Episode 253 - Featuring Lee Matthew Jackson
February 12, 2020
How many plans have you made that you’ve never followed through with? What would you like to change in your agency or in your personal life that seems too overwhelming and unachievable? I have struggled for years with procrastination, and have a graveyard of abandoned dreams behind me. Yet all that changed a few years ago, and I’m going to share with my strategy for getting things done.
In this episode we will unpack:
By the end of this episode, you will have some ideas that you are excited about and a framework for achieving them.
Lee Matthew Jackson: Welcome to the Agency Trailblazer Podcast. This is your host Lee and on today’s show we’re talking about getting the big things done. So just have a think for a few minutes. How many plans have you made that you have never followed through with? I can think of absolutely hundreds and hundreds other things either in your personal life or perhaps things within your business, within your agency that you have wanted to do but just never got round to doing or never managed to complete. I would posit that this is an issue that tonnes of us have. We are often listening to this episode at least entrepreneurs, we are very busy, we have a lot of demand for our time and some of these ideas that we have can be quite huge and actually getting round to getting them done can seem pretty much impossible. For example, me launching this podcast was something that I actually put off for about two years and it was only when I really, really committed to getting it done. I was accountable to the community to getting it done as well that it actually happened. And over the last few years I’ve learned how to get some really big things done that I never would have thought was possible in the past.
Now, little bit of background about me, I am absolutely a procrastinator. I will spend more time on Facebook if you will let me then I will actually work in because I’m nosy. I want to see what’s going out there. I want to watch TikTok videos and have a laugh. I want to sit down on the couch and watch some funny YouTube clips and I spend copious amounts of time looking at Monty Python videos and then shouting Larissa across and saying, Hey, you’ve got to watch this one, and in fact, let’s just do some microinteraction right now. If you can head over to the website for this podcast episode, go down to the comment section and post the URL of your most favourite Monty Python skit. That would be phenomenal. But as you can tell, I’m a procrastinator. I’m a creative. In fact, we are in a creative industry, which is why we procrastinate so much. We love to go and try new things. We get bored of the same thing. We want to try something new and I want to talk about how you can get some of those big ideas that you have done and achieved.
Now I’ve just described myself as a procrastinator, but remember I have launched a podcast. I’ve launched a large community. We have a live event every year. I’ve shown up on stages as well around the UK and online on multiple podcasts. I’ve managed to achieve so much in these last few years and finally, I’ve also managed to finish a entire book. Yup. That book comes out in just a short months time. So this procrastinator has been able to do so much in the last few years and there is a little secret behind how I’ve been able to do it all that I want to share with you in this episode today.
So let’s give you some action and that action is to write down what you think your relationship to change is. Now I’m going to share with you my relationship to change and hopefully that will help you write down and workout what your relationship is with change. So what do I mean? Right? We all want change in our lives of some sort and we all have dreams. Now, it’s how we go about doing that, that kind of defines the relationship that we have with it. For me, I am one of those people who wants to go big. I want my change to be significant, to be seen, to be dramatic, to be wow, to change the world. It’s gotta be huge. I’m going to launch a podcast and I want millions of people to download it, and I want my podcast to go out every single day just like John Lee Dumas. I was literally thinking this just a few years ago. I’ve been listening to John Lee Dumas’s podcast. I’d been seeing it was getting millions of downloads, etc. I was thinking, heck, I want to do that and have this guy on his own who can’t get things done because he likes to watch Monty Python videos, wants to launch now a huge podcast with episodes every single day. That’s my relationship to change. I am one of those people who wants to go big. The other element of my relationship to change is I want the results now. So not only do I want to launch this podcast, this is five years ago now, an episode every single day, but I want it to be world famous. I want to be appearing in the entrepreneurship magazine. I want it to have a million downloads really, really quick. So now what I’m doing is I’m throwing myself into this project and I’m doing tonnes and tonnes of work to get it done thus overwhelming myself because I’ve given myself too much stuff to do and then I’m not seeing the results that I was expecting because I want them sooner than they are realistically going to arrive.
So take a moment, maybe press pause and just have a think. What is your relationship to change? Do you resonate with anything that I’ve said or can you note down how you deal with change? How you deal with going after those big ideas that you have. Now, there was a great book called start with why by Simon Sinek and this is helping us understand that with what we do, there should be a why. There should be something that is driving us towards the goal. So when I think back to many of the ideas that I’ve had, they’ve been great ideas, but the why behind them has not necessarily been something that I can truly believe in. So for example, when I wanted to launch the original podcast before this one that you’re listening to right now, I was thinking I wanted to be the next John Lee Dumas. I wanted the adulation, I wanted all of this stuff and that wasn’t really a very compelling reason. It was just simply a selfish reason that I wanted to be like one of these online entrepreneurs. It’s certainly not something that I was going to jump out of bed for and be really, really excited about. And yet when I was planning for this podcast and I was thinking about the people that I wanted to help, that was where things changed. My why for launching a podcast became helping agency owners fall in love with our business again. I had had such a bad experience in agency life myself maybe 10 or 15 years ago. Things were super stressful. We had so many bills. We had so much stress, we had horrible clients, there was just so much going on. It was one of the worst times of my life and yet I now run agencies that I love that are growing, that are successful and I’ve wanted so much to help people who were stuck in that place that I was. Where it was a horrible time where it felt like you are trapped in your own job rather than it being your own business and really wanted to find the right people, have the right conversations, and share the right knowledge with the wider community of agency owners to help them get out of that rut, or if they’re not in that rut, at least help them to improve their lives even further than it already is. I’m a massive believer in family. I love my family so, so much. I want time with my family so much. I also love my business, so I want to find that balance that works for everybody and all of this became my why. All of this has therefore become my content, my focus. It gets me out of bed and it has helped drive me to make this podcast as big as it is today, which was something that I could never possibly have dreamed of had I not had that why.
So that would be my next question to you. Maybe hit pause and then just think about the ideas that you have and then what are the reasons and what are the why’s, what are driving those ideas? You might find that there are a few ideas that you can instantly just cross off and say, well actually that the, the the why behind that last, not compelling enough, but shorten that list down to a few dreams that you have where the why behind that is so compelling. You are like, I, I know I want to do this now of course, that why and not wanting to do things does have a direct correlation with your relationship to change because you are going to be thinking, Oh, I want it now, you know, if you’re like me, I want it now. I want to go big. So there is still that we still have to balance our relationship to change with that dream that we have in our why, but write that down and then shorten that list down to a few dreams you might have that you would love to achieve over the next few months or years that has that massive compelling why.
Now when we launched the Agency Transformation Live event in 2019 I stood on stage and explained that I’m a massive believer that small achievable actions lead to big change. I said it’s really important that when people attended the event and when they listened to all of the content that was on stage, that they only select the few things they believe that they can do to help them with the next stage of transformation in their business. One of the mistakes we will often make when we attend an event is we get tonnes and tonnes and tonnes of ideas and strategy and it fills our head and then we just feel overwhelmed and essentially get nothing done. So if we have acknowledged our relationship to change, we’ve understood what our why is and perhaps noted down one or two plans or ideas that we have that we would love to achieve. What we can then do is break that down into sections. So I know I might sound like I’m stating the bleeding obvious, but I want to give you a couple of examples which should be really helpful.
Now, the first thing is I’ve wanted to write a book for such a long time and I even announced maybe two years ago that I was writing a book and I really was, but the problem is, although I had the right why my relationship to change was still affecting me back then, and what I ended up doing was writing about a third of the book in two sessions, massive sit down sessions, and I spent absolutely hours doing it. The problem is then was it became too much of a facing to do any more. I haven’t really outlined the entire book properly. I’d just gone in all guns blazing because I wanted the book finished. I wanted the results now and what I created was thousands upon thousands of words that were not necessarily well-structured, were not necessarily well-ordered and would take an awful lot of time to get through to reorganise. I then created for myself this vision or this self image of me writing a book is stressful and messy, which therefore meant that there was two thirds of the book that never got completed. Now within a few short weeks time, my first book will be going live. It will be out there on Amazon and what I did was recognised my relationship to change. I recognised my why and then what I did was I planned and broke down the project. This meant that I spent a bit of time carefully outlining the entire structure of the book so I could visualise how the entire book would flow, all of the sections, etc. So that was real high level and that was essentially 30 to 40 minutes of sitting there with a notepad and pen and just creating a list of bullet points and then creating sub-bullets. Then I jumped into word and simply reorganise that. So that I had the initial outline of the book. I understood the book, I understood what I was going to be creating. Then what I did was I set myself the target of doing 500 words a day. So I’m really good at creating short blog posts. It’s one of my skills. I can knock out 500 words on pretty much any subject very quickly, very efficiently, and that could take me anything from 10 minutes to 30 minutes depending on what the subject is.
So I decided to approach the book in exactly that same way that meant that every single day I was getting up in as part of my morning routine, I was jumping on the computer and looking for the next section of the book based on the outline, and I was then hitting it with 500 words and essentially just writing, just going for each and every time, knowing that I could come back and then review everything later and have it edited. What this meant was that my experience of writing this book was no longer stressful. This was just a few minutes every day writing about things that I was very clear on in a very clear structure, something that I was excited about, something that I was passionate about. Also something that I could see my progress on and that’s something that we so often forget to do. We forget to track our progress as to where we are on a particular mission, on a particular dream or goal.
So what I was doing was marking down every single time I sat down and did those 500 words and I was doing this daily. So this was seven days a week for about two months. Just building up the content of this book and looking at my progress, I could see that I’d done it for seven days in a row and that felt great and I celebrated that with the family. Then before long, it was two weeks, I’d been writing for two weeks and I could see how many woods that I had in this book. Essentially I was gamifying the process because I was enjoying looking at my progress. I was enjoying tracking it. I knew what I had to do to get to the end goal and I could also celebrate these small wins along the way. I was writing a book that was structured that I could understand it was well planned and I only had to commit so many minutes every single day and very quickly I could see this book building up and building up. I could see my progress and I could celebrate that. So I would encourage you, whatever plans you have, can you break them down? Can you break them down into small achievable actions that will lead to that big change? So if you compare my original idea of writing a book where I went all in for a couple of days, exhausted myself, and then never got any further versus just spending 60 days doing 500 words a day. Now in those 60 days I achieved the entire first draft. I did small achievable actions and I created the entire manuscript of a book within 60 days versus two years ago, jumping in all guns blazing, for two days, and then putting it off and putting it off and then eventually the idea phased out.
Now obviously a book is a very easy thing to break down, I guess, but you can do this with pretty much any ideas that you do have. Do you want to launch a YouTube channel? Do you want to launch a podcast? Do you want to blog more? Do what? What are the ideas that you have? Then see if you can write them down and then reverse engineer those. Some of the ideas you may have make take several years. So what you’re going to want to do is break those down into chunks where you can then achieve them in sprints or in stages. So perhaps you want to have this big YouTube channel, but first of all, you might need to do some learning. You might need to learn how to use video and everything like that. So rather than jumping straight into recording your first video, maybe you’re going to spend the first few weeks doing a little bit of learning every Monday. Maybe you’re going to train yourself every Monday and complete a course all about editing video or creating video and lighting and stuff like that. So that’s essentially sprint one of your idea and then you can lay out sprint two and sprint three and so on and so forth and set yourself a day and a time where you’re going to spend a small amount of time to carry out small achievable actions that will help you achieve those goals.
Now, I’m a huge believer in slow and steady wins the race. It’s not something that I have coped well with. I am nearly 38 years old and it’s something I’ve only really learnt in the last maybe two years. Even managing to launch the podcast and do everything that I have done, I’ve always fought with myself. It’s still always been a bit of a battle because there is a huge part of me that wants results, that wants to be moving fast, and then there is another part of me that understands that actually slow and steady does win the race. Small achievable actions do lead to big change, that I can take my time, that things don’t need to happen straight away, but actually things are more likely to happen if I take my time then if I try and rush things, if I try and force things through and thus overwhelmed myself and end up giving in.
So have a think, what is your relationship to change? Have a think on that. Then have a think, all right, what is my why? What is driving me and what things do I want to achieve? Do any of those correlate with my why? Then once you’ve worked out what those plans might be, maybe write a book, maybe launch a YouTube channel, whatever the idea is then break that plan down into small achievable chunks. If it’s a big one, break it out into sprints and then just set yourself some time, maybe one, two or three times a week, maybe every day of the week whatever works for you to carry out those small, achievable actions that will help you get those plans done.
Now folks, if you want to have a bigger conversation about this, come and join us in the Facebook group. You can find us on agencytrailblazer.com/group and that will redirect you to our Facebook group. It’s a great community. Feel free to be open and let’s have a conversation about what your plans are and perhaps you can get some help from the community and how to break that down or to be accountable etc. We would love to have a conversation, so that’s agencytrailblazer.com/group. This podcast is sponsored by Cloudways. My absolute favourite host on the planet. What I love about them as well is that I can start small just like we’ve talked about and then I can grow so my hosting can grow with me. It’s scalable. I can spend as much as I want to, or as I need to, so be sure to check them out as cloud ways.com you can find any of the latest offers that there may be and links in the show notes. Finally at the bottom of the show notes, join us in the comments section with your thoughts on this episode with your questions, with your experiences. Guys, if we don’t see you in the community, if we don’t see you in the comments, then we will see you in next week’s episode.