Episode 442: Identifying Your Needle Movers When Everything Feels Important (best of the podcast)

When we’re following planning advice that doesn’t work for perfectionists, we struggle to know which tasks to prioritise. We have SO MANY ideas and we want to do them all, perfectly, right away.

But we don’t trust ourselves to pick the right tasks to focus on or to do them consistently. We also don’t trust ourselves to handle the success, money and the attention that would follow…

Because of this, we prioritise the familiar and easy tasks on our to-do list and lament the fact we don’t have more time to get to the important marketing tasks we know we need to do.

But once you know how to identify your needle movers, busywork and procrasti-learning are naturally replaced with self-trust and ACTION.

In this episode I’ll help you learn how to identify your needle movers when everything feels important.

By the end of this episode, you’ll know which questions to ask yourself so identifying your needle movers is easy. You’ll also have a new way of thinking about needle movers so that you don’t feel so much pressure to pick the ‘perfect’ task or pressure to work on. 

Find the full episode transcript and show notes at samlaurabrown.com/episode442.

In This Episode You’ll Learn:

  • Why perfectionists find it so challenging to decide on their needle movers
  • 4 questions to ask yourself to help you identify your needle movers
  • A new way to think about needle movers so you feel less pressure to pick them perfectly
  • How to tell when it’s time to start getting more strategic with your needle movers
  • What my needle movers have looked like at different points in my business

Featured In The Episode:

Free Training: How To Plan Properly As A Perfectionist With Power Planning

If you want to get shit done without burning out, I invite you to watch the free training I’ve created on how to plan properly as a perfectionist with Power Planning. By the end of the series, you’ll be ready to start using Power Planning today to get your perfectionist mindset on your side so you can get out of your own way. Go to samlaurabrown.com/plan to watch the training today.

Take The Perfectionism Quiz To Get Your Personalised Perfectionism Score

If you’re not sure whether perfectionism is what’s making you get in your own way, I invite you to take The Perfectionism Quiz. 

After working with over 1,000 perfectionist entrepreneurs, I created this free quiz so you can get your personalised perfectionism score and discover which of the 5 areas of perfectionism you would most benefit from working on overcoming the most: whether it’s overthinking, procrastination, burnout, all-or-nothing thinking or fear of judgement.

It takes less than 3 minutes to get your unique result and be one step closer to getting shit done without burning out. If you love learning about yourself and you’re ready to get out of your own way, go to samlaurabrown.com/quiz to take the quiz today. 

Work With Me:

My coaching program Perfectionists Getting Shit Done (aka PGSD) teaches you how to plan properly as a perfectionist so you can get out of your own way in your business. To find out more about the program and be the first to know when the doors open, join the waitlist today: samlaurabrown.com/pgsd.

Listen To The Episode

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Hi, and welcome to another episode of The Perfectionism Project. A podcast full of perfectionism advice for entrepreneurs. My name is Sam Laura Brown, I help entrepreneurs release their perfectionism handbrake, so they can get out of their own way and build a fulfilling and profitable business. I’m the founder of the perfectionist getting shit done group coaching program, which is otherwise known as PGSD. And for even more perfectionism advice to help you with your business, you can follow me on Instagram @perfectionismproject.

Renae (Intro)
Hey, it’s Renae. This is the best episode where Sam breaks down how to identify your needle movers when everything feels important. You’re going to hear Sam, talk through what needle movers are, what you might be experiencing in your business right now and then the questions to ask yourself so that you can identify your needle movers a lot easier. Now, when you listen to this episode take into account that needle mover is a part of the power planning process. So once you’ve listened to this episode, heard Sam break down what needle movers are and how to identify them. I would then recommend following the link that Sam talks about right at the end of the episode to watch the free training on how to plan properly as a perfectionist using power planning and that will really support you in identifying your needle movers and putting them on your calendar. Anyway, enjoy the episode.

Sam Laura Brown
So let’s talk about needle movers. So what are needle movers? So if you remember, if you’ve listened to the episode in this series on how to power plan in three simple steps, the first step, that’s your Power Hour, when you are sharpening your AX, you’re planning in a way that makes execution way more impactful and effective. That involves putting your needle movies and your clean rest your guilt free rest into your calendar, your digital calendar, iCal or Google Calendar. And committing to those plans, knowing that they’re flexible, they can be changed, because we have the little tweaks knowing that it’s not rigid, but we are putting in in order our commitments might be a full time job might be for example, when I was breastfeeding, Lydia, or throughout the day, had to put that in my calendar as a commitment. And I couldn’t move those times around. But I knew that at some point I need to spend whatever time it was feeding her.

So like that kind of thing can be a commitment, appointments, whatever we have commitments, then we schedule an hour clean rest a little more than we’re comfortable with. And then we schedule in our needle movers, which is what we’re going to be talking about in this episode. Because a lot of times, like if you’re someone who does a lot of procrasti-learning, and maybe eat lunch at your desk, while watching a marketing video, that kind of thing. You’re constantly doing particularly marketing programs, and you are just looking for the best strategy and you love learning, you’re a continuous learner.

A lot of times like when learning becomes procrasti-learning, what differentiates that is that when we’re learning in the most helpful way possible, we learn, we execute, and then like we learn through doing and through reflection, this is what we really focus on in PGSD, that kind of learning learning through implementation. And then when we’re procrasti-learning, it’s really because we’re lacking self trust that we can trust that we are choosing the most important thing that we can trust that if we take action, then an action is actually going to pay off.

It’s much more comfortable to be in this state of like, just consuming things and getting that kind of productivity hit that way. And feeling like well, you know, I’ve been told my whole life that knowledge is super important. And I should be learning and like, yes, it is. But the best kind of knowledge is from experience. And so we want to make sure that like if you’re if you’re someone who’s been procrasti-learning a lot, I get it, I’ve been there. I know what that pool is like to just want to learn all the things and see how everyone else is doing it. And it might also involve, you know, if you’re writing a sales page, you’ve got like 17 tabs open with everyone else’s sales pages. You’re looking at everyone else’s social media and like, what are they posting? And what’s their engagement like, and how do they do this thing did that is just stemming from lack of self trust, particularly around needle movers.

Again, trusting that we’re choosing the right thing to do. We’re like in this perfectionist thinking all or nothing, that there’s right and wrong, there’s only one right thing and everything else is wrong with really like pretty much everything’s right. And implementation is what makes it right. So just choose something implemented, learn from that. But we’re in this thinking that we need to pick the right thing. And we probably haven’t, we can’t trust ourselves to do that. And even if we did pick the right thing, we can’t trust that it’s going to actually like we’re going to be able to execute on it in a way that will actually get the result. So this is what has us when it comes to procrasti-learning we might learn something and it seems to make sense. It seems to be the right thing. But then we don’t trust ourselves to be able to do it to execute on it consistently sustainably productively and courageously.

So we try and look for another strategy that is also right, that we could execute more easily because we’re lacking that self trust around execution implementations. Obviously, we’ve talked about that a lot in this series and how planning properly really sold for that and allows you to do marketing strategies that weren’t available to you before you had this skill set of execution and implementation. So when it comes to the needle mover, it’s it’s important to understand what they are. But also in this episode, I’m not going to be getting too much into like looking at what’s really effective and efficient. And going into that because in the second part of this series, what I talked about was that we want to focus on doing the most important things in first of all a consistent and sustainable way.

Then once we have got that skill set around consistency and sustainability, we’ve developed that muscle then we can really look at doing what is really effective and efficient. So this is where batching tasks come in. But also what’s effective, like there are going to be so many ways to get to your goal. And so many different things you can do, but looking at what is the most effective thing, ie, what’s getting give me leverage, ie, if I put energy, like an hour of time into things into, you know, I have an hour of time I could put into anything, what hour like, where can I put that hour, so I get the biggest return for that time? That’s what we’re really starting to look at once we have consistency, and sustainability. But if you can relate to what I’ve talked about in this series, and you’re not planning properly, yet, I don’t want you to get caught up in that.

So I’m not going to be going too far into that we talk about that inside PGSD. But with this, what I really want to be talking about is a few questions that you can be asking yourself to help you identify your needle movers and also a standard around your needle movers so that you don’t get caught up in the perfectionist thinking of I need to pick the perfect thing and the right thing. Because a lot of times, what we do is that we see that other people have had a journey to get to where they are they’ve tried a whole lot of things that haven’t worked or that they did for a while and they found something else. And we think like, I just want to skip all of that. Like if everyone has to spend time doing the wrong things to figure out the right things, so to speak. I want to skip that bit. That just sounds like a waste of effort.

So what I’m gonna do is I’m just gonna spend some extra time thinking, researching procrasti-learning. So I can figure out exactly what the right thing is to do from the beginning. So I don’t waste any time. But I’m going to talk about what I want to focus on directionally correct. And what that has looked like for me over my business journey, just to give you a bit of an idea, versus the perfect right thing, because a lot of times most of the time, that is either has us in complete inaction standstill. So even though I busy researching things, and thinking about things, that we aren’t actually making decisions that we need to make, we aren’t actually moving forward gets very frustrating to be there after a while and like shameful at some point, when we’re like I have been thinking about this for so long.

So we want to make sure that we are thinking just about what is directionally correct rather than perfect, because as well, if we do actually happen to decide something, then we are if I focus on what’s the perfect right thing, so I can avoid wasting any kind of effort and making any wrong decision and so that my plans work immediately. So I don’t have to feel any shame or like any vulnerability in the journey of figuring things out. That we’re overthinking, we’re second guessing we’re constantly changing our decisions. And going back into research mode, because on how we’ve we found this other person that you teach this thing. And now I need to consider that with everything else I know and make the decision again, like we it’s, it doesn’t work to be that. And we know that. And yet we have that pool towards that.

So I just want to share some things in this episode that’s going to help. And the process for figuring out what your needle levers are just some simple questions that you can ask yourself during your power hour that are going to help you to figure it out. And as you go on, this is the beauty of it that being in this learning cycle that you’ll be in when your power planning and learning how to ask yourself better questions and not needing to be told what questions you ask yourself. But like I love in the weekly review, like we share, here are the five different prompts to ask yourself, so many PGSDers in their persistence log in the forum. They have like here, you know the base prompts.

And here’s some other prompts are like here, I’m not doing those at all. And here my own version of this. And that’s such a beautiful thing. That’s what we want to develop the self trust, to do it our way and to be able to consider what others are doing. So it’s not like oh, I can look at what anyone else is doing. Because I think it’s going to influence me too much. And I won’t be able to trust myself not to just fall into doing what they’re doing. Instead, were able to take on things not too much, not just to this point and procrasti-learning, but we’re also able to adapt and iterate over time so that you over time will figure it out for yourself. What questions help you to identify your needle movers.

So the ones I’m going to be sharing in this episode are really to help you in the beginning when you’re in that first three months of power planning, what I want you to be focusing on and then as you go as you are building up that consistency, that sustainability which could very well have happened well and truly by that three month period, that three month mark, that you will then have so much more self trust and more of a skill set around this so that you will be able to figure out how to to identify what is most effective and most efficient for you to do.

So, when it comes to like, what is the process for figuring out your needle movers? And what are they like needle movers basically, are the tasks that are going to move your business forward. And we love to spend a lot of time in busy work, as in the tasks that don’t move the business forward, or the tasks that move it forward, but not as much as other tasks would, if we had the courage if we were willing to be vulnerable. If we were willing to put ourselves out there to be seen that like, we’re choosing the least effective tasks were ticking off the easy things instead of the important things, because we want to feel busy, without feeling vulnerable.

And I talk about this a lot on the podcast how with perfectionism, it’s a strategy to avoid shame. And we like to avoid feeling vulnerable. We also have this belief, that effort is a sign of inadequacy. And so like navigating something like when the result might not be guaranteed, or it’s going to take a while to get the result. That’s really vulnerable. And so as soon as it looks like things aren’t going to be working out perfectly, this maybe has happened, like you’ve done a workout challenge. And you’ve like done the workouts perfectly for a few weeks. This means speaking from experience, what I did so many times like a decade ago now, but would do the first four weeks perfectly. But at that four week mark I was expecting like I should be looking different by now I should have the results by now.

And so because I didn’t that felt so embarrassing. And I wasn’t even conscious of this, I’d be like, oh, like around week five, I just always have this issue with motivation. And of course, perfectionist wanted to go back to week one. So I do that a few weeks later, I’d start again at week one. So I could do it all perfectly, never making it all the way through. And it was just because it felt vulnerable to be in this period, where I was showing up fully and I wasn’t yet getting results because I was making that mean something about me that me putting in effort and not getting a result meant that I was inadequate.

And so when it comes to figuring out our needle movers like we need to be willing to be on a journey like to figure this out over time, and to not just have everything work instantly and all of that. So it’s really important to keep that in mind. The needle movers are the things that move the business forward. And it’s not the busy work things. And a lot of that, especially in the beginning, like I’m still figuring out for myself needle movers versus busy work. And it’s just gotten more evolved like my busy work, like productive procrastination has gotten more advanced. So it is stuff that still seems to make sense.

So for me, it’s like spending time creating Instagram content, that that that’s so like, at a certain point in time, that was a real needle mover for me in the business, and made total sense. And if someone looked at my calendar and saw that they wouldn’t be like, Oh, that’s procrastination. But based on my goals, and the plan that I have to get there for that, that it isn’t the most effective thing. This is the thing, there’s going to be things where you put an hour in and you’re going to get a certain amount of return for that hour. And I am getting some return from that. But it’s not as much say if I was being interviewed on a podcast or doing some super thinking about our PGSDers. And just different things like that, that it’s about knowing that it’s going to be different for everyone and for yourself at every stage of business and not expecting yourself either to be able to like figure this out perfectly and not putting a lot of pressure on yourself around this that you should know by now.

We love that one I shouldn’t I know better, I should know by now. But you shouldn’t because it’s an evolution. And your brain wants to do the busy work wants to do the easy things when we use our calendar as a tool for kindness. It’s going to have less desire to do them because it knows a break is coming it knows that you’re setting your day up in a way that actually supports it and helps it function at its highest capacity. We tend to do a lot of busy work when we’re trying to work all the time. And even if we’re not working many hours if we’re never deciding like this is what time this is rest time like your brains constantly having to decide do I work now do I work later? Do I work now or do I work later? I wish this person wasn’t taking up my time I love them but I should be working. Then when we’re working doing loads of laundry like you can relate to that like it’s just because your brain like the busy work is easier for your brain.

Of course it wants to do just know we’re always going to have that desire to do it and it’s going to like slipping there. But we can be conscious of it with our power hour with our little tweaks with our weekly review. A lot of times my little tweaks throughout the weeks is me noticing that something I put in there wasn’t actually a needle mover. And now I have the awareness around that. And I can delete it and often just like completely delete it without replacing it. Or I can delete it and replace it with something that is a needle mover, like is it true needle mover for me. So when it comes to the needle movers, again, it’s just tasks that move the needle. And initially, we’re going to be focused on it being directionally correct. So I’ll go into that in a second.

But here is the process the steps for figuring out what your needle movers are. This is especially before you add a point where you have consistency and sustainability because again, once you get that, then you’ll be really looking at okay, now that I have those skill sets, what are the most effective, efficient things I can do? And one of the most courageous things I can do, I talked about that more in the second part in this series. So first of all, the first step, super important can’t skip it is setting your growth goal and your quarterly milestones. So this is the first thing we’re going to do inside PGSD, that we have a growth goal, which is a 12 month revenue goal set a bit above what we currently believe is possible. And it’s not an unrealistic goal.

It’s also like our brain is going to think it is unrealistic. Because it has a very limited view. Based on self doubt impostor syndrome inadequacy staff. It has a misperception, misconception, it is delusional about what we can accomplish. So the goal set at the proper level feels unrealistic. And what we do when we have this growth goal is we are in the steps for this are inside the first module inside PGSD. And you’re able to get coaching on it and support with it. So you can really make sure you’ve set that goal well if you need it. And if you don’t want to get coached personally, you can hear others getting coached. And they’re going to have a perfectionist brain too. So it’s going to be relevant to you.

So we have this growth goal. And we ask ourselves, like what feels realistic for us? Like, what will we bet that we could make in the next 12 months? And then we just dial it up a bit until our brains like, okay, but I don’t know how I would do that. Like, it’s not this crazy amount, like if you’re making $10,000 now, you know like, I’m gonna make a million that feels like I just have to grow so much. And like, we want to look at instead like, okay, maybe I bet that next year, I could make $50,000. Or maybe it’s $20,000. Or maybe it’s $100,000. A lot of PGSDers how that grows goal around 50 to 100,000. A lot of times as well, we have PGSDers their goal is more than that, because they’re coming in making more, or it’s less than that. That’s okay. It’s really about what your belief level is at.

And so we look at like, what would I bet that I would achieve, and then we just dial it up a bit until the how isn’t as obvious, we might intellectually know, but we don’t believe we can execute on it or whatever. Like, what I actually how we get there, or I like present basically wanted to be like, that’s within reach, but present day me couldn’t get there, I would need to release my perfectionism handbrake a bit to get there that’s what we’re aiming for. We want a goal that enables us like it creates a container for us to remove, release our perfectionism handbrake, we’re not gonna read it all the way, just release it a little bit. And we want to make sure it’s so important for this, I won’t go too much into it, very passionate about this. But when we set realistic goals for ourselves, and we’re like people pleasing ourselves, because we don’t want to disappoint ourselves, if we don’t achieve it. Then really with that, like, what we’re saying is, it’s the fixed minded, perfectionist minded way to do it of like I’m not capable of growing.

So I’m just going to set what I could already achieve, if I might stay in the same as I currently am. And when we’re in that mindset, we think our talents, abilities, intelligence is fixed, it can change a little bit. So the goal may be a little bit more than what you’re currently doing. We also have a lot of attachment to looking smart and responsible. So we don’t want to be delusional with this big goal. Like there’s all this perfectionist stuff that comes up when we’re setting this kind of goal, which I love, because then we get to work on it. But when we’re setting a realistic goal, just know that your brain being delusional about what’s actually possible for you and there is so much more that’s possible.

And we want to create a goal for ourselves that is going to, as I said, create a container for us, like create a experiment in a lot of ways that we are then asked that goal asks us to release our perfectionism handbrake even just a little bit in order to achieve that goal. So I have a goal. As I said, it’s a 12 month revenue goal, because we have a business, businesses and charities alike need money. And it’s also just such a clean way to measure a lot of times, especially like money mindset stuff comes up with this, which is great too. But just having the goal be the goal instead of like it being around followers, or engagement, or different things like that, when, like, that’s us, we’re having a goal around money without wanting to admit it to ourselves.

So like, the reason why the follow is is so that we would be able to sell to them and make a certain amount of money. But it feels because of the money minds itself like vulnerable to have the goal around the money. So we set it around the followers or engagement or whatever else it is. So we set the goal around money, let the goal be the goal. It doesn’t mean money’s the only thing that’s important, but it is important. We want to acknowledge that.

So we have a 12-month revenue goal. And we have quarterly milestones that increase each quarter. So say for example, if your goal is 100k, you’re going to have 10k in quarter one as your goal 20k, then 30, then 40, instead of 25k, each quarter. And we do that so that we can grow over the year. Rather than being like, we have to have grown all the way there to be in the 100k version of ourselves from day one. So we have that goal, that’s a really important thing when it comes to the needle movers. Because if you don’t know what you’re working towards, and I see this, like, if someone is unclear on what priorities, like what is important to them, what are the needle movers, a lot of times, you can just bring it back to what goal are you working towards, and they will usually tell you 10 different things. And they have this and that.

So when we have our growth goal, we have the quarterly milestones. And then we have one to two outcomes per quarter that we focus on. That’s our theory as to how we’ll get there, that is going to create that outcome, that mini goal that we have for the quarter. So for example, if someone is a coach, we have all kinds of entrepreneurs inside PGSD. But if someone is a coach, or they have a service based business where they work with clients, their outcome might be sign 10 clients say they’re making the goal is 10k, sign 10 clients at $1,000. That’s the outcome. And so because we know like, that’s their theory as to how they’re going to get there.

And that is all like that’s made with the bigger goal in mind that they can now decide, okay, if my goal is to sign 10 clients at $1,000. Okay, needle mover for me is making sure I have $1,000 offer that I can sell them a needle mover for me is, so they do console calls, doing console calls, doing sales calls, and all these other things that might seem important, and would be just like us kind of winding and weaving along and like things that might be helpful. But for example, in that case, if they just need 10 people to sign up with them, they don’t need to grow their audience to 100,000 people in order, like it’s like, let’s just take the audience you have even it’s 200 people and figure out, like, what are your needle movers if your audience didn’t grow very much like there might be a time and place to grow your audience.

But let’s just have a think about, like, what would this look like, if it was easy, you would just sell the people like trusted the people you have, like, well, their friends and family, they’re not gonna buy whatever, they will have networks like just opening your mind to different things. Anyway, this all comes up as we do it. And it’s a beautiful part of the process, but you have that outcome for one or two outcomes for the quarter. And then you’re able to figure out better what is directionally incorrect and what isn’t. And when we don’t do this, and we just have it be like the the annual goal, the quarterly goal, and then we have like, a lot of PGSDers initially when I have like 10 outcomes, and a lot of them are like, do what’s best for my clients. I want to grow more on social media, like they’re kind of vague things, then we coach them on like, Okay, here’s actually what those are going to be.

And we want to narrow this down to one to two, so it gets super clear. So it’s okay, like, it’s normal, to like, do all the things. But if you’re feeling so overwhelmed with what to do, and like it’s such a struggle to get everything done, then you’re like everything, that everything is part of the problem is that you are thinking you need to do more than you actually have to do. So we want to make sure that we have that growth goal, we have the quarterly milestones, we have that one to two outcomes that we is our hypothesis for achieving that quarterly milestone. Again, like with how plenty hotspots where we can update it. Same with that to the outcomes. But it’s so much easier to have a plan and then adjusted than to not have a plan and just be figuring it out as you go and like hoping and praying that it all works out.

So that’s the very first thing you need that Northstar you need that it’s like to think about my driving analogies it’s probably know by this point, but if you think about if you’re driving and you don’t know where you’re trying to end up, then you can have a very productive day of driving, productive feeling in the sense that you could be driving around all damn day. You are driving fast, maybe you turning noise if any noise during your reading maps or whatever like you’re driving, but it’s not going to add up to anything because you don’t even know where you’re driving to. Whereas if you have a destination in the GPS, or in your mind, if it’s something you’re familiar with, like I need to go to the grocery store, then you know, what you need to do to get there.

And as we talked about with like the Google Maps rerouting and thinking of little tweaks that way, if an accident happens, if something comes up, if you have to leave home five minutes later than you’d planned or whatever, you’re able to adjust and still get to the grocery store. But if you don’t know that, that’s where you want to go, then could never get like, you’re going to have the most productive feeling day, week, month year. And it’s not going to add up to anything we want to have a direction. So I’m going to talk more about this directionally correct thing in a second. But we want to make sure there’s a direction, there’s a Northstar. Because that tells us whether driving down this certain road is a needle mover or not.

And we love just like driving around the streets, saying like, I’m just going to trust that I’m going to get somewhere that is going to be where I want to end up. And I don’t want to put too much pressure on myself, you know, so I’m just going to drive. And that is not a kind thing to do to ourselves, I talked about that in the last episode, it is not kind to yourself to have this desire to make a contribution and an impact and the ability to do so. And then just tell yourself this story that the only way to get to that would be to put pressure on yourself, and you don’t want to do that. So you’re just going to be okay with not getting there. No, you just put a destination in the GPS and you learn how to drive without it being a stressful experience. Like that’s what we’re doing.

So you need to have the Growth Goal, quarterly milestones, and the one to two outcomes for that. And inside PGSD, what we have to do is so when you sign up, you will learn about the growth goal, how to set that. And you will think about your outcomes for the full 12 months like your one to two outcomes for each quarter. But don’t be too focused on that just focus really on the one to two outcomes that you’re aiming towards that or your your GPS destination. For the first milestone, trusting future, you will figure out what it is because we can get really caught up in like, oh my goodness, I don’t actually know like in quarter four, how I’m actually going to make that much money or like, you don’t need to know that. Quarter three, you when they do their quarter three review, or even quarter two you at the end of that is going to figure that out. So trusting again, this process, the PGSD process is so much about building self trust. So you don’t need to know it all now. You’re not going to because this is a goal you haven’t achieved before.

So your brain isn’t going to think like, Okay, we know exactly how to get there. And we already believe we can 100% do it like, so we’re going to do that. And in that module in PGSD, I talk about like the five stages of pursuing your growth goal and how you like have this new goal high. And then you ghost your goal. And there’s like all these things that happen that are completely normal. So super important that you familiarize yourself with that as well. So you have your goal, milestones and you want to outcomes. Then a question, this is a guiding question, three, actually, that can help you just when you’re in your power hour. And you’re at the stage where you’ve got your list of things that your brain has said, this is everything we need to do.

And you’re going through, okay, what’s a needle mover for me what isn’t because this is so important when it comes to like how PGSDers are able to get everything done without burning out. It’s because they are very constrained in their definition of everything. They’re able to and not perfectly like we’re not aiming for perfection. But they’re able to say, well, this is important. And this is important this week. And this is important, but I could do it next month and like just being able to be clearer and more specific about what everything is. So instead of trying to accomplish this endless to do list, and I’m feeling completely inadequate that we can’t to be like actually, everything is like a fifth of this list. And if I get that done, then I’m getting everything done. That is important right now. And I’m trusting future me to be able to do the things they need to do when the time comes.

And I’m not in this, like when we feel like we have to get everything done. And it’s a super long list. And we have to do that right this second. It’s because we want our goal to prove like achieving that goal would have us feeling like maybe we are good enough. Maybe we are successful, but we’re in such a rush to it because we’re in a place of inadequacy. And so that’s part of what the Growth Goal teaches you because you will experience failure, you will experience obstacles, you will experience challenges. That’s part of it. That’s part of being growth minded, as well as learning how to experience that and not be a problem and not be deterrent and not be something that completely throws you off.

We’re not like here’s this smooth, flat road with not a speed bump, not a pothole. It’s like you don’t want to learn to drive in that condition because that’s not like the conditions of life. And so instead, let’s actually have you learn to drive in like a normal road where there might be, I don’t know people walking across the road at some point stop signs, there might be a pothole as I said, there might be a detour like, let’s actually learn to drive in real life and, and not have to put our lives on hold or like be in these perfect circumstances all the time. Or like I’ve been talking about, like the cabin in the woods, like, if you’re like, Well, I can be productive when I’m in the cabin in the woods, or in a hotel room, like, unless you want to live in the cabin in the woods, or you want to live in the hotel room, without anyone else around, then why not just learn how to do things in your actual environment that you’re currently in.

So that’s the same with a growth goal, we’re not like, okay, let’s set a goal. When you look at a kind of against a single obstacle, a single setback, that’s not going to help you. And that’s like us, giving into that perfectionist mindset of thinking, we can’t handle shit when we can. So here are a few questions that are going to help you figure out decide upon what your needle movers are. And knowing that it’s a little tweaks in the weekly review that will really help you. And then we do a quarterly review an annual review as well in PGSD. I’m really excited for the year in review call that we’re going to have in December, we did one last year as well, for everyone to celebrate together.

So if you’re already PGSDer, or you’ll be joining us for this enrollment, make sure you look out for the emails about that, because that’s going to be so fun. So trusting that you will over time refine your needle movers is a big part of this. So here are a few questions. First of all, if I had half the time and twice the courage, what would I commit to accomplishing this week, just to help for question half the time, so you can’t do everything that you think you should do, you have to simplify, you have to remove over complication. Or a lot of times, this means you have to replace a task that’s less effective with one that’s more effective. So instead of having a task that would take you five hours, and you get, say five hours worth of benefit, if that makes sense. You replace it with a one hour task that’s gonna give you a 5x return on that.

And that task might require more courage, because it’s new and scary. It might require more courage because it’s so simple and easy that your brain is freaking the fuck out that how could it be this easy to be successful, or I’ve already been doing this and it’s working, I feel like I need to be doing something new. So just know that courage in a task and for a project can look different. It’s not always the new scary thing, though. Sometimes it is going to be putting yourself out there being more seen more visible. Sometimes it’s just continuing to do what works. And not letting your brain do new things. Not letting your brain overcomplicate things, and try and create this like, whole, I need to work hard to be deserving. So I’m gonna make this task card. So I don’t feel like I’m getting away with something.

So if I had half the time than twice courage, what would I commit to accomplishing this week? Just a question you can ask yourself. And this isn’t a minority. But alongside that, it’s like if someone else came to you, and they had the kind of business that you had now at the same stage your at, what would you tell them to do to grow your business. And that can really reveal to you like the things that you know, are important to do, but you might have dismissed them because you don’t have the self trust to execute. You don’t have the belief that you could execute on that effectively, of that it would work out for you. And just like doesn’t mean you have to do those things, but just consider it. What are those things that if someone else came to you to like, look, I had this kind of business, here’s where I’m at, what should I be focusing on?

Like, these are my goals. This is what I’m working towards this quarter, this specific outcome and the monetary amount, the monetary goal. What do you think I should do? Answer that because it’s like, when were the one who asked to execute this is like, why? It’s so easy, and I definitely notices. Everyone has advice on what I could be doing in my business. And it’s very easy for people to just give unsolicited business advice, and to know what you should do in your business. And the reason that is, I’m sure I’m guilty of that too. It’s easier from the outside. Like if you’re at a restaurant, you’re like, ah, they should do this and this and this and like that would be so easy and whatever. That it’s easy to give that advice when we’re not the one who has to execute on it. We’re not the one who has to to compare that with the other priorities that we have the resource Is that we have.

And so it’s just helpful to ask ourselves, like, if we were giving that business advice to someone else, what will we say? So that we don’t shoot down ideas before they even have time to come up. Because we’re already like, Well, no, I don’t have the competence to do that, or I don’t have the time to do that. It just be like, I’m going to consider it. And I actually did this really recently with preparing for the PGSD launch. And I just did like with my whiteboard, I was like, if I was a launch consultant, and someone asked me for advice on if they had this kind of business, and this is like, how previous owners had gone and whatever, like, what would they like, what would I tell them to do?

And I just did this big brain dump of like, I’d say this, and I’d say this, and then after that, it wasn’t like, okay, now I need to execute on a list. Then after I had all these ideas, I really let myself I think it took maybe like an hour, I let myself just be like, Okay, what else would I say what else and it wasn’t just about like doing more and doing more, but be like, Hey, tell me more about what’s worked for you in the past? And like, why did that work? And just like the questions I was asking, as is like imaginary launch consultant, was so helpful, like just being able to generate ideas without having to immediately judge if I could execute on them, and like, subconsciously squashing it, like subconsciously don’t believe I can do to just like, oh, here is what I would tell someone else.

And now, I can put my CEO hat back on. And look at that and think about the resources that we have the time that we have the goals, again, that we have, like, I can check, like as if I had gotten that advice from a launch consultant. And now I can make a plan for implementation. And that was what I have implemented for the launch. So ask yourself in that kind of way, like What advice would I give someone else knowing you don’t have to do it all but just like, you see what your brain comes up with? Because when I did that, like the first few ideas were like, more obvious ones. But then as time went on, like those ideas and sparked these ideas that I had never even thought about that, which is so obvious, but I hadn’t even thought about that. Because I had like these ideas in my head about like things having to be a certain way, or I’ve always done it that way, or whatever. If I just came in with fresh eyes, it was so helpful.

So that’s the question, if I’d have time, twice the courage, what would I commit to accomplishing this week? And bonus question. If I was advising someone else who had the same business, what they should be focusing on this week, or this quarter, whatever. Like when you’re setting your growth goal, and like doing quarterly planning, and that kind of thing, this might be a great time to ask, like, if I was an external business consultant, what advice would I give here? A lot of us find that super easy to do to get that kind of advice, so why not use it to our advantage?

Another question is, what would my future self tell me, let me talk about the future self a lot inside PGSD, and your future self. I like to talk to my future self at different stages of life. So one of my favorites that people talk about a lot, and I definitely agree with is like future me that’s 90 years old. And having that like, really big picture perspective. And then coming back, it’s often like when I just need to be reminded of what really matters, like don’t sweat, the small stuff, that kind of thing, which has been so present and grateful for what I do have like, it really helps me appreciate things. But it’s also helpful to ask like, Okay, what would that version of me tell me to do?

But also I find particularly to the time and place for that one. But when it comes to this stuff, I’m thinking about, like, what would me who has achieved my current goal. So like, not super far off into the distance me, but like me a year from now, what would they tell me to do? More importantly, like, what would they remind me? And I like to do sometimes a little like q&a with my future self where I’ll ask a question like, again, like that an external consultant. And then I’ll journal out like the answer without overthinking it. And then I’ll ask another question, and it’s just a way to access my brain effectively.

So I do that or like future me so lately, I’ve been doing like me when I’m so at the moment I am, How old am I? 31. So like, 40 year old me? And what would that version of me tell me because they have achieved my upcoming goal and goal beyond that. And if they were to mentor me and advise me, what would they tell me to focus on to not do what would they remind me? And that really helps give me a perspective. Again, all this is about getting different perspectives and just a different way to look at things because when we write out our list of everything to do as our present day self with our present day fears and doubts and insecurities at play. It can If we are trying to then solve for what are the needle movers from that place it becomes really challenging because this is where we’re in the mindset of like well everything’s important.

And also nothing’s probably going to work. So I need to make sure I do a lot of things to compensate for that. But when we check in with if I had half the time twice the courage, and we check in with like, what would an external consultant tell me what my future self tell me? And then another question I love, then we’re going to just touch on directionally correct versus perfect. But what would this look like if it was easy? And the goal for this question, is to just remove over complication, to remove unnecessary tasks, to consider new ways to do things.

So you can see with all these questions, once you have your goal, your Northstar, your destination, it’s really just about considering things in a different way, giving yourself some different perspectives to look at it in, and some perspectives that are less insecure, and less an inadequacy. So what would this like if it was easy? I can Oh, I’m constantly asking myself that question. And it’s not. What would this look like if I had the perfect circumstances? It is, if I was, in my current circumstances, how can I make this easier for myself? Again, what complication could I remove? What rules am I following here that I might not have to follow?

So say, for example, maybe like, you know, it’s an easy way for me to post consistently on Instagram. But when I do post, every caption needs to be 2000 characters, like, Hmm, maybe if this was easy, I would just write, I don’t know, 200 characters, and let that be okay. Like, there’s all these little rules we have about how to do things, subconsciously, I need to I have to I should, that we are following when they don’t even help us get better results. But we just, we’ve either been told them and we’ll just kind of adopt them without questioning, or a lot of times, they did work for a time and now, they’re not necessary anymore.

And we just haven’t checked in on that. So it’s also super helpful to just look at like, what assumptions and assumptions Yes, assumptions. Lately, it’s just been a challenge to get some words out, what assumptions am I making here. So I will often do this. Say, for example, with Instagram, this was super helpful for me, like that example I gave was me. I was like, okay, my Instagram posts need to dot dot dot. And then I wrote out how I would finish that sentence, they need to have long captions, they need to look this certain way they need to do that. Like, I just saw all these rules I had that I oftentimes wasn’t even consciously aware of that. I was like, when I was writing in my list of like, I need to post on Instagram that it was with all these criteria attached.

And of course, so many of those rules weren’t actually helping at all. And we’re making it really hard to create and also really hard to get the best results. So you don’t have to do this all the time for everything. Definitely don’t do that. Because that’s overwhelming. But just every now and again, picking something and say, well, if this was easy, what would it look like? My podcast is a great example of this. Currently, right now I’m sitting on my bed. Lately, I’ve just felt inspired to just sit in bed and chat. So that’s what I’m doing.

This episode is not going to have things edited out of it. I’m just chatting. I have briefed up points. I’m just like, I’m, I’ve just answered the question for the podcast. If this was easy, while also thinking about the podcast, I love that long form that chatty, they have tangents. I’m just learning to be easy. Instead of okay, I need to write a script, which doesn’t work for me personally. I need to make sure I don’t say anything the wrong way. So I’m going to like re record myself saying things if I mess something up. Like for me that episode, the time it takes me to record this is pretty much the time you see like for how long this episode is. Because that was easy for me. But for someone else, it’s easier if they have a script.

So it’s knowing what works for you. But just asking yourself if it was easy, and if my way could work because a lot of people would be like, that is not a professional radio podcast. But at this point, we have 2 million downloads beyond that. So yeah, like it’s working. And I’m enjoying it, it has removed a lot of resistance. For me to recording episodes. If it was easy, I wouldn’t be the one who’d put up the show notes blog post. I just do the episode, right with a few dot points chat, and it would get put up where it needs to get put up. And so that’s what happens.

So just asking ourselves, what would this look like if it was easy, rather than what would this look like if I did it the same way as everyone else? What would this look like if it was perfect? I was talking about one of the PGSD coaching calls how we have this thing of like, if it’s urgent, like say there’s an external deadline, whether from a boss client, whatever, we have this belief of like it doesn’t have to be perfect but because it’s urgent they needed right away, so it can’t be. So it doesn’t have to be. But if we have lots of time to do things, then it should be perfect because we have the time to make it perfect.

And I talked about in the most recent episode, like, it’s so beneficial to have a time set around a certain outcome we’re creating for ourselves, whether that’s like recording a podcast or whatever, to have a time around that. And it just helps us not be in this mindset of like, well, I have all day to do it. So I should be able to do it perfectly. To just be like, I’m gonna do my best at this time. So anyway, what would this look like if it was easy? If it wasn’t complicated? If it was simple, if my way could work? What would it look like, and you don’t have to do that. But just explore again, if we think like every idea we have, if you find yourself like struggling, like I don’t know what to focus on, it’s probably because when you have these opportunities to ask questions that would help you figure that out, you’re thinking that you have to implement every idea you have.

So that’s overwhelming, tend to long to do list, but it’s letting ourselves have a lot of shitty ideas. And knowing that we don’t have to execute on all of them. And a lot of times, the purpose of an idea is just to spark another one, one that would be more helpful and effective. So we really want to get out of this like, especially when we’re thinking like, we’re a smart person, very intelligent, that we think like we should only have good ideas until we block ourselves from having all these ideas. Because we think we have to have smart ones and implement all of them. Instead, I can have lots of shitty ideas, and I don’t have to do anything with them. But I’m just gonna see what my brain comes up with.

So it’s really important part of this process. So I’m just going to quickly talk about directionally correct versus perfect. To share a bit of my experience with this. Because I, throughout my journey, I started my business as a blog in 2013. I have, like initially, it just follows is of like, just focusing on what was there directionally correct. And as my business has grown, that I have gotten more clear on what to focus on. And, as I said, still figuring this out, but initially, like when where you want to be so I knew I wanted to be at some point full time in my business, that was like the initial major direction. And then I didn’t have all the stuff I’m talking about on this podcast, like I didn’t have a resource like that. So I was just like, I didn’t think for the first bit I had like goals or anything. Like I just knew at some point, I wanted to be full time, but I just I really, I didn’t have the growth goal. anything close to that.

I didn’t have any I was working from the to do list. I just like all this stuff, is from me, having experienced what it’s like to go from not having this to having this and also helping PGSDers grow from not having this or having this and just seen how beneficial it is. So I wish that I had had the Growth Goal and power planning sooner. And what I teach inside PGSD, and this journey that I’m going to overview would be so fast tracked compared to this. So don’t be listening to this thinking like, oh my god, it’s gonna take me that long. I was really just like, figuring it out myself. I didn’t have someone to help me with all the perfectionist stuff to help me plan properly as a perfectionist.

But the point is, it doesn’t need to be perfect, and you just need to pick something execute on it. And especially in the beginning, we’re focusing on that at any point in time. directionally correct. So you need to know the direction to know what’s directionally incorrect. But let’s rewind in time, to 2013. So as I said, my like direction, my vague direction was I want to be full time in my business. At the time, I was a uni student studying law, and commerce majoring in finance. I graduated in 2015. So I was still in that working part time jobs that like almost full time hours. And I started my blog, I won’t go into the full story, but I have said that on the podcast. But let’s talk about my directionally correct things.

So I didn’t know niche research. I didn’t know I had no paid off or product in mind. I had no expertise, quote, unquote, I was just guided by so with this blog, creating what I wish I could find. And I was sharing links to everyone else’s personal development blog. So what I wish I could find my blog was close my 20s. And I wished that I could find advice that was I guess, it’s still like, not around being in your 20s but around perfectionism. And what I’m sharing which is like, there were just people who were like, oh my god, life so perfect and aesthetic, and like, here’s how to do it perfectly. And like I just thought I couldn’t relate to that.

Well, they were like when I’m so broke, and it was like, where’s the person who’s honestly trying but also struggling and there not like whinging about being broke and they’re also not living this like perfectly aesthetic life like I just wanted something relatable, that was helpful. And so I didn’t have any opinions at the time on in personal development, I’ve only just gotten into it, even though I’ve always loved like Oprah and everything. I only had just discovered the personal development world, truly. And so I didn’t have any like advice to share, like recording a one hour podcast episode. Hell, no, I could never do that. Even writing a blog post where I was sharing my own opinion. And so I was just sharing links to like, Oh, here’s this article I read. And I found that helpful.

Oftentimes, I wouldn’t even say why, just like here’s this here’s that. I didn’t tell you in my personal life, I had, like all the perfectionism stuff going on. I won’t go into that side of things. I’ve shared that on the podcast before, but so my own way, but I was doing what was directionally correct, which, for me, was just getting started and doing something that was directionally correct for me, I just need to start, I just need to make some decisions, and get going. So I did that. In 2014 and 2015, I started to develop opinions and experiences and began sharing that on my blog, I started an Instagram account, which I didn’t tell anyone about. But I started an account, I still didn’t have any way that people could pay me.

And I was focusing on, like, having more traffic to my website and building an email list. And to me that time, what was directionally correct was just keeping at it. Building an audience like beginning to, honestly, what in hindsight, would have been directionally correct is like having a way to make money, but I didn’t. So building an audience that was still directionally incorrect. And finding my voice was directionally incorrect. So like, showing up writing things, 2016, I was more focused on Pinterest marketing, I had a more refined strategy for building an email list and starting to see real growth. This is when I started, like invest instead of trying to piece everything together myself, like actually getting coaching and doing programs and things that would help me started to see real growth around this time.

So we’re like three years in now. How my family first business friend who I’m still friends with Jen, I was creating an emotional online course about habits. I made $3,000 ish from that. So again, what was like directionally correct here, for me, it was just trying things and like, a way to make money through an online cause different ways of marketing, like just trying things like that was still what was directionally incorrect for me. And then 2017 and 2018. This is obviously like a very condensed, glossed over version. But what I’m trying to get across with this, it’s just like, how what’s directionally incorrect changes over time and evolves and at different stages, it’s going to look different and you don’t need to be at like ahead of yourself, or trying to think too far down the road.

Just like thinking about those questions they ask and what’s directionally correct. 2017 2018 I quit my full time accounting job went to part time work, I started a YouTube channel and then a podcast. I started sharing my own quotes on Instagram, which is something that now is like, super common for people to do, but at the time, like, no one was doing that. But I felt like well, I just want to like share bits and like put my name on it and that feels super vulnerable, but I’m gonna do it. So I started doing that. launched my one on one coaching offer rebrand to samlaurabrown and the perfectionism project instead of Smart20s. Stopped YouTube to go all in on the podcast. I was also freelancing as a ghostwriter, doing Pinterest marketing for other businesses, as pretty much around then stopped writing blog posts, because I was focusing more on the podcast and Instagram and I hired my first contractor.

So for me what was directionally correct was quitting the full time job starting to do things my way. Like until that point, I’ve been trying things but I was still doing it and like the way everyone else was doing it. And at this point in time, I really started to explore like, what would my way look like, and doing it that way. Still, not all the time, but more so. 2019 launched PGSD and unclosed are the courses that I had created to focus solely on PGSD. So I could really see like, having my focus spread across so many things is stopping me from being all in on this one thing I really want to do. So I’m going to just be focused on PGSD. I talked to in person workshops in Brisbane and in LA, I did my first paid speaking engagement, expanding my network of business friends.

And in 2019, as well I quit my part time job and went full time in the business in 2020, and 2021. I was marketing through the podcast, email and Instagram, my a lot of my focus is on learning how to sell and before that I just kind of been like trying to create a lot of value and just mentioned what I was doing But I actually this points out of buying or selling, and really seeing how that’s beneficial for the be willing and hoping. And not just something that self involved or whatever the PGSD offer was evolving from a membership to a lifetime program, growing my team of contractors, setting business to run up without me in the day to day as much, I had my daughter in 2021.

So that influenced a lot of things as well, that became needle movers to me. And just getting more specific with who do I help? What do I help them with? How do I do that, like the operations behind the scenes and 2022 refining, the PGSD launch process, and the program itself, expanding my network of business friends further developing my skills as a leader, still marketing through the podcast and email and Instagram, but focusing more so on the podcast. And throughout that period, as well, what was actually correct for me a lot of times, like, once I got down to this, as I said, it wasn’t till 2016, investing in myself in coaching, in business coaches and mindset coaches, in programs on all sorts of different things, like really just investing in myself before I felt ready to was such a big, directional incorrect thing for me.

And I’m so glad that I did that. And that I, yeah, I was just able to, to not be in this mindset of like, my business needs to be more successful, and then I’ll invest in it, but like, investing in my business and myself is what’s gonna make it successful. So that needs to come first. So a lot of times, that too, was a hugely directionally correct thing for me. So I hope that kind of shares a bit more about like, what I mean, when I say directionally correct, that it is knowing, ideally, you have the growth goal, quarterly milestones and all of that. But knowing like, is this going to move me closer to my mountain, or further away from my mountain, my destination, and just letting that be okay, and then knowing as you like, when you’re far away from your mountain, there’s a lot of things that are going to be directionally incorrect. And then as you move closer and closer, it becomes clearer and clearer. Okay, this is the path I’m going to take like this is at least my hypothesis as to how to get to the mountain.

So over time, like initially, I was just like, finding my voice, trying things doing a whole lot of different things. Like I’ve tried so many different forms of marketing, different social media channels, working as a freelancer for other businesses. Like another thing that was actually incorrect was like saying no to that, like saying no, a lot of times has been a very directionally incorrect thing to do of like, saying no to working full time anymore. Saying no to doing the freelancing jobs, even though they were making me money. Like, it’s not just about saying yes to things also about saying no to things of like, well, this was something so say, for example, the full time job, when I was really far away from a mountain, this was something that was helping me get closer because I like that was supporting me financially.

And now that I’m getting a bit closer, I can see the academic job would help me do the same thing. And I’m making a bit of money not very much at all, when I went to my part time job, but I’m making some more money, and I have more confidence. And so now, what was originally directionally correct is no longer directionally incorrect. So I’m going to make a decision. So that’s how will you be thinking about it, especially in your first three months inside PGSD, just focusing on what’s directionally incorrect, not overthinking it, get the coaching and support if you find that you are and that is available to you. But to just know that it’s not about well, if I just find the perfect thing to do the perfect niche, the perfect offer the perfect marketing strategy, whatever, then I can skip like the messiness and the effort put into things that might not pan out.

Like, there’s so many things I’ve tried that I’m no longer doing, that were the stepping stones to getting to where I am, and you can’t skip those stepping stones. You can maybe have less stepping stones, but you can’t skip that there are going to be stepstone stepping stones. So I want to encourage you to let that be okay. And to think about okay, what’s there actually correct for me, having your growth goal, quarterly milestones with the outcome attached to that? If I had had the time and twice the courage, what would I commit to doing? If I was an external consultant consulting on this business what would I advise? What would your future self tell you remind you, and what would this look like if it was easy? Those are questions to help you decide on what are my needle movers and what aren’t my needle movers. And again, it’s not going to be perfect. It’s going to be a journey. It’s going to be figuring things out. and just doing what you can to move closer to that mountain and that’s a beautiful thing.

If you want to get shit done without burning out, then I invite you to watch the free training that I’ve created on how to plan properly as a perfectionist with power planning. By the end of the training, you’ll be ready to start using power planning today to get your perfectionist mindset on your side so you can get out of your own way in your business. To sign up and watch the training. Go to samlaurabrown.com/plan.

Author: Sam Brown