I recently listened to two books that have changed my personal perspective on living and my professional perspective on doing. I have pretty much told everyone who is in front of me how I’m going to implement both in order to help create lasting change in my life, and so I thought it best to also write it down here.
The Top 5 Regrets of the Dying, by Bronnie Ware
I listened to this book in my car. I almost cried every single time it was on. It was a pretty emotionally exhausting week! I recommend getting a feel for her Australian accent and then picking up the speed to 1.5x in order to not drag out the feelings of exasperation of the stories of everyone’s deaths.
But it is a must read/listen! I don’t think the book would be so impactful if you didn’t get a glimpse of the dying person’s life you wouldn’t understand, or relate, to how they got to their regrets.
The regrets were
- I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself.
- I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.
- I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
- I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
- I wish that I had let myself be happier.
With each of these came numerous stories of people who may have not led a sad life, but they may have not been as fulfilled. And some of the people just lived very sad lives because of it.
3 out of the 5 are pretty easy for me. It’s the not working so hard and the staying in touch with my friends that I want to try to hold on to. Luckily, I’m pretty good at assembling/planning functions with close friends, and I still get one on one time with some of them.
As for not working so hard…
The Big Leap, by Gay Hendricks
My biggest takeaway from this book is how to know when to operate in your different “Zones” of work effectiveness.
There are four Zones
- Zone of Incompetence
- Zone of Competence
- Zone of Excellence
- Zone of Genius
When becoming an entrepreneur, everything is resting on your shoulders, but you can accidentally waste too much time in the lower zones and burn out never having actually done what your business set out to do.
So as quickly as you can, resource out any tasks in your Zone of Incompetence. For me, that’s accounting, payroll, bookkeeping, invoicing, website maintenance, and social media implementation (I still write everything, but I don’t actually load it). This has saved me more hours than I can count!
But what I wasn’t doing before this book (because I was totally already resourcing out the things I wasn’t good at), was resourcing out the tasks I was competent with. SEO for blog posts, blog featured images, assembling the content for the two different email blasts we send out each month (still writing the content though), and scheduling calls with my beta testers. I was able to unload A LOT of hours that I had spent on this. I was drowning in the perfunctory.
There are still tasks that only I can currently do in the Zone of Competence, but I am learning from my life coach, that there are times when I should batch those tasks and other times when I should focus on my Zones of Excellence and Genius.
I am defining my Zone of Excellence as tasks that need to get done that are quintessentially Patti. My blog posts, my marketing content, writing Scopes of Work, pitch decks, that all need to come from my brain because that’s what helps make Data Wonderment special (Jennifer calls me “The Mouth”). I even consider the networking events I go to at times I use my Zone of Excellence energy.
And then there’s the Zone of Genius. This is where the magic happens. This is my passive-income buildout execution, the dashboards for clients, and the data storytelling awesomeness that is the reason why Data Wonderment has its name. The more I am here, the more insights I can bring to the world. This is what lights my fire.
Therefore, it is important to dedicate time to the Zone of Genius in bigger chunks of at least a few hours at a time. Full dedication, too. No checking emails, or thinking of other things. Full Zone of Genius Mode. My minimum baseline for being in the Zone of Genius is at least once per weekend.
Then, my Zone of Excellence is 2-3 weeknight evenings and I chill out the other two nights (or workout probably). And my Zone of Competence is the lunch breaks and many times that I can squeeze in when I know I have a half hour to spare and can knock something out. That’s also usually reserved for the OTHER day in the weekend if we’re not out and about.
But there’s another concept my life coach teaches about acknowledging and using the Sacred Days. She recommends two, but with my full time and extreme hustle, I’ve settled on having just one… on Fridays… and still checking emails on my tea breaks. Sacred Days are meant to recharge, with no work at all, but I don’t feel like in my hecticness of a startup that I can give myself that yet.
Which then brings me back to the regret of the dying and of not working so hard… so I might currently work hard, but when I do play, I play hard, enjoy my friends hard, share my feelings hard, and feel the happiest for it.