Have you ever felt like you’re doing absolutely all you can possibly do, running as hard as you possibly can? In the opening paragraph of The Law of Expansion, chapter 14 of The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth, John Maxwell says, “If you’re still breathing and you are of sound mind, then you have the potential to keep increasing your capacity.” If you already feel like you’re maxed out, reading that sentence isn’t at all frustrating! RIGHT….?
Shortly after that, he goes on to say “but the only way to increase your capacity internally is to change the way you approach personal growth.” Well, that helps a little but…
There have been dozens of moments over the last few years that I’ve felt like I couldn’t take on one more thing. And based on the work load I was responsible for and the schedule I was trying to keep, that was fairly true. As I listened to an audio lesson from John earlier this week, he talked again about the Three R’s described in The Law of Priorities (chapter 17 in The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership). I’ve shared a few times about how this law has helped me get perspective on what I really need to be doing in a general sense. (Here’s one from May 2017) But when I heard John talk about the R’s this time, I heard something I hadn’t caught before; this time specifically applying them to the responsibilities in our career. He suggest that we make a list of all of daily tasks, then circle the things that only WE can do; the things we’re REQUIRED to do. This will help us have a better understanding of how many things we are likely doing that someone else could (or should) be doing. It may also highlight some things that just don’t really need to be done at all! Of those things that are circled, we should identify the ones that give us the biggest RETURN for the amount of time we invest. For someone in sales, there are likely some things that take 20 minutes and yield $80 in profit and some things that take 80 minutes for $20 profit. If you’re able to arrange your list of REQUIRED tasks with that in mind, it shouldn’t be hard to tell where your primary focus should be. And if we’re fortunate enough to be fulfilled in doing the things that are REQUIRED and provide the biggest RETURN, this is where we can enjoy the REWARDS from our effort.
While this is a fairly simple example, you and I both know it’s not quite that easy to just start doing it… Depending on where we work or what our assigned tasks really are, we may have very little choice in the matter. John wasn’t suggesting we just drop our other responsibilities completely, especially if that decision isn’t ours to make in a given role. In the section of The Law of Expansion called “Stop Doing What is Expected and Start Doing More Than is Expected,” John gives the following advice to earn the option to make some of those decisions: