Guest post by LeAnn Sanderson
Recently my manager, Tony Caldwell, asked me to read a book titled The 80% Approach by Dan Sullivan. I enjoyed the book and was pleased to find out the 80% approach is something I’ve implemented in my own life without realizing it. I used to (and sometimes still do) procrastinate before I started a big project. If I needed to do my taxes or take on a repair in my home, I’d feel this odd sense of having to have everything that had been on my to-do list checked off first. Everything had to be cleaned, organized and in its place before I would even start.
I focused on perfection, creating an image in my head of exactly how this project would go and feeling like I first needed to purchase all the right tools, organize everybody and everything perfectly, and then it would work out exactly as I had planned. I don’t think anything ever turned out exactly as I had planned. And as the book says well, it kept me in a negative pattern, frustrated at how long it took me to get to it and disappointed that it hadn’t turned out exactly like the picture in my head, rather than celebrating how far I’d come.
But I changed my thinking, adopted the 80% rule without realizing it. I wanted to move my family for the last five years—we all wanted a milder climate, a fresh start, and we needed a lower cost of living. But so many pieces had to fall into place—it was so risky. I am the sole financial provider for three children and had a job I loved in a place where ALL of my family and friends reside.
But last summer, I decided to just … start. So, I listed my house for rent—before I had a job somewhere else or even knew exactly where I was going, before I knew what I was going to do if my home actually rented out. Everyone thought I had lost my mind! They asked questions constantly: “What are you going to do if it rents? You certainly won’t move until you have a job will you? You’re going to move kids in the middle of high school?”
It was hard on my confidence; I did not have all the answers. But I knew the most important thing was to START. Making that one phone call to list my property gave me the momentum to get the rental license, do the minor repairs, and start packing up non-essentials. The excitement began to build. I started to cut people off when they would say, “If you move….” I’d smile and say, “No, it’s WHEN I move.”
That new way of thinking set a transformation in motion, not just with me but also with my kids, who rallied behind me as each piece began to fall miraculously, perfectly, into place one right after the other! Three weeks after school started in Minnesota, we said goodbye to coworkers, friends, family and the only state in which we had ever lived. I moved to a city I’d never lived in, into a house I’d never seen, to work for guys I’d never met … what could go wrong?!?
But it worked out—I’m doing what I am good at, for a great company, with huge growth potential in sunny Oklahoma! I still have that picture in my head of what it looks like when it is perfect, but I’m darn proud of how far I’ve come.
Now it’s time for a new set of goals and a new start. Zig Ziglar says, “You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great,” so where do you want to take your business this year? What move or project are you procrastinating on until the conditions are perfect? I’d encourage you take Dan Sullivan’s advice and just do that first 80% as quickly as possible—you’ll be surprised at how fast the momentum builds from there!