On Season 4, Episode 32 of Unleashed, Greg McKeown brought actionable ideas on how we as leaders can lessen the burden and make success easier to achieve.

Actions You Can Take Right Now

  1. Don’t do more today than you can recover from today. The pandemic has shortened our energy and our capabilities. What we want to do is so much more, but as soon as you start using up more energy than you have the ability to recover from in a healthy way, it’s predictable that you will burn out. People close to burnout have clouded perceptions and don’t realize they are burning out.
  2. Take a nap! This is very hard for overachievers. It’s a skill – become a master napper, it doubles your productivity.
  3. Fire a grudge – remove something that is taking emotional and mental energy away.
  4. Try having a Done for the Day list as an alternative to the traditional to-do list. It should be 5-6 important items, and then STOP and rest.
  5. Have boundaries. For instance, have a Time-You’re-Done time – no work after that time.

For other resources from Greg check out his One-Minute Wednesday suggestions and his What’s Essential podcast. Both can be found on his website.

View or listen to past Unleashed Episodes at www.unleashresults.com/unleashed-series

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Each episode of Unleashed is hosted by Results’ CEO Jeff Tetz who spends most of his day exploring what makes high performers tick and helping build a community of leaders who want to learn and grow together. Follow Jeff (Twitter; LinkedIn; Instagram) for more great leadership insights.

Episode Highlights and Excerpts

  • In researching his book Effortless, Greg observed many successful people who are engaged but at the edge of exhaustion. They have too much going on. Combined with this, he had a personal experience of falling into the same category, compounded by a family emergency.
  • “What do you do if you want to make a 10x contribution, but don’t have 10x amounts of you? Time, effort, etc.” If you try to just work harder, give more effort, you start to burn out – physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually.
  • There are two ways to get results. One is the grind and the other path is the smoother, easier path. The Effortless book came out just a few months ago, and it seems to be perfect timing because so many people are at the edge of exhaustion, looking for an alternate path.
  • There are many misconceptions about success. The puritan ethic says hard work is highly valued. But the dark side is we distrust the easy. If things are easy, we are suspect. This mindset cuts off many alternate solutions to the way we do things now that could be easier. The assumption blinds us. Many people through the pandemic simply tried to cope with more effort, and now are either burned out or about to be.
  • We carry around the wrong paradigms. We think if we are not busy all the time we must not be important. We think easy equals lazy. This is a ‘bill of goods’ we’ve been sold. The good news is that the data shows these assumptions are wrong – we can get great results with less effort.
  • The idea of performing to the point of failure to become stronger is incorrect. Greg believes someone training at an elite level should never be sore. Five push-ups every day is better than twenty followed by none. Regular people and performance athletes get more gains this way. Sustainable, consistent efforts are the path to long-term growth. Warren Buffet says the most successful investors border on lethargy.
  • The Effortless Path is about creating systems that work for you that may be different than the existing paradigm. We want to find high ROE – Return on Effort. Working for a fixed amount of input (like an hour) has people stuck in linear growth. If we can reengineer the way we put in the effort we can shift the script.
  • We need to address the exhaustion first. We need to rest, restore, take care of ourselves first. In this state, the entire world looks is cloudy and unclear.
  • Microbursts are powerful. Focus for just ten minutes on one item. It is surprising how much you can get done in a focused ten minutes.
  • Ask the non-intuitive questions. Regularly ask “What is an effortless way to get the result I want?” Stop jumping to doing and think about different approaches. Always look for the minimum viable process to get a result.
  • One-time decisions can eliminate future ones. One example of this automation – we automate our decisions once so they can be repeating. Subscriptions are like this where we don’t have to redecide every occurrence. Greg shared an example of a person he was coaching that wanted to eat healthily, but didn’t plan, got hungry, and then went out for fast food. As a solution, he arranged through an app to have a healthy lunch delivered every day at noon.

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Greg McKeown

Greg has dedicated his career to discovering why some people and teams break through to the next level—and others don’t. He is the CEO of McKeown Inc. Clients include Adobe, Apple, Google, Facebook, Pixar, Salesforce.com, Symantec, Twitter, VMware and Yahoo! Originally from London, England, McKeown now lives in Calabasas, California with his wife, Anna, and their four children. He did his graduate work at Stanford.