S. 3 Ep. 46 – T.R.I.M: A Process For Creating Systems

Picture of Cece Payne

Cece Payne

Marketing Coordinator at SpeakerFlow - Follow us on social media to stay in the flow!

Cece Payne

Marketing Coordinator at SpeakerFlow - Follow us on social media to stay in the flow!
Technically Speaking S 3 Ep 46 - TRIM A Process For Creating Systems with SpeakerFlow and Shawn Rhodes

For many business owners – large and small – the thought of building better systems is an enticing one.

But it’s also daunting. For instance, how do you know what components a system needs? What’s the trigger for when one of these components needs to do something? How do you make it repeatable and iterative?

And, most importantly, how do you measure the results of the system to make sure it’s successful over time?

Here to discuss that with us is speaker, author, sales expert, and nationally syndicated business columnist Shawn Rhodes.

In this episode, Shawn shars his insights about his own systems and how he identifies when an additional component is needed. He also shared his acronym for building new systems: Trigger, Replicatable, Iteratable, and Measurable (or T.R.I.M.).

Using this acronym, Shawn has helped companies across the country build systems – sales and otherwise – that not only bring in more revenue but do so consistently AND scale the business to new heights.

If you’re ready to build systems in your own business, this is one episode you don’t want to miss!

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Show Notes 📓

✅ Connect with Shawn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/shawnrhodes/

📷 Watch the video version of this episode and subscribe for updates on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLYAr3nGy6lbXrhbezMxoHTSCS40liusyU

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Read the Transcription 🤓

Intro: You know those moments when you’re doing what you love in your business, maybe it’s standing onstage or creating content, whatever it is, you’re totally immersed, and time just seems to slip-by. This is called The Flow State. At Speaker Flow, we’re obsessed with how to get you there more often. Each week we’re joined by a new expert where we share stories, strategies, and systems to help craft a business you love. Welcome to Technically Speaking.

Taylorr: All right, we are here. Shawn, you are a glutton for punishment, coming back for round two, man. What’s up with that?

Shawn: I have a lot of fun with you guys, talking sales process and systems and all of the fun things that it takes to get a business off the ground and successful. So, here I am again.

Taylorr: I could probably count on one hand the number of people that get us geeky and excited about these conversations as we do. And I’m very grateful you are one of those people.

Shawn: Me too.

Austin: Walk the talk too. You’re not somebody that’s just interested and curious about it, but you implement stuff, which is why it’s so valuable to have you here. Because it’s like we’re not just pontificating in episodes with you. Like, here’s what’s actually happening out there. So, thank you for being that person.

Shawn: I can talk about all of the ways that what I’m trying is failing too, which if we’re not failing in our systems, then we’re probably not pushing the boundary hard enough.

Austin: Oh, man. There’s this line in the EOS world that says the point of EOS or a business framework of sorts is not to make you be successful, it’s to help you fail faster. Because the faster you get the failures, the faster you learn the lessons you need to improve. And it’s kind of a freeing concept, if you think about it. Now we can allow ourselves to just do our very best, and if we mess up, that’s a good thing. If we learn from it.

Shawn: Yeah.

Austin: Better than the fear that a lot of us experience about it.

Taylorr: Yeah.

Shawn: The learning from it piece I think is so valuable if we have a process behind it, and I know we’re all just going to talk about process today because it’s Speaker Flow, right? So, the idea of capturing something that I wish would’ve been different is important. But if that doesn’t create a change in how I execute next time, then it was just a great exercise, but it doesn’t actually impact my business. It doesn’t allow me to serve my customers anymore. So, for anybody listening, you’re maybe doing those kind of after actions on your own speeches or at the end of a consulting engagement, you take a step back and you’re like, all right, if I had to do that again, what do I wish would’ve been done differently? 

Great questions to ask. But the follow-up to that is, all right, well, what’s going to change in the future and how will I know that it’s going to change? What’s going to come back in front of me to trigger that lesson so that I don’t screw up again in that way? Or the other side of the coin is, that went amazing. That deal should have taken eight months to close. Because that’s how long it normally takes me to book a speaking gig or whatever it is. But we were able to get that done in two weeks. What was different? How do I get more of those? And not just to answer the question, well, I need to do more of X, Y, and Z, but it’s okay, well, that’s your plan to do more of X, Y, and Z. Where’s that going to show up on your calendar? 

Next time you’re in a conversation, how are you going to identify that type of buyer faster? Or if you’re setting a VA loose to research more of those types of leads, how is your ideal client profile going to change from this point on? So, to take the time to really make sure this is a full cycle of change rather than just we know what needs to change. Let’s hope that we do it differently next time.

Taylorr: Yeah, man. For sure. Well, I think one of the things that is kind of meta in what you just had to say. So, I think this train of thought of being intentional with how we look back on what our process is doing and how we make change and then being intentional about making that change. It’s not always an easy skill to adopt and I have to assume, much like us, I’m guilty of this. I have to be intentional about designing a process that allows me to be intentional in the first place. So, was this always nature for you to be intentional, of looking back on your process and making change? Tell me more about how you’ve adopted that mindset over time.

Shawn: So, it was something I probably picked up first in the military, because they’re fanatical about identifying what went right and what went wrong and what they need to do differently next time. Because it makes the difference between surviving and not surviving a mission. Now, I saw that in the military, when I began my own business I wasn’t doing it. So, full transparency there, I would fail many times and not figure out why. And then when I did book a piece of business, I had no way to replicate it because I was spreading myself out through a thousand different mediums. And when one piece of business did come in, I wasn’t able to say, well, now pour more energy into that vertical earlier so that I could get more of that type of business. I had no way to do that because I had no system. 

And so, the idea of capturing a process starts with; one, having a success, you have to start somewhere. So, for me, it was, all right, I booked this gig, how do I get more of those? And I have to take a look back and say, well, what were the proceeding events? Did I make a phone call? Did I send an email? Did I meet that person at a networking event? Did they refer me because I spoke for free at some other place? And their cousin’s dog sitter, Jimbo, said you should talk to Shawn because he’s a great speaker. You have to begin tracking these things back a little bit, but then ask yourself. 

So, that’s kind of doing it retrospectively. You could do it in the moment as well, by asking yourself if you do anything throughout your business day, and pause at the end of sending an email, pause at the end of a phone conversation, pause at the end of sending a proposal or a quote out and ask, is this likely ever going to repeat again? It may not have the exact specifics of this one because I’m going to speak in Des Moines and normally I speak in Vegas or Nashville. But is something like that going to happen again? 

And if the answer is yes, capture it in a process, capture it in a system, create a template, whether it’s a written template or something outside your head in a notebook or in a project management system, but capture it somewhere so that you have it to reference so you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. And the more that you shore those gaps up as you go about your day, I promise anybody listening today, you’re going to do 20 things today that you do consistently, maybe not every day, but it repeats itself every week or every month or every quarter. Capture it now so that you don’t have to think about what that looks like next time and you don’t have to recreate it from scratch. 

Do that enough, and suddenly you’re able to pull yourself out of the runway line, get up to the 30,000 or the 50,000 foot level more consistently in your business and aim your business in a better way. See, as most of us are entrepreneurs listening to this right now, so we’re responsible for both the strategy and the tactics. And so, many of us spend all of our time at the tactical level because we’re repeating and reinventing these things that we really should have captured outside of our heads a long time ago. 

So, it may take a little time, it may slow you down, make you, let’s say 25% less efficient today because you’re having to pull back and say, oh, okay, I’m going to send that email again at some point. Let’s capture it as a template. Or I’m going to have to send that proposal again instead of writing one from scratch, let’s take the one I just wrote and put it, make it to look like a template so you can fill in the missing pieces next time and get it into a folder somewhere on your PC or your Mac. Start beginning to do those things and suddenly when it comes time to have to do them again, you’re that much faster.

Taylorr: That’s right.

Shawn: Think about the time that could free up. I get to do this for salespeople all day, every day. But as small business owners at the operational level, it’s something we can absolutely do for ourselves as well.

Taylorr: Yeah, well, it’s kind of like investing in a way, when you think about investing, right? You’re put putting dollars money, but it’s kind of like, it is not that fun at the beginning. You put a thousand dollars here and there and then eventually this starts to compound. You’re like, holy crap; I made a thousand dollars without having to do anything. But does that happen overnight when you start investing? Unless you start with millions of dollars, absolutely not. It kind of sucks and you’re like, I have to put my money over, it’s kind of a disciplinary type of thing. But when we’re talking about this we’re making an investment for future time and I’ll let you speak to this some more, but it seems like that has a compound effect as you continue to fill in those gaps and develop those systems over time. Is that something you’ve experienced?

Shawn: A hundred percent and the magic happens, and this is something you guys are at with your business at Speaker Flow, it’s something that I’m doing as well. But the magic happens when you get all of these processes and systems outside your head and then you ask yourself, what are the ones that only I can actually do?

Taylorr: Yeah.

Shawn: Because I’m going to answer this question, 80% of them you don’t have to actually be the one executing on, I don’t care what business model you’re in. I’m in the speaking and consulting business. I’m the only one that can be on that stage, but I’m not the only one that has to run the sales and the backend marketing and the operations and the finance and all that other stuff. It doesn’t have to be me. And so, when you get stuff outside of your head, suddenly you are freed up to be able to pass that on to somebody else, to a VA or to a staff member, a team member, or just decide, which happens a lot with systems. 

So, you look at it and you say, I’ve been doing it, but does it need to be done at all? And sometimes the answer is no. So, just stop doing it, even if you did create a system for it. But being able to get it outside your head now allows you to offload it to someone else so that you can free yourself up to do more of those things that only you can uniquely do.

Austin: Yeah, it’s so much easier to be objective when what you’re trying to systemize isn’t being flavored by emotions and things and it’s really hard to separate that when it’s all just in your head. When it’s out on paper, you can be a lot more objective because it’s a finite defined thing, right?

Shawn: Yeah.

Austin: Yeah. I think this ties into for one, okay, we define a system as the convergence of people, technology and process. And those can look a lot of different ways in a lot of different instances. Create a system, we find that you go through four steps and I think that these more or less go along exactly with what you’ve been talking about here, so I’d love to get your take on this. First, identify the need for a system. There has to be a specific thing that’s happening in the business that needs to become systemized. Then you have to define the standardized process. You have to standardize it. There has to be the same series of steps that are followed each time. If it’s not, then it’s not a system, you can’t measure where it’s working or not working. 

So, identify, standardize, document, put it somewhere where you know you can measure the success even if it’s standardized, if it’s still in your head, you have to get it outside of your head. So, either it’s being documented inside of a piece of technology through workflow processes or automations and things; it could be documented in a written SOP. There are different ways that can get done. So, identify, standardize, document and then you have a trifecta. You can either execute that system yourself if you love it, if it’s your zone of genius, you can delegate it to another person that can do it better than you can, ideally. Or you can bring automation to the table to either do that system in an automated way or at least assist another person, you or a staff member in doing it. So, identify, standardize, document, execute, delegate or automate. Do you think that lines up with what you’re talking about here?

Shawn: It sure does and I’d even add some steps to it, so we’re going to take it to the black belt level. So, on the show that I have, Bulletproof Selling, we bring on sales leaders, bring on other speakers and consultants, and on every show we build a sales system to address whatever issue my guest and I are talking about. And because systems trim hope away from our sales strategy, and I’m from the military, we have to use an acronym at some point. So, we use the acronym T.R.I.M., T R I M. So this is kind of my version of a systems build, and it mirrors yours very closely with a couple of extra steps at the end. 

So, for us, it’s the T, it’s trigger. What event in my business or in my sales process triggers that system? Is it when I’m beginning to develop new leads because I need to refill my pipeline? Is it when I’m about to get into a conversation with a meeting planner or a buyer? Is it when I’m issuing a proposal or is it when the deal’s been closed? What systems come into play then that allow me to prepare for that event? So, that’s the trigger; you have to identify where that system’s going to launch and you have a step for that. For us, I think all of the things that you just mentioned are fit into the R of our methodology, which is, making us repeatable. 

So, what are those steps that you have to follow or that you can offload? And that might be a four step process; it might be a 40 step process depending on how complicated it is. But the important thing is to get it outside your head so that you don’t have to think about what comes next in this system, what comes next step. Because if you have to do that, especially in a sales conversation, it’s pulling you away from being present. And so many salespeople have that external system, they have that script and you can tell it immediately that they’re running from a script or that they’re physically marking things off on a checklist. And while that’s great as an external resource, you do have to be able to be present as well because you have to be able to respond to provide value, otherwise what’s the point in having a conversation? So, that’s our R. 

Now, where I think I add some extra steps to your process is the I in trim, which is making this an unprovable system. Now, the question is what do I need to look at to get better? because this is a Model T Ford right now. I want it eventually to look like a Ferrari. What is the evolution that has to happen to this system? And I think automation might be part of that. How do I automate this system? What are the things I look at to improve over the course of using this system for a quarter? What are the things I’m noticing in executing this system that the challenges that my people are actually addressing about their events are changing? 

It used to be getting butts in seats. Now it’s getting a more diversified audience and that they need CEOs, mid-level managers and frontline people in that audience. So, how can you help me do that as a speaker? I hear that question a few times over the course of a quarter. It’s going to adjust; I’m going to improve my system to make sure I’m addressing that earlier in the conversation if I sense that’s a need. And the M in trim is to measure this. Because if I’m taking the time to build this system, I need to know that it’s a better way of doing business than just winging it.

Because there are plenty of things, I still do in my business that are winging it because I haven’t found the need to create that system yet. So, I’m taking the time to execute this system, to capture things that are working to regularly execute and implement on it. What am I going to measure? And it’s not just closed deals; it rarely is just closed deals. That’s an important one. But there are so many things in the leading part of our sales cycle as consultants and speakers and experts that we can begin to measure. How many conversations am I converting into meetings? How many proposals am I issuing? How many things am I checking the box in in my CRM on? I know you guys can help speakers load and you’ve done a great job of doing that for me. 

Here are all of the questions I need answered to consider this a qualified deal. It’s not just that they’ve reached out and said, are you available April 22nd of 2024? No. It’s what type of audience do you have? How many people are in this audience? What results do you need achieved to consider this a successful hire for a speaker? All of those questions that I would normally have to think about off the top of my head. Now I can capture in a system, but I can measure that on all of the deals that I closed, how many of those questions got filled out and in all of the deals that I lost. And this is always the case because numbers don’t lie. Most of the deals that I lost, I can look at the questions and I can see most of those boxes are blank. Those questions never got asked. 

So, the more opportunity I have to measure what I’m actually implementing in my system, you could call it systems adherence, the more chance I have of knowing is this working and can I make it better in the future? Now, there’s something overarching that we should talk about with systems, especially as it applies to business people. Because engineers use systems, manufacturers use systems on their assembly lines. But as people that are here to serve either an audience or an organization or a specific group of people, we have to run our systems through a filter before we even think about creating them. 

And this filter asks the question, how is this system going to serve the people that I’m here to serve? And if you can’t answer that question, don’t build the system. Because it is just going to be for you, it’s not going to serve your customer. And if I’m running my customers through a system, it better be to serve them, it better add value to their lives or their events, otherwise what’s the point in having it? And so, as a salesperson, and most of the people listening are going to be in sales, if you’re putting together a list of commonly heard objections, great system to have, every salesperson should have this list of commonly heard objections and you can figure out what those are just by going to Google for your industry or you’ve probably heard them if you’ve been on more than one or two sales calls.

But if I’m going to turn around those objections and I’m going to have that list, have this system, how is that supposed to serve my customer base? The people that I’m talking to? Well, if they tell me, Shawn, we can’t hire you because we don’t have the budget and I have a system for responding to that, which I do, how is that going to help them? Well, maybe it’ll show them that by hiring me they may pay a little more upfront than they anticipated paying when we began this conversation, but here is all of the value, the 5x or the 10x value that they’re going to get and their attendees are going to get at that event. 

So, that’s a real simple process for walking through how is this going to serve my customers? And the benefit to you as a business owner and having a system that answers that question is now when you show up and you’re executing your systems across finance and marketing and operations and delivery. You know that you’re serving your customers by doing this. And if you’re not fired up and passionate about who you are to serve, you may want to change your business model. I’m really excited about waking up every day and serving my audience, serving my customer base. I want to make sure they’re successful. So, if I can build a system to help them do that, then I feel great about executing that system, about improving it and about measuring its results.

Taylorr: Yeah, I think it makes it a lot easier to kind of, let’s acknowledge some facts, right? For most of the people listening here, building systems is not the most exciting thing on earth, right? It’s not our zones of genius, right? And so, people are very quick, I don’t even want to think about it, just let somebody else do this, right? That’s obviously not the mindset that we need. How do we change our mindset to make it more motivating to create a system? And I know most of you listening are very intrinsically motivated people. You want to create impact to create change, and I would argue that most of you listening really do enjoy serving the audience that you have to serve. For most of us, when we think about systems, right? It’s like, oh, this is only going to help me and I’m okay with suffering, right? 

So, I’m not going to create the system. Versus changing the, basically turning the table around a little bit to say how can I make this impact my people? I think that’s going to be more motivating to create the system because, yeah, it’s going to help you out a little bit, but you’re going to feel motivated that it’s creating a difference for you people. And so, I think this is a very important element of what you just touched on, but if we can flip the script a little bit around how is this thing going to make me better when we’re okay suffering, instead of how do we make our client experience better and serve our people more? I think it’s a little bit of an easier pill to swallow to then create that system.

Shawn: And a real great question to ask these folks that aren’t really excited about building systems because they just want to spend more time in their zone of genius. Let’s pitch it from a goal-oriented perspective. How would you like to spend more time in your zone of genius? How would you like to spend all of your time in your zone of genius? And if you haven’t identified what that zone of genius is yet for you, I know that Taylorr and Austin have a couple of processes that can help you find that, there are a bunch of them out there, to identify what are the things that if I could just do those three or four tasks and rarely is it more than three or four tasks. 

I would love getting up every day. I would wake up early, as a matter of fact, because I know that the entire day that I had lined out in front of me would be doing only the things I love with the people that I love serving. And if you can identify what that day looks like for you, you can begin building toward it. But you still have to run a business. And there are things in that business that are not in your zone of genius. So, by taking the time to systemize all of the things that aren’t in your zone of genius now, you can at least get them done faster or you can offload them so you don’t have to do them at all. 

And this is how I motivate myself because while I love building systems, what I love more is just doing those three or four things that I love, love, love doing that I want to get better at. That I know if I get to live to 80 and I get to do nothing but get better at those three or four things, that’ll be a fulfilling career. But I can’t do that and run a business without building systems to either make it faster for me to do those things that I don’t want to do or have someone else do them to my standard.

Austin: Can you give us an example? What’s one of the systems that you identified as not being in your zone of genius that you’ve been able to successfully offload? And what was the process that you went through to get there?

Shawn: Well, you guys are fans of the EOS platform. So, there’s a great book in, I believe it’s the EOS Life. Am I remembering the title of that book correctly?

Austin: I don’t know that book. I’ve never read that book.

Shawn: There’s Traction and then there’s one of the ones that that followed.

Taylorr: Get a Grip. Yeah, there’s Get a Grip. What the Heck is EOS. Rocket Fuel.

Austin: Rocket Fuel. I think that there is a book, Now that I think about it, I think there’s another one and I haven’t read it. Shawn, damn.

Shawn: That piece of kind of a strategy that I got around identifying zone of genius was out of this book, so you guys will have to check it out. But the idea is to map out everything that you do in the course of running your business across sales and marketing and delivery and finance and operations. And it’s going to be a list of 30 or 40 things, especially as an entrepreneur, especially if you’ve been in business for a couple of years. All of the things that you do, the content creation and the delivery and the talking to clients and everything else. 

So, take all of those things and then on a separate sheet of paper, just create a quadrant, so four boxes. And you have to fit all of those things, those 30, 60, 90 items into one of those four quadrants. In the upper left quadrant are the things that are in your zone of genius, the things you love doing and that you’re great at doing. And the upper right quadrant are things that you’re good at doing, but you’re kind of indifferent about. Take it or leave it. The lower left are things that you don’t like doing and you’re not very good at them, but you have to do them to run the business. 

And the lower right quadrants can think of as a circle all of the way down, like your fourth level of priority, here are the things you hate doing and you’re actually awful at doing. And if you take all of the things you do to run your business and fit them into one of your four quadrants, it creates two immediate benefits. One of them is that you identify what are those tasks that are in my zone of genius that I love doing and I’m great at doing and people tell me that’s your natural gift.

And for a lot of us speakers it’s speaking, no surprise there, it’s being in front of an audience delivering that content and that value. But then you look at the lower right quadrant and these are those things, to answer your question, the things that you hate doing and you’re not very good at doing. Well, now you have a prioritized list for things to begin building systems for to get off of your dang plate. So, my lower right quadrant for me in my business, anything to do with finance, not my zone of genius, not my strength. While I love issuing invoices and I can do it well, that’s not what I’m talking about with finance. I’m talking about going into QuickBooks and categorizing transactions. I’m talking about putting together balance sheets and P&O reports and working out my budget buckets for all of the things I have in my business. I don’t like doing that and I’m not very good at it. 

So, first area identified, get that off of my plate. So, what I can do now is build a system for here’s how I run it. And great ways to do that. You can create video training via Loom. I do mine on Zoom, just open up a screen share of myself and just here’s my computer, here’s how I get this done every week. Here are the things that you’re likely to run into in that process and now I look for in my network, who can I hire to get this done for me? Or who do I need to find, who already has that skillset? Is it an accountant, is it a VA? Whoever that is. But now that I’ve identified what are the things that are so far outside my zone of genius that I’ll immediately feel better by not having to do them.

I can begin executing on that list, offload everything in the lower right quadrant, which are all of the things I hate doing and I’m not good at doing. Now I move to the lower left. I don’t necessarily despise doing these things and I’m halfway decent at them, I just don’t like doing them. Start attacking that list. And what you’ll eventually get up to is only doing those things in your zone of genius. And that’s really where the magic begins to happen in your business, because you have those processes, you have your systems at that point, you’ve identified the people that can do some things for you. Because I find it impossible to automate mechanically everything so it never touches a human. 

To your point, you have to grow a business somehow and usually it’s because you have to find staff members to scale out, whether it’s sales or marketing or operations or finance. But now I spend more and more time in my zone of genius, which means I’m just happier about showing up to work every day because I get to do more of what I love.

Taylorr: Yeah. Do you think there’s an inherent amount of focus that’s necessary before having the topic or the conversation around systems? One of the things, I’m sure you’ve seen this too, but speakers, consultants, business owners, we’re visionary, highly creative, it’s really easy to go down rabbit holes of things we’re excited about. Maybe we’re creating a new thing. Maybe we’re trying to launch a new product. We can find ourselves being really spread thin across all of these ideas that we have that we want to execute on that can feel inundating. And it feels that in order to truly systemize, there needs to be some level of focus involved with how we make money, how we deliver for our clients. 

It seems like we need to kind of remove some of the distractions, I wouldn’t even necessarily say before systemizing, but before it becomes a highly relevant point of conversation. Is that true for yourself? Have you noticed that focus is necessary to start creating these systems? Can you speak more to that?

Shawn: Oh, well, I have to be focused to run my business because like any entrepreneur, there are 50 things I could be doing at every moment of the day. Not all of them are going to help me get closer to my goals. And so, this really comes down from having that vision of where you want your business to go, probably more importantly, who do you want to become? Yeah, because we are growing as people. I know I’m going to have the same name today as I do 20 years from now. But if I’m doing my job at living a good life correctly, I’m not going to be the same person. I’m going to be better in a variety of areas personally and professionally. So, I have to set out what that’s going to look like and that at least gives me an azimuth. 

So, you’re doing land navigation in the military, you have to shoot an azimuth with a compass to know what direction you’re going. So I know that that’s north and I’m supposed to be heading that way. So, that gives you that true north, that north star, if we really want to get motivational here with our language. By having that north star, then at least I know what direction I’m going. And now we go down to the daily level. I have what my 10 or 20 year vision of kind of what I want my life to look like set out. And you can write that out as a great journaling exercise. But now I back down to today and I say, well, if I’m going to move toward that, what are the small steps that are going to be most important that I take today?

Because there are 50 things I could be doing, but what are the two or three items? And it’s rarely more than two or three items that I can do today that are going to move me closer to that goal. And to make the time to execute on those two or three items. And this is really where it takes courage as an entrepreneur, this is kind of where I’m at in my journey, full transparency. I’d like to get 50 things done in a day, but I have to be courageous enough to look at those three things that are going to move me toward that better life that I want to create for myself and my family. And have the courage to just execute on those three things first. 

Even though it might be more fun to respond to social media messages, it might be more fun to just go through my inbox and get to inbox zero. It might be more fun to call up some friends and organize an ad hoc mastermind. A lot of fun things I could be doing or things that I enjoy more than making progress on those three things today. But to have the courage to do those three things and where probably the most courage comes in is to be okay at the end of the day with only having knocked out those three things. That’s where real courage comes in as an entrepreneur, because there’s a lot we could be doing, but at the end of the day to look back and say, I only got three things done, dang, that doesn’t feel very productive. 

But then look at the three things you got done, those are the biggest impact items to get you to who you were meant to become as a person, as an entrepreneur, as a business owner, as a father, mother, sister, brother, community member, whatever those things are for you. So, that’s where I’d say the focus really comes in, for me anyway, I can only speak to me here, but I’ve tried it the other ways. This way seems to get me closer to who I want to become.

Austin: Wow. I love that so much. Systems is hard for a lot of people, I think; because the knowledge that we are where we are relative to that ideal end state of just focusing on zone of genius stuff, that’s a harrowing journey, right? That doesn’t happen overnight. And I think for a lot of people, the ability to take the leap and to be courageous and just focus on the things that need to get done right now and to take the extra time, slow things down intentionally a little bit to document and standardize and systemize things so that you can be more efficient later on. You have to have courage to do that because the reality is that results don’t happen overnight. And it’s not even just courage, but there’s faith a little bit too to some degree.

You have to have faith that those things that you’re deciding on are the right things. And I think this ultimately ties back to this idea that systems are a flywheel of sorts where you build them, measure them improve, you constantly have to be on the lookout of whether or not the decisions that you’re making are the right decisions and that the things that you’re doing are the right things that you’re doing. But I say all of this as a call to action for people, just because you may be a long way from where that ideal end state is, this picture that you’re painting, Shawn, of just focusing on the zone of genius stuff, even if it feels like a long ways out, having the courage to start today means you’ll get there much faster than if you don’t.

Shawn: Yeah. It’s about tracking your progress across a process. That’s where really the magic comes in. I’m a martial artist of, I don’t know, 25 years now. Black belt in Aikido, ranked in Brazilian jiujitsu. And the number one thing that my seniors told me early on was, Shawn, fall in love with the process of learning this art instead of focusing on the rank that you’re getting or the external progress that you’re measuring. Because if you focus on process, progress comes, you can’t avoid progress. But that means taking the time today to really get into details of what am I doing right now? How can I make it as good as it can be today? And how do I replicate it in the future with less effort?

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