Little Things Mean a Lot, (Small Change, Big Difference)

I’m a sucker for a good personal development book, I’m guessing you are too, I’m literally that person who revels in ‘shelf-development’ and I could probably donate my collection to the British Museum and make an impact, the thing is how much do we really take action on the great tips and advice we read?

There’s no doubt that books are awesome value, people (just like you) who have put potentially thousands of hours into honing their ideas and their craft to present it to you for a mere ten or so quid.

As a writer of motivational stuff, a Hay House author, and someone who runs workshops encouraging people to write their book, take the first steps…et al, you’d think I might have reached a point where I felt I didn’t need the ‘classic’ books around success and wellbeing.  I’m well versed in the classics from Napoleon Hill through Scott Peck, to Hay House hero’s Dr David Hamilton, Pam Griers, Cheryl Richardson et al, not to mention Wayne Dyer.  However, I came across an unassuming paperback at an event recently and something about it resonated. ‘The Compound Effect, Jumpstart Your Income, Your Life, Your Success’ is by Darren Hardy, the publisher of Success Magazine, it’s been a New York Times best seller and the foreword is written by none other than Anthony Robbins, a must for the library of course, but something about this book actually made me want to read it, properly.  Despite the author being American (and I doff my cap here to my US counterparts across the pond) there was none of the pious ‘get rich quick’ strive for success at all costs’ kind of dialogue, this is one of the most realistic down to earth books about success I have ever read.

Habits

The basic premise is that it’s not the ‘life changing’ massive 360 degree changes that sometimes come along to rock our world that shape most of us (though of course that might be the case) – rather it’s the little things we do (or don’t do) every single day, the small changes that when ‘compounded’ over time make a massive difference. Darren blows away the theory that only ‘lucky people’ are successful, that you have to be ‘naturally’ talented to succeed, instead he drills in the old fashioned traits of hard work, resilience, practice, yes he even goes as far as to say the path to becoming successful can be downright boring, lonely and unsexy.  In our quick fix society we aren’t often used to hearing that and I found it hugely refreshing to read a multi billionaire tell me there is no quick fix.  You, like me, may be exhausted by the stream of emails you get from ‘million dollar marketers’ promising you instant success overnight if you just pay them that six figure sum.

Darren says there is a formula for getting lucky:

Preparation (personal growth) +

Attitude (belief / mindset) +

Opportunity (a good thing comes your way) +

Action (doing something about it) =

Luck

The book is full of his own tales of growing up with a sergeant major style father who cut him no slack but made him the disciplined man he is today, he reminds us of the importance of tracking how we spend our time, analysing our thoughts, practising gratitude (a big one) being aware of our own habits and who is controlling who. I love his suggestion of taking each of your ‘vices’ – be it wine, coffee, chocolate and stopping that habit for 21 days to check that it isn’t controlling you.  He suggests taking a long hard look at your habits, whether that be eating too much, procrastinating over a project you know you need to get started (how many of my clients tell me they know they MUST write their book…, avoiding conflict even though you know you need to ditch toxic relationships in your life and allowing fear to take hold (so that you hold back rather than taking the first steps to starting your business or fulfilling your dreams).  We all think we need huge amounts of ‘willpower’ to change our habits, but as anyone who has ever tried to lose a considerable amount of weight just by giving up the extra calories will know, willpower doesn’t work, what we need is ‘why-power’ – if you want to make significant improvements in your life you have to have a ‘why’.

When I work with heart centred businesses this is usually the core of the problem, many of the people I work with are therapists or practitioners, and they are doing the work they are doing because they want to make a difference, they want to bring light, healing transformation, whatever it might be, but they are not always quite ready to stand in the spotlight and claim their own ‘USP’ their YOU-nique brilliance.  ‘Don’t look at me…look at EFT…or aromatherapy…they say, but we have to see you, and you have to be willing to stand up and be counted. Be visible. A great number of people are nervous of speaking in public, having their photograph at the top of their website, doing a live stream on Facebook, but it’s true that people do business with those they like know and trust, so in order to sense if they can like you they need to see you!

The good news is you don’t need to be transformed overnight from a shy wallflower to Beyonce, as this book shows it’s the compound effect that matters, it’s the little things you do every day. You could start by keeping a notebook and every day write in it 3 things you are grateful for and at least one thing you are proud of about yourself – take note this doesn’t have to be about your work, practice in front of a mirror or a supportive friend, introducing yourself and your work, till you feel confident enough to stand up at a networking event and make your pitch.

The key is to be aware of what you want, what’s currently holding you back and know you can change.  Pay attention to it every day and the ‘compound effect’ means that over time…the little actions add up and you will be on course to achieve your success – no gimmicks, no spin, no quick fix. Old fashioned hard work, knowing what you want and going for it, bit by bit…and then some.

The Compound Effect

The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy – Da Capo Press

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