“I just can’t do it Craig.”

My friend and mentee Casey said on the other end of the line. The stress and anxiety in her voice was so thick you could almost cut it with a knife.

“I’d really love to come to your workshop, but I just can’t afford it. I’ve already put my husband and me into $50,000 of debt by hiring so many coaches this year…”

Her words echoed through my phone as I paced around my home office in Toronto. I looked out the window for a moment watching silently as the last leaves of autumn fell softly to the crisp ground. I took a deep breath and responded.

“Don’t worry about the money… Just come. I’ve got another call to get to but I’ll see you in San Diego”.

*Click*

This was an unusual interaction for me.

As a highly successful peak performance and business development coach, I don’t take my time or services lightly. I charge a premium price to attend all of my events and with good reason… When clients work with me and put in the work, they get results. Period.

The fact that I was willing to waive the $5,000 fee required to attend my Perfect Life Workshop was “unusual” to say the least. But then again, Casey was an unusual client.

When my close friend Jason Phillips introduced me to Casey, I immediately knew I’d met someone special.

Despite her lack of external success (at the time), I knew that Casey was a rare breed of entrepreneur. You could see the hunger and excitement in her eyes.

Unfortunately, she’d made a few bad decisions with regards to the experts she’d trusted and the coaches she’d hired, leaving her in a position where she was unable to afford the premium price tag of my workshop.

But I could feel in my gut that, if Casey attended my workshop in San Diego, she would be a client success story for the ages.

And boy was I right.

12 months ago, she attended my Perfect Life Workshop on a last minute scholarship.

At the time, her business – an online nutrition coaching company – was generating about $10,000 a month, but she was burning the candle at both ends, working ineffectively, and mired in more than $50,000 of debt.

Today, less than a year since the event, her same business is now generating more than $50,000 a month… And she’s on track to have her first 6-figure month. All while working only 30 hours a week.

Oh… And she and her husband had their first child during this same time.

I recently caught up with Casey and asked her to share the major lessons and takeaways that she got from the retreat to help the readers of Early to Rise (that’s you!) experience the same transformation.

Here are a few of the lessons she shared with me.

1. Clarity is Everything


When Casey first showed up to my Perfect Life Workshop, by her own admittance, her life was the very definition of “Crazy”.

She lacked structure in her days, easily succumbing to distractions and procrastination. She would procrastinate until the very last minute on important projects. She had no boundaries between her work and home life and, as a result, she was stressed out, struggling, and completely overwhelmed.

Worse still, she had no vision for escaping her current situation. She had no goals driving her to pursue excellence and fix the problems she was facing in her business and life.

When she showed up to the workshop, the first thing I had her do was to sit down and take some time to gain crystal clear clarity on exactly where she wanted to go.

Today, she attributes most of her business and personal success to this single exercise.

To help you gain the same clarity that Casey used to 5x her income while working less, here are a few questions that will help you cut through the noise and discover what you really need to do to accelerate your life

  1. If money were no longer a problem, how would you spend your time? Who would you help? How would you show up? What activities would you do on a daily basis?

  2. What are the 2-3 BIG rocks that I need in my life to ensure I’m successful? (e.g. Working out 3x a week, sleeping 8 hours a night, 3 hours of deep work a day)

  3. What are the biggest accomplishments you want to experience in the core four values of your life? (Health, family, experiences, wealth)

  4. What 2-3 problems, if solved, would 10x the quality of your life and business?

Take some time and do this RIGHT NOW.

The more clarity you have, the more power you will have to make positive changes in your life and the easier the rest of this process will be.

2. Get Real About the FACTS of Your Life


One of the biggest reasons that most people never succeed at high levels is because they are pathological liars.

It’s not that they’re lying to their spouses, friends, or customers. No, they’re lying to someone much more important… Themselves.

Most people tell themselves stories about why they aren’t successful and they fabricate alibis for mediocrity instead of doing the hard work and being brutally honest about their habits, routines, and activities.

The simple truth of the matter is this…

If you are not where you want to be today, it’s because you have not taken the right actions. Period.

If you take the correct actions, with very few exceptions, you will get the results you desire.

When Casey first came to me, she thought that she was a hard worker. She thought that she was doing everything right.

After all, she “worked” a lot, hired dozens of coaches, and had an extensive morning ritual to prime herself for success.

But when I sat down with her and had her do an honest audit of her time and activities, she realized that she was lying to herself.

On an average day Casey would spend the vast majority of her time procrastinating, stuck in distraction, or working on low ROI activities. She spent less than 60 minutes a day on deep work activities that really pushed the needle forward. 

The second I helped her realize this, she was able to make a change.

Today, she only works 30 hours a week. However, when she’s working she is working. From 12pm to 6pm Casey blocks off 6 hours of uninterrupted time to focus on deep work and important activities.

But before she could arrive at this point in her work day, she first had to uncover the truth about how she was really living prior to the workshop.

Because Casey was willing to tell the truth and take an objective look at her life, she has increased her income more than 500% in the last 12 months.

If you want to experience a similar transformation then you need to be brutally honest with yourself. Pull no punches and hold back no criticism. Take an honest look at your life and examine how you are truly living day to day.

How much money do you spend on leisure activities? How much do you invest? How much time do you spend working in a focused flow state and how much time do you spend screwing around on social media? How many days a week do you actually go to the gym?

Take a few minutes right now to write out an assessment of your life and habits.

Once you’ve done this, I want to encourage you to keep a time journal and log how you spend your hours each day.

The goal is to give yourself an honest look at where you are so that you know how to bridge the gap and get where you want to be.

Tally up the amount of time you spend:

  • Procrastinating
  • Allowing distraction to sabotage your work efforts
  • Doing deep work
  • Taking care of yourself (exercise, cooking meals, meditating, etc).
  • Spending time with your family
  • Relaxing and unwinding

Once you’ve completed this time audit, compare your current schedule to the goals that you set in the previous section.

Ask yourself, “How would someone achieving these goals spend their time each day?”

Then, once you’ve identified the gap, begin taking small daily actions to bridge that gap.

3. Just Show Up


One of the biggest epiphanies that Casey had at the Perfect Life Workshop was understanding the importance of showing up.

Here’s the deal…

You are NOT always going to feel like waking up early, going to the gym, eating healthy foods, doing deep work, and growing your business.

That’s fine… Just show up and do it anyways. A bad day in the office or at the gym is better than no day at all.

Before attending the workshop, Casey admitted that her days were ruled by her feelings. If she didn’t feel good or wasn’t having a good day, she wouldn’t do the things she needed to do.

Today, she has made a promise to herself to show up and do the work even when she doesn’t feel like it.

It doesn’t matter if it takes her 3x longer than normal to write a newsletter, create a sales page, or develop an ad campaign. She shows up every day and puts in the work, even if she’s only going through the motions.

Right now, I want you to commit to doing the same.

You know where you want to go and the actions you need to take to get there. Now all that’s left to do is to actually do them.

Show up even when you don’t feel like it. Go through the motions when you don’t want to. Just show up and put in the work, even when everything inside of you is screaming to stop.

You need to take time to rest and recover, of course, but don’t allow your fleeting emotions and moods to dictate your results.

At the end of the day, success happens when you show up each and every day and simply put in the work.  

4. Treat Distractions Like Drugs and “Just Say No”  


One of Casey’s biggest struggles in 2017 was that she was a pathological people pleaser.

Casey is one of those people who has a heart of gold and wants to serve and help others every opportunity that she has. And as admirable as this trait might be, it led to some real problems for Casey.

She would say “Yes” to every single offer and opportunity that came her way, overextending her schedule and overwhelming herself with tasks that weren’t serving her highest purpose and vision.

Since her work at my workshop, she’s learned that saying “No” is actually one of the most selfless things you can do.

By saying “No” to every “good” opportunity that comes you way you give yourself the time and energy to say “Yes” to the great ones.

When you focus exclusively on the things that are most valuable for you and your business you have more to give to your clients, family, and friends.

Just as importantly, when you make a regular habit of saying “No” to everything that isn’t an immediate and obvious “Heck yes!” you teach others to respect and value your time at a higher level.

In fact, only a few weeks ago, Casey was asked to come and speak at a local fitness franchise. Less than a year ago, she would have jumped at the opportunity.

However, when she took an honest look at what was on the table, she realized that the 5-6 hours required for her drive to and give the presentation wouldn’t truly serve her purpose at the highest level.

She politely declined the offer and as a result, the franchise in question actually asked if she had any programs or services that they could buy from her (the original speaking engagement was unpaid)!

By saying “No” she turned a 6-hour free speaking engagement into new revenue and a valuable connection.

If you want to earn more while working less then you must become a master at saying “No”.

For the next 30 days, I want you to keep an “Opportunity Log”. Write down every invite, offer, and opportunity that comes your way.

Before saying “Yes” to anything, I want you to take 24 hours to deliberate and ask yourself, “Is this really worth my time and energy?”

If the answer isn’t an immediate “yes” then say “no”. You’ll be amazed at how much time and energy this simple tactic will save you.

5. Create Systems that Will Support Your Goals


James Clear, one of the world’s leading experts on the science of habit formation has a saying, “You don’t rise to the level of your goals, you fall to the level of your systems”.

In Casey’s case, this was most certainly true.

She had the goals and the vision, but it wasn’t until she began to implement bulletproof systems that she was able to create the success she desired.

In addition to her focused work block from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. each day, Casey began using a DAC or Daily Accountability Card.

Every day, she would pull out a small notecard and write down the 2-3 things she was absolutely committed to accomplishing that day no matter what. She would then keep that card on her desk for the entire day, using it as a reminder of why she was showing up and putting in the work.

It sounds simple, but after nearly a year of using this tactic, Casey told me that she’s accomplished nearly 90% of her Daily Accountability Card tasks.

The simple act of writing out your commitments and keeping those commitments in plain sight is often enough to give us the friendly push that we need to accomplish our biggest goals.

While the DAC is a great strategy to use, there are several others that I recommend.

For example:

  • Work in the same place at the same time everyday. This conditions your brain to instantly switch to “Work Mode” anytime you’re in the right environment.
  • Listen to the same song or songs while working
  • Put your goals as the background on your phone screen so that you’re reminded of them every time you’re tempted to give into distraction (Casey swears by this one)
  • Find someone you respect and commit to a daily accountability report to help you actually take action on your biggest goals.
  • Plan your days the night before so that you know exactly what needs to be done and when.
  • Streamline your decision making throughout the day (meal prep, wear the same clothes, follow a calendar)

The more processes you can implement into your life that make taking action towards your goals easier, the more likely you are to achieve your biggest goals.

Conclusion


By implementing the tactics shared above, Casey went from $50,000 in debt with a floundering business to being on track to break 7-figures, eliminating all of her family’s debt, making more time to spend with her new baby, and reducing her workload to only 30 hours a week.

If you are willing to take action and implement what you’ve learned today, I promise that you’ll be able to accelerate your life and business faster than you ever thought possible.

Use this millionaire-vetted Morning Routine to work less, earn more, and live the life you desire, TODAY! 

Sign up now to get our FREE Morning Routine guide—the #1 way to increase productivity, energy, and focus for profitable days. Used by thousands of fitness, business, and finance industry leaders to leapfrog the competition while making time for the people who really matter. Learn more here.

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Craig Ballantyne

Craig Ballantyne is the author of The Perfect Day Formula: How to Own the Day and Control Your Life. Craig has been a contributor to Men's Health magazine for over 17 years. Today he teaches his gift to high-performing entrepreneurs how to squeeze more out of their days, increase their income, and make more quality time for their families in his Perfect Life Workshop and Work-Life Mastery programs. Craig used his own advice to overcome crippling anxiety attacks in 2006, and he'll teach you his 5 Pillars of Success so you can increase your income, decrease your work time, and live the life of your dreams. Learn more about Craig at craigballantyne.com

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