I love watching football games in the fall, and I’m praying that this whole COVID-19 thing blows over by the time September rolls around. I wouldn’t want to miss a thing, even if my Tennessee Titans have to go play on a rainy day at CenturyLink Stadium against the Seattle Seahawks.
Seahawks fans are called “The 12th Man” by their team, and next to the Kansas City Chiefs’ crowd, they’re the loudest stadium in the NFL. They make the game difficult for the visiting team, because it gets so loud that visitors can’t communicate when they have the ball. It makes the game more interesting to watch, because the Seahawks hardly ever get “blown out” at home. If you beat them, it’s usually by inches.
We like to watch professional athletes work because their success depends on delivering a winning strategy in a certain block of time. Unless you go to overtime, you have 60 minutes of play to stop your opponent scoring points in your end zone, and to get past their defense going the other way. So your performance has to be even more powerful in a city like Seattle, where it’s impossible to talk or hear what your teammates say as soon as you get the football.
But what about you, in your line of work? Are you working according to a set schedule, with deadlines? I think we’ve brought some of this dramatic effect to the men in our online mastermind groups, where we follow a book called The 12-Week Year by Brian Moran. It’s basically a way of committing yourself to achieving a certain goal by a specific date. Along the way, you learn to “score” yourself with daily, weekly and monthly metrics.
How to Score Your 12-Week Plan
I’d like to challenge you with a thought … would people pay money to see you in action? And don’t say, “Well, Big A, I’m a dentist, so people don’t even like to think about me doing what I do.” It doesn’t have to be an audience of millions for you to attract onlookers. If you’re one of the most highly skilled dentists in the world, you’ll be invited and paid to speak at conferences, mastermind groups online, lectures and labs where you’ll teach people or directly show them your skill.
I have a friend in the office next-door to mine whose business is day trading. Now I like what the stock market does, don’t get me wrong. I just don’t think I’d make it through the week if I had to take over his job. That didn’t stop me, however, from being able to appreciate his skill, wisdom and the difference between his office and mine. There was an entire row of TV screens when I went to visit his office, arranged so he could watch the global markets and make fast decisions. And the way he spoke about money was so casual, detached and unafraid.
Clearly, my office neighbor is not afraid of ending up in the “L” column when it comes to keeping score. He’s adapted to the fact that time is always on his heels, threatening to trip him up if he doesn’t pay attention. This might sound a little rough, but I believe you can learn to use time to your advantage, if you’re not afraid of keeping score on yourself. That’s what we teach people in our mastermind groups online to do.
In a nutshell, you’re going to prioritize 2-3 key projects, tasks or big items you’re working on for your business. Then, Brian’s book will teach you how to break those things down into actionable items you can score daily, weekly, monthly or however it best fits. Let’s say you’re a business coach, and you set the goal of adding three new clients by the end of the 12 weeks. From there, you reverse-engineer the steps it takes to get there, depending on how you acquire your leads.
Each week, once you’ve written those tasks out and committed to doing them, you’ll divide up the numbers you attach to them to get an average. That’s your score; it’ll tell you how well you’re hitting the mark toward achieving your goals. If you do this in the setting of mastermind groups the way we do, it becomes even better. Your fellow members can help you stay the course and be accountable for the activities you commit to.
Do you “time block” your calendar? I do now, but it wasn’t so long ago that I thought it was too complicated. I’d tried it once, and got so obsessed with managing every minute of my time, that I had no time left to be flexible. But the mastermind business is all about relationships, and relationships happen in real time. They don’t always respect your “Do Not Disturb” sign.
Well, as I talked through it with some of the men I mentor and coach, they helped me see the mistake I’d made. Time blocking is another “big rocks” exercise, if you’ve seen the demonstration. If you get those “big rock” items in the jar first - which represent things you have to get done - then you fill in the little ones as and where they fit after that.
With The 12-Week Year, I’ve mostly found my 12-week goals to be “little rocks.” You see, even though they’re part of my big two or three priorities for the quarter, by the time they’ve been divided up over 60 working days, they rarely amount to more than 30 minutes of my time each day. So even if I have a full stack of meetings, podcast interviews and coaching calls, it’s unusual for me to hassle with staying on track with them.
That leaves a challenge on the table - do you think it’s worth investing some energy into time-blocking your calendar? What could you accomplish in 60 working days, if you had your activities spelled out for you every day and all you had to do was show up and execute? You’d probably look at your life very differently, especially if you had a group of trusted advisors like a mastermind gathered around you.