I’m working on my next book…
But this post is not about my book. It’s about a thinking process I just applied earlier today, in relation to my book. And I thought I’d share — because by applying this thinking process, I know you’ll have even more success on your next project.
This is something I got from David Allen, author of Getting Things Done. (Which is a book I strongly recommend you get, if you haven’t already acted on one of my 50 or so other recommendations to get it.)
One of the great things about the Getting Things Done (or, GTD) system is that it’s designed to help you think about your work.
When you think about your work before you do your work, you come to the work better prepared. And if you’re better prepared for the work, you’ll do better, and create better results.
I actually find that I’m spending near 20% of my work time thinking about and planning work. And that’s time that I specifically track as planning time. Within individual projects, there’s probably even more thinking and planning time that’s tracked as project time rather than planning time.
And it’s actually made me more productive! I find that the more I plan, the more work I can get done faster. Which increases my total output, even as it decreases my total time actually working on tasks.
This is one of those little planning tasks that can have a big impact.
Let’s talk about a specific task you can complete that puts you in the success mindset and can get you better results on your next project…
Like I said, I’m working on my next book.
As part of that process, I just committed an hour today to writing something that WILL NOT end up in the book, and will probably never see the light of day.
I wrote “fake” Amazon reviews.
Let me explain.
As part of writing this book, I needed to get crystal-clear about who I wanted to serve, and what result I wanted to create for them.
In GTD, David talks about writing a fake media story for your book or other project. For example, if you have a big business project you’re working on, you could write a fake Wall Street Journal front-page story about your project and its success.
The idea is that this helps you create the perfect image, in your head, of what success looks like. It focuses you in on what’s important, including the journalistic mainstay details of who, what, when, where, why, and how.
With the most important end result in mind, it’s easier to work backwards and focus on what needs to happen for that “media story” to become true — whether or not it ever leads to the same kind of media coverage you imagined.
This is “Future-Pacing” in action…
In the field of Neurolinguistic Programming, there is a concept called “future pacing.”
I use it in selling a lot, painting a picture for my prospect of what their life will be like once they’ve responded to my offer and started enjoying its benefits. It helps them think beyond the purchase decision to the impact the purchase will have on their life.
You can also use it on yourself — in fact, this is the way it’s commonly taught.
To future pace your own success, you simply need to paint a picture, rich with vivid detail, of what life is like once you’ve already achieved your goals.
The idea and intention of this is you’re putting a rudder on your subconscious mind, that will steer you toward success. You’re giving yourself a destination to aim towards.
So, that’s what I was doing when I started writing about my book. But then I found it was harder than I expected.
I tried, failed, then tried again…
I started implementing the advice from GTD to write a media review for my book.
I actually opened up a bunch of book reviews for business books, hoping to be inspired.
Then, I started writing. I got a few sentences in, and it was falling flat.
I had an epiphany. I really don’t care what a business journalist thinks of my books. I don’t write for positive press — even as I realize how good press can help drive sales.
I write for the reader. And I write for the results I can help them achieve.
Then, I thought of Amazon reviews.
An Amazon review is a place where the reader of a book can write a pretty-much unfiltered reaction to a book, and share their story with it. They can reflect on what was most important for them, and what outcomes they got as a result of reading and acting on what they read.
Call me inspired.
I deleted the first few sentences of the media review I’d written, and proceeded to crank out three fake Amazon reviews, representing the type of reviews I hope this new book will garner. Two represented my core audience for the book, one the secondary audience I know will also be interested in it.
It gave me energy around the book. But it also clarified some really important ideas relevant to how I focus the content of the book.
I then spent the next hour fleshing out my rough notes, and building a more comprehensive outline for the content that will lead to the kind of review I imagined.
This is really easy, and you can use it for almost anything!
Since I know a lot of my audience are copywriters, let’s imagine that. Let’s say you got a new project from a client, and you’re trying to figure out where to start with it. You decide you want to future pace your success.
How could you do it? Well, it might not make sense to write a media article or even an Amazon review. But let’s imagine you had extraordinary success on this project, and you were invited to give a webinar for other copywriters about it. What would the host say to introduce your presentation, teasing the results of the project? What would the webinar attendees need to hear to make it clear you created a big-time winner? Write their introduction about your project’s success.
Or let’s say you’re starting a new business, or a new division of your business. What media would cover that business? If you created all the success you’re imagining right now, who would be excited to share the news? Write their article.
This goes well beyond business, too. I’ve heard of people writing their own obituaries as a way of focusing on what’s most important in life. Any big project you’re working on could represent a human interest story for the local news, and you could write that as a way of imagining the project’s success before starting.
Everything that is created in the world is created in someone’s mind first…
Every great project, product, or really anything else that exists in the world started in someone’s imagination. They thought about what they wanted to see, and went to work.
By creating a clearer, more distinct vision of what you want to see in the world and what success looks like, you have more power to create the outcome you desire.
That’s great, in theory.
Following the process above — writing your own review or media coverage — is a great way to translate that theory into an actionable task and then reality.
And that just might give you the breakthroughs you’re looking for!
Yours for bigger breakthroughs,