I’m thinking a lot about the little things these days, thanks to Darren Hardy and Chalene Johnson. I read Hardy’s book, The Compound Effect, last month while doing Johnson’s 30-Day Push Challenge. Talk about a thought-provoking combo!
I’ve already written some about the changes Chalene’s challenge prompted and the fun of accomplishing my first push goal: the home office/media room makeover. Today I want to tell you a bit about The Compound Effect and how the simple principles described by Hardy have helped me craft and better appreciate my new normal.
Two years ago, I’d never heard of “the compound effect.” But, I had experienced it. (Spoiler alert: We all have!)
Small, daily decisions make up most of life: when to get out of bed, what to eat, whether or not to exercise, who to spend time with, and how much time to spend on Facebook or in front of the TV. I don’t think it’s overstating it to say that, while life may be defined by the large decisions: who to marry, where to work, etc., it is small, everyday decisions that shape the contours of our legacy.
“New or more information is not what you need – a new plan of action is. It’s time to create new behaviors and habits that are oriented away from sabotage and toward success. It’s that simple.”
I read these words in Hardy’s introduction while on an airplane headed to California to meet with the Boudreaus to discuss joining the team supporting the Oily Gurus, our group within Young Living. I picked up the book a few weeks earlier at their recommendation, and the time was ripe for reading it. I had just wrapped up my work as the registrar for Redeemer Seminary and planned to focus on work with Young Living full time. But what would that look like? How would I structure my days? I wasn’t sure where to begin.
Before I got derailed trying to wrap my brain around the big picture marked “CHANGE,” I went on to read this:
“Isn’t it comforting to know you only need to take a series of tiny steps, consistently, over time to radically improve your life?”
I believe my success working from home again will be defined less by the small number of “big” decisions and more by the small things I do consistently over time.
Hardy also writes, “A daily routine built on good habits is the difference that separates the most successful amongst us from everyone else.” This prompted me to think through and implement a morning routine, those things I do the first few hours I’m awake. When I considered how valuable those hours could be, it motivated me to make a small but significant change. Now, the ringer on my phone stays off until I’ve gotten through a certain set of things on my daily “to do” list so there’s no risk of interruptions. Making that shift a habit has also made it easier to “be unavailable” at other times during the day or week when I need to focus on work, health, rest, or a relationship. Sweet freedom!
If, as Hardy says, “It’s the little things that inevitably and predictably derail your success;” it’s also the little things that accumulate over time that build a successful life. Looking back, I see how using essential oils consistently over the last couple years resulted in a huge shift toward wellness. I’ve used thousands of drops – tens of thousands even – and I’ve used them one at a time. Consistently. Morning and evening. Lots of drops inbetween. And that shift toward wellness laid the groundwork for purposefully pursuing this business.
If you had asked me two years ago where I saw my health – and my life – headed, I can tell you for certain, I wouldn’t have described where I am today. And if you had told me that there wouldn’t be many big steps forward, just a string of daily steps that felt impossible small in the moment, I might have given up before I started. Healthier? Sure, I hoped for healthy. But, business owner? Not even on my radar screen.
In addition to thousands of drops of oil, “healthier” – both physically and emotionally – has required hard work sifting through toxic baggage from the past and choosing to believe that reliving and releasing the pain was easier than leaving it buried in my body and soul. “Mother” was the title I thought I was made for but “business owner” is the one God has given. So, I’m working at trusting Him and walking through the doors He opens rather than pounding on the ones that are closed.
I haven’t figured it all out yet, this paradigm shift into the new normal. But, I’m thinking a lot about the “little things” these days, and – I think – the way they frame the big things makes all the difference.