10x is easier than 2x

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Working towards a goal that improves KPI’s a few basis points is small and not motivating. Working hard for small changes is not my idea of fun. But trying to really drive improvements or even create new KPI’s can be so fulfilling. Dan Sullivan and Benjamin Hardy wrote a great book that looks at this concept and applies it in a way that helps you reach your goals faster. The Book is called 10x is easier than 2x. This week on the podcast we’re diving into what that actually means and how to apply to reaching a goal by the end of this year. Listen and learn.

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Hey y’all, how are you holding up out there? Some rough times, some horrible, terrible things are happening to humans. At the end of the day, no matter what you believe or don’t believe or who you do and don’t agree with, we are all humans, and there’s some really horrible things happening. I don’t know the right things to say or to do, but what I do want you to know is that it’s okay to not be okay.


As I was scrolling through the news, an article jumped out to me. As you know, I love live music, and I was reading this article where they had found in a recent study that people who attend a concert together, their heartbeat and their breathing often times sync with one another. I loved that. As I’ve talked about, concerts are like church for me. They fill my soul, I feel connected, and I feel emotion at a concert in a way I really can’t any other way. And I loved learning that scientifically there’s things going on where my body is literally syncing with the 50,000 other people attending that event as well. I had the chance to attend a concert in Arizona last weekend with my sister, my niece, and my daughter, and it was amazing. It was a great night, it was so fun, and I could feel that synchronization with the other people in this giant stadium, and it was fun, it filled my soul.


So I hope there are things out there that you’re able to do that fill your soul, that help you feel connected and loved, because you’re kind of amazing, don’t forget that. Okay, today I want to talk about a concept, a book, a theory, I don’t know what to call it, it’s all of the above. I went to a conference a couple of weeks ago, and Benjamin Hardy was one of the speakers that I loved and probably took the most notes from his message than anyone in the 3-day event. But he, along with Dan Sullivan, wrote a book called “10x Is Easier Than 2x”. Now, this is not the same concept and the same theory that Grant Cardone talks a lot about. He talks a lot about the “10x Rule”, and his message is great, but it’s more about doing more and being more efficient. I really liked what Ben and Dan Sullivan talked about. It’s just a little bit of a different mental model to help you grow and push and keep reaching those goals that you just feel that pull to, you feel called to do.


So, I wanted to talk to you a little bit about it today. This is the third book that Dan Sullivan and Ben Hardy have written together. They wrote “Who Not How”, “The Gap Versus The Gain”, and now this book, “10x Is Easier Than 2x”. If you don’t have it, I highly suggest you go and buy it, listen to it, read it, however you like to ingest your books these days. But it’s really got me thinking in some fun ways that I really want to push myself.


Essentially, the premise is 2x is doing 80% of what you have been doing, existing things, and 20% new things. And 10x is kind of the opposite of that. It’s only doing 20% of the core things that you’re already doing today but doing 80% new things. His book kind of breaks it down and talks about what does this mean and how do you actually do it at a really high level. I kind of think of this in terms of I’ve had jobs before where the KPIs that we’re chasing, the goal that we’re trying to do, is just to optimize things a few basis points or tweak things a little bit. And while that’s important, it can have an impact. For me personally, jobs where I’m just trying to get better a few basis points, it’s not motivating, it’s not exciting for me. I love the big, hairy, nasty, we don’t know how to figure it out, we gotta go make it up jobs, where 80% of the KPIs I’m going to go and completely make up, or we’re going to blow them out of the water. That feels a lot more exciting and motivating to me. So, I kind of think of this concept in the same way. 2x is trying to grow from a basis point standpoint. 10x is trying to create brand new KPIs, create a brand new thing. It’s harder, but it’s so much more fun on the other side.


Dan and Ben go on to talk about kind of the three causes that lead to the effect of 10x. Okay, so structurally, we’re trying to focus, focus on 80% new things we need to go and do, and the three causes that are going to lead to that are: one, identity; two, time; and three, leadership. So, what do we mean by that? When they talk about identity, they define identity as your story plus your standards. So, the story part of your identity is the narrative, kind of what you tell yourself today of your past and your future. Now, when you’re telling the story of your past, if it’s negative, if it’s hard, if it’s kind of a liability, if it’s explaining why you’re not where you want to be and why you’re stuck, what this tells us is part of your identity is being driven by your past. When your past is a liability, it’s impacting your current day and your future. But when the story you tell yourself of your past is actually an asset, what that’s telling us, and again, his book goes into all the data, all the science, all the psychology for it, I’m oversimplifying greatly, but what that tells us is that you are living more in the present and the future when you can see your past as an asset. These are things that happened for you. They go into a lot of the details about this in their book, “The Gap Versus The Gain”, if you want to dive into it. Again, these are all great books, I would highly recommend them. When we’re living in 2x, we are living from this space of our past has defined us and that is what’s creating our present and future. When we’re living in 10x, we’re operating more from the future and letting that dictate what we’re doing in the present.


Okay, so your identity is your story plus your standards. So, the story is kind of the narrative you’re telling yourself today, your standards are what you say yes and no to. In the book, he talks a lot about like what’s your floor, what’s your minimum baseline. When you can raise your floor, when you can raise your standard, you’re also going to raise your ceiling, which helps you live and operate out of that 80%. So, as we’re trying to grow ourselves 10x versus 2x, we need to be focusing on our identity. The second thing he talks about is time. And I love how he dives into time, because when they talk about time, they’re talking about your attention, not how do you manage time, how do you optimize it. It’s all about focus and attention. They kind of talk about it through two different lenses. There’s selective attention, which is whatever you focus on, you create more of and it expands. That is what your brain is always looking for. It’s why if you’re in the market for a new car and you’re thinking about buying a truck, let’s say, when that’s what you’re focused on, you’re all of a sudden going to notice how many trucks you do or don’t see on the road. That is selective attention. There’s also attention from the form of constraint, because attention is your most finite resource, more than time. You’re going to have 24 hours a day no matter what you do. Your attention is what really matters, the quality of it, the depth of it, determines the usefulness of your time.


Okay, so we’re not trying to manage time to create more of it. You can’t. It’s a mental construct. It’s about having quality attention and constraint and focus on how you’re spending that time. So, I love that he talks about this concept. It’s not a return on your investment. It’s not about how much can you produce and do in a certain amount of time. It’s a return on your attention. As you are giving certain things attention, how much return is it giving to you? Is it playing in the 2X or the 10X? If you want to 10X your time, you need to 10X your focus. You need to 10X your attention.


Okay, so we’re looking at cause and effect. If we want the effect of we’ve 10X ourselves in a certain way, the cause that’s going into it is focusing on your identity, which is your story plus your standards, and focusing on your time, which is the quality of attention, the depth of attention, and return on attention. The third thing is leadership, and I’m not going to go into this too much today because I basically have 160 other episodes about this, but I do like the concept he talks about. As we’re trying to 10X ourselves, he talks about leading other people in teams. But in this aspect, when we’re trying to 10X ourselves in a certain way, we want to look at how are we leading ourselves through it. And ultimately, it really comes down to trust. Do we trust ourselves? Do we do what we say we’re going to do? Are we honest with ourselves? Because when we think about trust from a leadership standpoint, if you are a leader and you trust yourself, you’re going to go deeper and move quicker and be more focused and have more attention on the right kind of things. Where if you don’t trust yourself, you’re going to spend a lot more time proving it out and trying to validate your idea and justify yourself. Same thing if you trust your team. They’re going to learn to trust themselves and they’re going to trust you, and they’re going to produce even more work and better work and help you figure it out and how to get there even better. When we all trust ourselves and each other, it helps make it easier for us to focus our attention on that 80% that we want to change and go and figure out and make bigger and better and less on the 20%. When we have that trust and our attention is hyper-focused on those things we’re going after because we want a 10X, that is us living in the 10X, not the 2X.


So, 2X is doing more of what you have been doing but just doing it a little bit better or doing a little bit more of it. It’s fine if that’s where you want to play, awesome. There’s been times in my life where I’m like, “Yeah, I don’t want a 10X. Like, 2X is great.” But if you’re really wanting to make some of these changes, 10X actually is easier. 2X has some great things to it. It’s just not transformational. We’re just moving things basis points. When we’re living in that 2X space, we are living from our past of how it’s hard and challenging. 10X is working from your future. This is where you’re working on something like you feel called to do. It’s often impractical. So, if you want to be in that 10X space, you can only keep doing the core 20% of what you have been doing leading up to this point, and then the 80%, you’ve got to go and represent and figure out and go take action on based on your future self of where you want to be. Let the future dictate what you do and don’t do, not the past. To go all in on the 10X, you have to be willing to let go of that 80% of what you have been doing that’s a distraction, and you’ve got to go deep and get transformative and be hyper-focused and have a lot of attention on that 20% because you’re going to amplify that.


So, in his presentation, he goes on to tell the story about his son who’s in high school and got really into tennis and it’s pretty fun for him. And he was driving his son to tennis practice one day and asked him, “Hey, what’s your goal with tennis? What are we working on?” And his son said, “Oh, I really want to be able to play tennis in college.” And his dad was like, “Okay, yeah, you know, that’s good. Let’s keep working on it. Let’s keep working on our backhand and our serves and all these things.” And he was on board. So, he overheard his son talking to his tennis coach about this, and his tennis coach was like, “Well, why college? Why isn’t the goal to go pro?” And again, it’s like, initially, his son was like, “Well, I’m not anywhere near as good to go pro. Like, I’m not ready to do that.” And he’s like, “Yeah, you’re right. But if you want to go 10X, we need to stop playing small. The biggest distraction to us hitting our big goals is having a clear path to lesser goals because we like knowing, we like feeling like we can accomplish it, we like having a clear path so that we can just go and hustle and do all the things and reach the goal. But that is living at 2X. If you want to really hit that big goal and go 10X, the 80%, it’s largely psychological. You’ve got to be living from your future self. You’ve got to be really hyper-focused on what you’re giving attention to and purposely choose what you’re not giving attention to. And then you’ve got to be honest with yourself and trust yourself along the way. This gets tricky because our brain doesn’t like this. New things, not safe, not having a path feels terrible. Goals that feel impossible and other people are going to tell us we’re crazy to even imagine, possible, dangerous. Okay, your biological system, your brain, society, infrastructures, systems are designed to support and defend the system. There’s so many television shows out there that basically create a drama around this whole thing. The system is created to protect the system. This is going to take mental mind management to go try to reach a goal, try to change something from a 10X standpoint.


So, as I left this conference and was reading his book on the airplane right home and was thinking about this concept, my brain quickly got overwhelmed with like, “Oh, this feels big. This feels hard. It’s the end of the year, holidays are coming up, I want to spend time with my kids.” Like, my brain started coming up with all these excuses based on the past story I tell myself if I’m being honest as to why the time just wasn’t right right now.


Here’s what Ben offered to us in this message and where I kind of landed and what I want to offer to you as well is, yeah, if you want to go big and go all in on that big goal you want to reach in the next one, three, five, ten years, awesome, I’m all for it. But if you want to just take a baby step and start playing with this concept, think about what’s a 10X goal you could reach by the end of the year. There’s two and a half more months left, so it’s a little bit shorter timeframe, but what’s a 10X goal? Remember, identity, time, and leadership. How has your past made it perfect for you to do this right now in the last two and a halfish months of the year? How have you changed since the beginning of the year? How have you changed since the beginning of the month? How have you changed since yesterday? The more you can understand how you have changed, the more you’re living from your future because you’re acknowledging the growth you’re acknowledging the progress you’re making and how the past is perfect and set you up for exactly where you want to go.


Do an audit of where you’re giving your attention. What is your return on those places you’re giving that attention? And then trust yourself by starting to tell yourself the truth. So let me give you a couple of examples of what this might look like. So maybe your 10X goal to reach by the end of the year, maybe you have a particular health goal you want to reach. Okay, if this is your goal, look at how are the first 10 months of the year made it perfect for you to start right now. Maybe it’s because you’re really aware of the parts of your body that you want to focus on. Maybe you’re aware of the part where you have the most aches and pains and struggle the most, so you know exactly the areas you want to give your attention to. Maybe you can look back at the past year and see some small changes you’ve made and how you’re not the same person you were at the beginning of the year, which helps make it mean this is the perfect time to go and do the thing and reach the health goal you want. Look at what you’re giving attention to. What’s the core 20% you want to keep your attention on? And what’s the 80% we’re going to shift and change? Maybe you’re going to be really focused and pay a ton of attention to the movement you’re giving to your body. Maybe it’s going to be to the food you’re putting into your body. Maybe you’re going to meal plan, you’re going to grocery shop, you’re going to decide what you’re going to eat ahead of time, and you’re going to eat that because that’s on your plan. You’re not just going to eat what feels good right then and there in the moment. It’s going to take focused attention. You’ve got to change 80% of it to get to where you want to go. We’re only going to keep 20% of that attention. What got you here won’t get you there.


Look at it from a leadership standpoint. How can you trust yourself? How can you be really open and honest with yourself? This, to be honest, it’s harder than it sounds, and it’s a skill and a practice. And if you do like daily journal writing, which I recommend you start your day out with, you should, this is a great thing to do, is just get honest with yourself, like, “You didn’t actually want to hit that health goal you set for yourself back in January. What you really wanted was to eat the things and to feel good in the moment and enjoy things and make it feel easy.” And that’s okay, but you’ve got to be honest with yourself. You need to start leading yourself, which you can’t do if you don’t have trust with yourself.


Maybe your 10X goal is you want to find a job that you love, that you’re excited about, that you’re driven, you’re motivated, you’re feeling fulfilled, you feel like you’re contributing, that you’re owning things end to end. Maybe your goal is to just have a job that you love and are excited about. Okay, your brain’s going to want to tell you, like, “I don’t know how. That’s not possible. I don’t know.” 2X that, really easy. I’m guessing that’s what most of you out there that are looking for a new job are doing. You’re updating your resume, you’re checking things on LinkedIn, you’re working your network, you’re doing all the things. That’s fine. That’s fine. But that’s a 2X play. The return on their attention for that is them having to manage their brain around thoughts and beliefs of like, “This is hard. This is not a great economy to be doing in it. So many people are looking for jobs.” And what we realized was, while there might be some helpful tips and tricks, the return on that attention was negative. You want to be hyper-focused on what you’re giving your attention to. How do you dive deeper? How do you make that attention you’re spending on figuring this out higher quality? And then third, go and lead yourself through this. Trust yourself. Create a plan and stick to it. Trust that you’re going to do what you told yourself you’re going to do and tell the truth. The truth is you’re going to have to do some things that you don’t want to do. The truth is you’re going to have to get uncomfortable. You’re going to have to feel embarrassed. You’re going to have to feel rejected. You’re going to have to feel scared. You’re going to have to go and take a step when you don’t have a clear plan. Let’s go and tell ourselves the truth and lead ourselves through that, because when you’re able to have a clear identity, to manage your time and attention, and to lead yourself through it, this is how you play in the 10X. It really is easier than rinsing and repeating and trying to grow things 2X.


So, my friends, come join me. Let’s 10X some things by the end of the year. If you want some help with this, this is what I do. Changing 80% of this, it’s mental psychological work, that’s it. You have all the skills, you have all the talents, you have all the abilities you need to go and reach that 10X goal. It’s simply learning to manage your mind. If you want some help with it, get on my calendar. There’s no charge, there ‘s no obligation. Let’s get a coffee chat going and come hit that 10X goal with me by the end of the year. It’s going to be so fun. All right, you got this. You’re amazing. We’ll talk soon.


If what you’re learning from this podcast is helping, this is just the beginning. Each week I offer a limited number of coffee chats so that you and I can connect one-on-one and talk specifically about what’s going on for you. You’ll leave this call feeling more hopeful and motivated, but I’m also going to teach you a few things to try right away to get unstuck. Space is very limited, and these are free, so grab your spot before they’re gone. Click the link in the show notes or go to lindsaylymancoaching.com/chat and sign up today. You got this!

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Hey, I’m Lindsay Lyman

I spent the last ~12 years growing my career at Amazon. I’ve built teams, launched new products, and created my own jobs. As a certified coach, I teach people how to manage the noise in their head to feel motivated and valued at work again.

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