By definition, shift means “to move or cause to move from one place to another, especially over a small distance.” Think about that for a second. Shifts don’t have to be these huge, massive, super-grand gestures of change. Sometimes it can be small things that make a big difference. My goal is to get you to make small tweaks in what you’re already doing that will make a monumental difference in your immediate and long-term results. Another definition of shift is “a slight change in position, direction, or tendency.” See . . . there it goes again. The notion that big changes can only happen in big shifts is completely inaccurate! Small ones (i.e., slight changes or small distances) can and will actually get the job done just as nicely, if not better.
We’ve been lied to for most of our lives. We were all told that we had to make astronomical, enormous, and opulent changes in order to get the results we desire. For many of us, we have been left feeling like under- achievers— unsuccessful, unmotivated, or simply flat-out “not committed enough” to get the outcomes we want. I can use myself as an example.
For years, I struggled with managing my weight. I would constantly fluctuate between 210 and 250 pounds. I blamed it on the fact that I traveled too much to be consistent with a complex exercise and nutrition plan. But the moment I stopped making excuses and started making small changes in my nutrition and my exercise, I was able to get to my ideal size and feel great about my body. I had to recognize that small changes were just as potent as huge ones.
I believe that we focus too much on making massive changes instead of small, steady ones. This causes us to give up way too soon and settle for mediocrity, usually because of habits and thought processes. But greatness and excellence are at the finish line if we don’t forfeit them.
Here are some things you see daily, but whose hidden meanings you overlook:
• Big trucks rolling on small tires
• Big doors swinging on small hinges
• Big boats gliding effortlessly because of small propellers • Big building architectural designs drawn on small plans
• Big companies merging in small boardrooms
• Big ideas written out on small napkins, over a business lunch
• Big adults starting off as small embryos
• Big forests beginning with small seeds in the ground
• Big movements being initiated by small, yet powerful, groups of individuals
• Big amounts of wealth being controlled by a small percentage of the population
The point is that it’s the small things that make the biggest differences in your life and business. And it’s going to be the small things that make the most powerful difference for you as well. This reminds me of the Pareto principle, otherwise known as the 80/20 Rule.
• 20% of your effort produces 80% of your results.
• 20% of your wardrobe produces 80% of your outfits.
• 20% of employees produce 80% of the results in most companies. 20% of donors create 80% of the revenue for most nonprofits.
Only 20% of what you do daily is producing 80% of your actual results. The other 80% is what we call superfluous! It’s filler, not exactly necessary to the bottom line. The key to success, then, becomes finding out what your magic 20% is, and doing that 80% of the time. That’s how you 10× your results in life and business. That’s how you shift into a higher gear. We’re going to talk about a lot of this, and so much more. But again, it all goes back to the power of making shifts.
For example, we all know that 211° water is extremely hot; however, it doesn’t produce steam until it’s heated one extra degree. At exactly 212°, something magical happens. That superhot water transforms into steam, and steam powers locomotives, trains, ships, and all types of amazing machinery. What’s my point? What if I told you that you are only one shift away from a transformational moment in your life, career, money, relationships, parenting, physical health, business, ministry, and/or emotions? Most times, we feel as though we are miles and light-years away from the things we want. What I’ve learned is that most people are simply a few shifts away from breakthrough.
The above is an excerpt from the new book Shift into a Higher Gear: Better Your Best and Live Life to the Fullest (Berrett-Koehler Publishers, October 19, 2021), available now for preorder.