuing your passion and realizing your vision. The first question you’ll confront is, “Where do I begin?” Assuming you’ve been able to define your vision and are ready to take action. After all, there are numerous options available to you. Which one are you going to pick?
Don’t overthink things, though. Otherwise, you risk becoming engaged in analysis paralysis, which occurs when you become overwhelmed while contemplating over your alternatives and all of their probable repercussions, resulting to inaction. Simply take action. Continue onward. At this stage, you don’t have to commit to any of the paths; simply choose one and take the first step. There’s no need to overanalyze because you may still reassess, change direction, or even back out before moving forward.
That isn’t to mean that you should act rashly. Remember, you’re only taking a step here, not a leap. Don’t risk your livelihood by quitting your job. Instead, stay your current employment while developing a side hustle based on your vision and passion.
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