How to Work Smarter for Maximum Positive Impact in the World
Six years ago, I gave my first Clarity Group Workshop. I guided my friends through a series of simple, powerful questions designed to help them become attuned to their own greatness and find the answers within themselves. It resulted in some powerful realizations and it felt amazing to support them in this way. Yet, I was hesitant to take my own advice, to actualize my passion and embrace becoming a full-time business coach. What if I wasn’t good enough? What if I failed?
Then, suddenly, I got sick. After severely straining my eyes, I was forced to remain indoors, with curtains drawn and my eyes closed. I was terrified my sight was damaged for the rest of my life. I felt lost, overwhelmed and confused.
I remember telling Rick Pursell, an inspiring fellow business coach what had happened. After listening to my story, he asked me, “What is it what you don’t want to see, Obed?”
In that moment, I felt sadness and tears rolled down my cheeks. I knew the truth that I didn’t want to see: despite what I told myself, I was unhappy. My job didn’t suit me or allow me to live my passions. But, while working in six different countries, I met friends who were working to create their dream business. They were in alignment with their passions, with their community and nature. They were happy and they shared it selflessly.
With my eyes closed, in the dark, I saw what truly brought me joy and fulfillment: to help others find their passions and achieve their dream businesses.
Today, I am living my passion for helping people find theirs. While traveling the world, I’ve already had the privilege to help more than 1,000 people improve their lives through my online coaching programs, group workshops, and speeches.
Over the years working with my clients, I have developed a set of powerful tools that work.
These are powerful tools that worked very well for myself, and for my clients. While there are no guarantees in life, all I ask is for you to have an open mind and put these strategies to the test. Some tools may change your outlook, some may not work at all and it is totally fine. (We can still be friends.)
These strategies are best for those who:
- are already working on your dream business, but your business hasn’t reached the levels of success you envisioned
- just started your dream business and are looking to accelerate progress
- want to start your dream business, but you have no idea yet what you want to do
1. Do What You Love
Success is a product of ability, determination and perhaps the most important but least understood ingredient: passion.
But how do you find your passion? Roadmap with Ikigai. This Japanese concept roughly translates to “reason for being.” It’s what makes us all get out of bed each morning.
Even for those familiar with the idea, navigating the path to ikigai can be intimidating. Where to begin?
Here’s my process: start with passion. This is the intersection of what you love and what you’re good (enough) at.
From there, everything else falls into place. When you love what you do, you’re already motivated to see it through. Whether you’re driven by deep curiosity or pure enjoyment, hard work is satisfying. This is what the world needs.
Passionate, hard workers inspire and attract others to join their projects as clients or collaborators. It doesn’t just increase your value for yourself, it also provides value to those around you.
Above all, have fun and don’t forget to play.
2. Know Your Why
Why should you pursue your dream business? There are many good reasons to start your dream business but your own deeply personal Why is the only one that matters for you. For me, my own Why is to help others find their Why.
Finding your Why is a process of self-exploration and discovery. It requires us to look deeply inside ourselves and become attuned to our own greatness.
“Our visions are the world we imagine, the tangible results of what the world would look like if we spent every day in pursuit of our WHY.”
Working on things that matter the most to you and make you feel alive is a very fulfilling experience. For me, it is coaching others, because it makes my heart sing when I see somebody else achieve his or her dream business.
But if you are unclear about why you do what you do, the “what” becomes insignificant.
It becomes difficult to motivate yourself to work hard and for others to join you when you don’t understand why. As Simon Sinek says: People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it.
I work with clients to help them gain the inner clarity to find their why. Here’s one exercise I ask them to visualize:
Just imagine, you have a 100% success guarantee that your dream business will become reality. What would be your dream? What purpose does this dream business fulfill for you?
Knowing your why is the first step to achieving your business goals and dreams.
3. Attract Your Ideal Clients
Choose ideal clients. You already know them: these are the people who inspire and energize you to do your best work.
The key is to develop more of these clients with intention: create a Red Velvet Rope Policy. Like an exclusive club with a line waiting to get inside, your services are in demand. Set standards for the kinds of people you want to work with.
Here are four steps for success:
- Develop a red velvet rope policy to attract your star clients
- Dump your dud clients and prune your client list
- Identify your mid-range clients and dump them or develop them into stars
- Don’t try to please everyone
Use this tool to attract your ideal clients by following the process above to develop a Velvet Rope Policy for clients who energize you.
Energy is finite so choose to work with those who invigorate you so you can provide them with the best possible services.
4. Adopt an Attitude of Gratitude
Take the time to practice gratitude with intention. While we may feel grateful in small moments throughout the day, it takes a purposeful mindset shift to bring a true attitude of gratitude into our lives, experiences, and interactions.
Write three things you are grateful for each morning. Everything from “I’m so grateful for my client’s positive feedback,” to “I’m so grateful for the smell of freshly brewed tea” counts!
“Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” – Melody Beattie
Reflect on how far you have come today, this week, this month and this year. Celebrate your small victories, big achievements and everything in between.
What you feel, you attract—and this is especially true of gratitude. The more grateful you feel, the more positivity you will exude, which will, in turn, attract opportunities and like-minded individuals.
In business and in personal matters, an attitude of gratitude speaks volumes.
5. Routinize Healthy Habits
The road to actualizing your business dreams begins with a healthy body and mind. Create a foundation for productivity with healthy daily routines for nourishment, hydration, sleep, and movement.
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” – Aristotle
A routine is a regularly repeated sequence of events, usually a collection of habits or actions, to bring order to your day.
Start simple with a single morning habit, like meditation, exercise or journaling, to provide a foundation for a productive day. Make it non-negotiable: no matter what surprises the day may bring, this is one thing you can be sure of.
Then, build upon it by linking a second, third or fourth healthy habit. Entrepreneur and author Tim Ferris’ starts his day with a five-step routine: making the bed, meditation, exercise, drinking tea and journaling.
Non-negotiable healthy habits set us up for success in so many ways. First, a well-nourished, active body invigorates the mind.
Making healthy habits part of your non-negotiable routine removes decision fatigue so you can channel that energy into business decisions, instead.
Photo: Providing my speech “Bring Your Business to New Heights of Success” to 120 purpose-driven entrepreneurs of the Citizen Circle
6. Resolve Fears and Limiting Beliefs
Do you want to help create a better world, but do you experience fears and self-doubt?
Perhaps it is the voice in your head that says: What if I fail? What if I am not good enough?
We all have that voice. From my own experience, I know it is not easy to go for our dream businesses. I remember when I was very sick 6 years ago. I had no job and I had less than USD $2,000 on my bank account. While I was sick, I decided to start my dream: helping thousands of people fulfill their full potential and achieve their dream businesses.
Be grateful for your challenges because they shape you into the person you are today.
Learn to let go of these fears and limiting beliefs. Only by embracing the challenge and an attitude of gratitude can you learn to let go.
Accept that you are not perfect but you are good enough. You must let go of the fear of failure in order to succeed.
Identify your fears and ask yourself, what is the worst that can happen? Often it is never as terrible as we imagine.
Sometimes we need help addressing our fears and limiting beliefs from a coach, a mastermind group or close friend. We can work together to resolve your inner limitations and find clarity. Don’t hesitate to reach out.
Let go of fear and limiting beliefs and you have already begun to succeed.
7. Set SMART Goals
When a client asks me how to increase discipline and willpower, I always ask, “do you have clearly defined goals for yourself?” More often than not, their answer is no.
Well-defined goals are so important to giving yourself direction in life because they help you connect your daily actions to your greater purpose.
When you design your goals, make sure they are SMART:
Next to setting SMART goals, be sure to set primary goals and support them with smaller secondary milestones. In their book, The One Thing, authors Gary W. Keller and Jay Papasan explain that one important activity can have a powerful impact on all the secondary activities.
For example, my former client Pekka Mattila set an ambitious primary SMART goal for himself: to work with 150 students for his Digital University, a high-end online course that helps people be financially free with meaningful business activities. To achieve this goal, he set the following milestones: four articles, two webinars, and four videos. He knew that accomplishing these secondary SMART goals would set him up for success in his primary objective for the year. And also thanks to these inspiring goals, he finally attracted 135 students and by doing that he was able to create the biggest online course launch of Finland which generated slightly over 500.000 euros in 2019.
By using the SMART goal-setting technique to link his primary and secondary goals, taking intentional action and staying disciplined every day, Pekka Mattila created amazing results and felt a great sense of purpose and fulfillment.
Photo: My former client Pekka Mattila successfully created the Digital University thanks to setting SMART primary & secondary goals.
8. Keep Yourself Accountable
Keep yourself accountable for your goals and dreams because you deserve to achieve them. There are many methods to keep yourself on track with goals and milestones.
Enlist a friend, coach or mastermind group. Personally, I have four coaches myself who coach me in different areas of my coaching business (e.g. public speaking, improving coaching activities, accountability and mindset).
When you try to climb a mountain by yourself, it’s lonely, challenging and easy to get lost. But when you climb with a coach, you can reach the top easier because he knows the path and what challenges to avoid. You can achieve faster—it’s more fun.
“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together,”
– African Proverb
One of my former clients, Sebastian Kuehn, discusses his journey to accountability in our upcoming book, From Fear to Courage: 12 Insights to Achieve Your Dreams:
“I sit down once a month to set priorities for the following months. I break down the monthly goals into tasks…Every two weeks, [Obed and I] had a call, at which time he would ask me about my progress and would hold me accountable to my plan.”
The power of association has also been very important in my own life. If you are looking to make some changes, the easiest way to make those changes is to first, choose to make a change, but then find a community that supports the change ongoing and holds you accountable. For this reason, I have developed the Breakthrough Year Program and the Game Changer Mastermind. These programs help purpose-driven entrepreneurs bring their business to the next level. And an important factor in both programs is accountability. My clients help each other to stay on course. They remind each other of their dreams and don’t let fear get in the way.
9. Become an Essentialist
“If you don’t prioritize your life, someone else will” –Greg McKeown
Embrace essentialism, the concept put forth by Greg McKeown, which is about saying no to the “trivial many” so you can focus more on the “essential few.”
First, change your mindset and your vocabulary.
“I have to,” → “I choose to.”
“It’s all important,” → “Only a few things really matter.”
“I can do both.” → “I can do anything but not everything.”
Explore so you can understand the difference between what’s truly important and everything else. Spend much time as possible exploring, listening, debating, questioning, and thinking so you can understand the difference. Identify temptations and distractions so you can build a structure to empower yourself against them.
Then, eliminate everything non-essential so you can free up some time and energy to focus on the things in your life that are truly vital. Keep it simple.
10. Work Deeply and Eliminate Distraction
Focusing on work without distraction is a life-long struggle for our generation. But once you commit to deep work, you can eliminate distractions.
“Deep work is the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task. It’s a skill that allows you to quickly master complicated information and produce better results in less time.” – Cal Newport
In his book, Deep Work, Cal Newport discusses the benefits and practical steps you can take to do more deep work. Unlike shallow work, which can give a false impression of productivity, deep work is much more strategic to achieving increased productivity and getting the results you desire.
Deep work will make you better at what you do and provide a sense of true fulfillment that comes from craftsmanship.
It’s not just time management. It’s commitment management.
Time management means enlisting the help of effective tools to block out your calendar when you plan the week.
But it’s also commitment management. This means committing yourself to blocks of pure work, finishing a given task (regardless of time) and also giving yourself structured “allowances” for time to be distracted.
- Turning off your phone (and leaving it in the next room)
- No social media during those blocks of time
- Structuring an “allowance” for distraction
- Develop those habits
Once you commit to deep work and effective management of time and commitments, you’ll find your productivity increases and your schedule will open up. Don’t forget, even Tony Robbins has the same 24 hours in a way that you do.
Photo: Project Manager Klaus Bell smiles as he is gaining clarity on his dream business
11. Givers Gain
I’ll let you in on a secret: givers gain the most. They know that helping others helps them.
Once you shift from a fixed mindset to an abundance mindset, you realize that your friend’s success is your success. When any of us find fulfillment, we all do.
Firstly, when we teach, we learn twice. To really listen to my clients and truly care for them, I felt compassion and joy.
In my coaching business, I love helping others reach their full potential. Reach out to me if you want to know more about why I do what I do.
What we feel, we attract. Helping others achieve their dream businesses creates a huge sense of excitement, pride, and fulfillment.
When you add value to others, you increase your own value. Help others succeed and you’ll succeed.
I shared these eleven powerful tools, developed over the years with my clients, in order to help you reach new levels of success, joy, and fulfillment.
It is my wish that they empower you to take the next step to make your business dreams come true — no matter what stage you are in.
Whether you are working to grow an existing business, just started your dream business journey or are still forming ideas, these tools are meant for YOU.
With an open mind, put these strategies to the test and you may surprise yourself with what is possible. Implementing just one can have a powerful impact on your business (and life).
Every day is an opportunity to step forward. Build your momentum in small steps that add up to big leaps. Change and growth are within your reach — it is up to you to make it happen.
When you dare to dream big, you dare yourself to achieve. Now it’s time to go for it.