Power Habits: Leveraging the 80-20 Law with One Habit by Matt Anderson

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A number of years ago, a financial advisor called Asvin came up to me after a workshop I ran at the Personal Finance Society conference in Birmingham (UK) and said: “I’ve been in business for 24 years. For the last seven, I’ve achieved the Court of the Table, but I’ve never made it to the Top of the Table. Do you think you could help me get there?”

Top of the Table is the elite level at the Million Dollar Round Table, the most revered organization in the world of life insurance. I asked him the question I ask every new client: “What type of person do you need to be to make it to TOT?” He thought about it and said: “I need to be more consistent. I have great months and then other things seem to come along and distract me.”

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I told him: “You need a Power Habit to prove to your brain that you’re becoming informed. A Power Habit leverages the 80-20 Law and gets you a skewed outcome for the time you put in. This is an activity you do week-in and week-out whether you feel like it or not. What’s the most important activity you need to be consistent with?”

He looked over his numbers in recent years and replied: “I need to increase my average number of meetings from six to eight. If I can do that, I’m sure I can make Top of the Table.”

For the next twelve months, we talked every Monday for thirty minutes. Every week. The same commitment. It wasn’t sexy or fascinating. It was consistent.

Most weeks he fell short of eight and sometimes it was hard to see where it was all taking him. But his consistency paid off. Even though he ended up averaging 7.5 meetings/week, he reached his goal. More importantly, he has exceeded it for the eight years since in an increasingly trajectory (with one exception which was still far higher than the first year he made TOT).

Identify Your Power Habits

First, make sure you’re clear about what type of person you need to be so you can be/do/have what you want in the upcoming months. Then your next step is to decide on a Power Habit that will get you the biggest bang for your buck to help you get there.

In my referral world, the answer is always around making a certain number of specific asks per week. If you knock on enough of the right doors, sooner or later ever better opportunities will come.

I’ve also had clients commit to making ‘stretch’ asks – by their own definition, an ask that gives them butterflies. These take longer to come to fruition (9 months+) but can be very powerful at helping you go bigger with your business.

If you want to be healthy, leverage consistent workouts are going to the 80-20 be a great power habit. A diet of mostly veggies, protein, and fruit will likely get you there too. Date nights with your partner or one of your children are also a great example of a power habit that will have a much bigger positive impact on your key relationships.

You only want 3-4 Power Habits. You want to make it easy to focus on what matters most. When your day gets thrown off by the common unexpected event, it is the Power Habit that gets priority.

Know what your enemy looks like:
a) Routines can feel dull after a while but must be maintained: It’s like the Olympic swimmer who joked: “I only have to swim twice: When I feel like and when I don’t.” We all have a need for the interesting and the new. You need to quiet the voice trying to persuade you to add variety when you already have a great recipe. We can unwittingly take our eye off the very habit that is getting us to where we want to go.

b) Your lack of worthiness creates self-doubt: rather like a ship starting to steer in a new direction, what’s been normal and comfortable for your thinking will be challenged as you start to sense ever better results. This can prompt warning signals from your brain saying: “This direction is unfamiliar. Are you sure you know what you’re doing?”

This is where you need your Inner Hero voice to chime in: “I’ve worked hard for this. Yes, I deserve to be on this new path.”

c) Other internal agendas you’re not self-aware about can mess up your Power Habit:
Many people are trying to prove other points to the world: maybe they have a bit of chip on their shoulder about not feeling as smart/educated as other people. They feel a need to prove this over and over so they are often studying for new certifications instead of prospecting.

Some people feel like they never fit in, so they expect something to go wrong. They can unwittingly succumb to inconsistency because the success of their power habit is contradicting their hard-luck story. The disease to please too much gets in many people’s way as they try to please all people all the time. As a result, they spend too much time on low-value clients instead of sticking to their power habit.

Be more aware of how you might be causing your own inconsistency. Then sit with your own wisdom and ask: What is the one thing – if I did it consistently – that will make the biggest difference for my business growth?

Come up with your answer.
To power habits!
Matt Anderson
Founder & President
Matt Anderson International
1177 Oak Ridge Drive, Glencoe, IL 60022, USA
Phone: +001 (312) 622-3121

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