There are a lot of things you could be doing when you’re just starting something.
You could be creating business cards and building a resume.
You could be designing a logo for your business.
You could be posting on LinkedIn.
Or you could be networking your ass off — just in case you meet someone important.
These things are all important, but doing them alone won’t make you successful. The most important things that matter (especially when you’re just starting out) is doing what gets you paid.
Let me explain.
Running for money
I’ll steal this example from Alex Becker’s “10 Pillars of Wealth” and hope he forgives me.
Imagine that you want to get rich. That’s easy enough, right?
Now, imagine that you are living in a universe where you get paid $100 every time you run a mile. What’s the fastest way to get rich in this world?
Say it with me: run as fast as you can.
There are a million things you could be doing:
- Getting ready for running
- Eating healthily so that you could run faster
- Buying new running shoes
- Hiring people to help you run or give you food/water when you need them
- Etc., etc., etc.
But even though all of these things are important, they are not the actions with the highest ROI. They are not what gets you paid.
If your goal is to get rich, then there is only one thing that you could be doing if you want to get rich as fast as possible: running.
Focus on action with highest ROI
Now back to the real world. Here it’s not that simple.
It seems oftentimes that there are so many things you could potentially do with your life, business and career, you just don’t know where to start.
It’s even worse considering just how much contradicting advice you get from people making money off giving advice.
After reading this article — go in a quiet room, get off Medium, turn your phone off, sit down and ask yourself: what action (or actions) have the most ROI for me right now?
There may be different answers depending on where you are at life and career and what you’re doing. Below are some examples that might provoke some thought.
If you want to be a writer, your highest ROI action is to write.
If you want to find a job, your highest ROI action is to send those resumes.
If you want to start a business, your highest ROI action is to sell.
If you want to pitch money for a non-profit organization, your highest ROI action is to pitch to as many investors as you can.
Focus on your highest ROI action. Let go of all else. All else is secondary.
Do what makes you most scared
I don’t know how this works, but it’s true.
Steven Pressfield in his book “The War of Art” talks about the internal force called ‘Resistance’. Well, this is it. Your body somehow already knows what you need to do. And it’s showing the direction with fear.
Do what makes you most fearful.
Use fear as your compass when you don’t know what you should be doing. Let it guide towards the highest ROI action.
In my current situation, I have 2 highest ROI actions that I could possibly be doing:
- Look for a job — or freelance projects — to pay the bills
- Write daily
Both of these actions have a lot of internal resistance. In other words, I am scared shitless of them.
It’s much easier to go build a social profile, think, prepare, strategize, etc. — but all of it is mere procrastination. Bringing more followers and likes doesn’t change anything in my reality. Polishing a resume for the 34-rd time doesn’t either.
But what I really should do if I want to achieve success is go towards my fear and do what makes me paid (or eventually will).
And so should you.