Transcript: How to Identify What’s Important & Let Go of What’s Not

September 27, 2022

AMY PORTERFIELD: “Have you ever felt a little bit desperate in the beginning? Like, if you're in those early stages, I know this is hard to admit. I can admit it now, years and years later. I don't know if I could have admitted it in the moment, but now I know I felt a little bit desperate. Like, I had left my nine-to-five job. This business I was creating had to work or I was in big trouble. So I felt desperate. And because of that I said yes to everything, making everything equally important. And I don't think there's any coincidence that I struggled those first two years. I really struggled. In fact, my second year of business, I made less money than my first year of business. And I think that's absolutely because I made everything important, everything was a priority, everything was urgent, and I really didn't know where to spend my time or focus.”  

INTRO: I’m Amy Porterfield, ex-corporate girl turned CEO of a multi-seven-figure business. But it wasn't all that long ago that I lacked the confidence, the budget, and the time to focus on growing my small-but-mighty business. Fast forward past many failed attempts and lessons learned, and you'll see the business I have today, one that changes lives and gives me more freedom than I ever thought possible, one that used to only exist as a daydream. I created the Online Marketing Made Easy podcast to give you simple, actionable, step-by-step strategies to help you do the same. If you're an ambitious entrepreneur, or one in the making, who's looking to create a business that makes an impact and a life you love, you're in the right place, friend. Let's get started. 

AMY: Real quick, I want to tell you about a podcast called No Straight Path. It's hosted by Ashley Menzies Babatunde, and she sheds light on the stories behind shiny resumes, social-media highlights, job titles, and she aims to humanize success. Featuring guests from all walks of life, No Straight Path inspires conversations around the nuanced perspective of success. Start by checking out her episode titled “Success is Maximizing Happiness,” where she talks about defining yourself by the positive impact that you can make versus your profession. 

Listen to No Straight Path wherever you get your podcasts. 

Hey, there. Amy, here. Welcome back to Online Marketing Made Easy. This is a Shorty episode, meaning you can get through it really quickly, but I think it could be one of the most valuable Shorty episodes that I create for you, because it really comes down to getting clear on what you want. And I think this is a struggle for some. And for others, I don't think that they think about this question a lot: what do you want?  

So let me back up just a little bit. Last week I did a podcast episode with Marie Forleo. Now, this was the first time—and she's been on my show a lot—this is the first time that we did not talk about how to grow a business. Instead, we talked about how to manage your time like a boss. And managing your time is one of the most important things you can do as an entrepreneur.  

So if you missed that episode, make sure, after this episode's done, go take a listen. I think you're going to get immense value and be so glad that you listened to that episode sooner than later. I think it could help you right away.  

So there were two things that Marie talked about in that episode that I thought, “I need to drill down on these two concepts a little bit more and really share some experiences I've had with them in hopes that it will help you dial these two scenarios in, or concepts in, even more in your business.” 

So the first one is something that she shared on the episode that I thought, “I want to make sure I highlight this one,” and it's this: when you know what's important, you can ignore what's not. When you know what's important, you can ignore what's not. And when she said that, I was like, “Holy cow. So powerful. Very true.” I can say at this point in my career and business building that I am very clear on what is important and very clear on what is not. However, for those of you who are listening that are just getting started, that question could create massive anxiety for you. And because I was where you are at, I think I know what questions come up with that, or just concerns. Like, first of all, “Amy, I am a one-man or a one-woman show.” Like, if you're in your first years of business, then yeah, that's what it looks like. And you might be thinking something that I thought years and years ago, and that is, “I have to do it all, so it's all important. No one's going to be doing it if I don't do it. So it's all important at this point.” Have you ever had that feeling? Like, it's just me. 

Or how about this one? Have you ever felt a little bit desperate in the beginning? Like, if you're in those early stages, I know this is hard to admit. I can admit it now, years and years later. I don't know if I could have admitted it in the moment, but now I know I felt a little bit desperate. Like, I had left my nine-to-five job. This business I was creating had to work or I was in big trouble. So I felt desperate. And because of that I said yes to everything, making everything equally important. And I don't think there's any coincidence that I struggled those first two years. I really struggled. In fact, my second year of business, I made less money than my first year of business. And I think that's absolutely because I made everything important, everything was a priority, everything was urgent, and I really didn't know where to spend my time or focus. 

Now, getting clear on that, I think it takes some time. So give yourself some grace. But one question you could absolutely start with is, what do I want?  

Now, for those of you who journal, I want you to journal about this. For those of you who don't journal, I want you to journal about this. I know, I know. Journaling is a very hard habit to get into, and I struggle with it as well. But every time I sit down and get my thoughts out of my head and onto paper, it's a different experience. And this is important and worth it.  

So what I want you to do is sit down and write at the top “What Do I Want?” and I want you just to start writing whatever comes to you. Now, in that same session, or maybe the next day, if you only want to do ten minutes of journaling a day, the next question is, “What Do I Want in the Next 365 Days?” and I want you to journal that. And then the final prompt is, “What Do I Want in the Next Six Months?”  

So “What Do I Want?” It's free flowing. No time limit. What do you want? And it could be something like, “a mansion by the sea,” or it could be, “hardwood floors in my kitchen,” or it could be, “I want a six-figure business,” or “I want to hire five people in the next six months,” or something like that. You can put a time to it, but you don't have to.  

But in the beginning, it’s just what do you want? How much money do you want to make? What do you want to feel like? What do you want your life to be like? We got to get clear, my friends.  

And then, when you go into, what do you want in the next year?, then you're going to be more specific, right? And then, the next six months, very specific. So if you take what you want ultimately and then kind of whittle it down to, “Okay, but in the next year, what do I really want?” and then, when you get to the six months, you're kind of using that, “Okay, if I want this in the next year, what do I need to really focus on in the next six months?”  

And when you do that—believe me; don't just humor me. I really want you to do this because if you really trust me this does create clarity instantly in that moment. It doesn't solve all your problems, but it definitely gives you some more clarity in terms of, “Okay, so if this is what I want in, let's say, the next six months, what is most important to focus on?” because when you know what's important, you can ignore what is not.  

And my friend, if I could give you any advice, whether you're just starting out or if you're like me and you've been at it for a while, please make an effort to say no to what is not going to serve you.  

Hardest lesson I have learned in my business. I just said no to a speaking gig this morning that I know would have been really cool for me to attend. But I have a book launch coming up, and that speaking gig was going to get in the way of a lot of different things that I need to do and I'm committed to doing, and I can't do everything, and I can't be everywhere. And I've done this a few times now with speaking gigs that have come up around when I'm launching the book. 

So getting back to you. If you know what you want in the next year, in the next six months, what are the top three to five projects that you need to focus on? That's what I want you to ask yourself. What are the top three to five—no more than five—projects that you need to focus on? And if you are a one-woman or a one-man show, let's do three. Like, five is way too much at this point.  

And then when you say, “Okay, these are the projects,” I also want you to think about or journal about, what do you need to let go of in this season? That's another thing that Marie and I talk about in last week's episode. Again, go take a listen. In this season. Because it won't always be like this, my friend. You won't always be in this season. Maybe you're like, “Hallelujah.” Or maybe you're like, “Oh, bummer. I love this season I’m in.” Whatever it is, it does go away. I constantly have different seasons in my business.  

Right now I'm in a book-launch season, but come February, that's going to change. And I've got things I really want to work on in my business, but I cannot get to those just yet. So what has to wait for you, go on the back burner, be completely eliminated, in order for you to focus on what's most important? Because here's the secret to success, and I know Marie would agree with me: you will see success so much faster—and I know you want it. I know you want it to be faster. I know you want things to fall into place for you. I know you want things to finally start working. So if you focus on just three to five projects and you go all in or get the support you need to go all in with those—you will see success faster than if you continue to say yes to everything; you do not have a hierarchy of what's most important in your business. 

Like, right now if you asked me, I just came off of the Digital Course Academy launch, so I would say Digital Course Academy, book-marketing plan, and overall lead generation. Right now, those are the three most important things that I need to focus on in my business, and in that order. Now, the book-marketing plan will get me more leads, and more leads will help with the book-marketing plan, so those go hand in hand. Now, are there ten other things that I want to list right now? Absolutely. Are there things that I cannot get to because I have to stay totally focused? Absolutely.  

And because I have a bigger team—and here’s something to look forward to if you're not here yet—there are more projects that I can have my team work on when I can't work on them. So that's a perk of having longevity in your business, reinvesting in your business, one day hiring some people. But if you're not there yet, then it's not going to be the season you're in, right?  

So again, we do have to know what's important so that we can focus on those things, but even more importantly, stop focusing on the things that are not going to get you where you want to get to. And the cold, hard truth of this episode is you can't do it all. You can't be everywhere all the time. You can't say yes to every opportunity that comes your way, even when it's a good opportunity, even when it seems like it would be so cool, because every time you say yes to something, you are absolutely saying no to something else.  

And that's the kind of stuff that hits me in my gut. Like, yes, it's so true, but it doesn't make it any easier. I'm not saying saying no is easy. I struggle with it still. I'm not saying that it's fun to put things on the back burner. I get it. I want to do it all. But I also am saying, “I want a thriving business. I want to be profitable. I want to make sure that I can grow a team and pay them well. I want to love up on my students.” And if I want all of that, then I cannot possibly take on as much as I wish I could. We are only one person, my friend. You are only one person. Please give yourself some space to do really great things on the projects that are right in front of you that are your priority.  

And the last thing I'll leave you with—I said that there are two things that Marie talked about in that episode that I wanted to drill down on. The second one's a lot shorter. I'm going to wrap this up in a minute. But the second thing that she said that I just couldn't ignore, we have to talk about it, is “I don't do overwhelm.” Did you hear her say that in that episode and where that came about? I love that story that she told about it. I've been trying it on ever since. Like, I interviewed her weeks ago. So ever since that she shared that with me, when I say, “I'm overwhelmed”—I still catch myself saying it. Now it's very loud in my ear because I am aware of it even more—but every time I say it, I, “Ooh, nope,” and then I say, “I take that back.” If I'm talking to a team member, “I don't do overwhelm. I take that back.” Or I just tell myself, “Take it back. I don't do overwhelm.”  

And then what my mind has done in the last few weeks, like, every day that I have to practice this, is my mind asks, “Well, then, what are we going to do?” And so, like today. Today has been a massively stressful day to me. Even saying it, I was like, “Don't say it, Amy. That's not how you want to talk about your day.” So right when I said it, I wish I could swallow that back up. But here's—the part of me that is not as elevated, the part of me that struggles feels like this has been a really stressful day. Nothing has gone as planned. I am way behind in the to-dos that I committed to doing today because I got side railed with an issue in my business. And so I want to tell you, like, right now, I am so overwhelmed.  

That feels good. Like, that's my comfort area to say, “I’m so overwhelmed.” I don't know if it's, like, my way to self-soothe or whatever. But because I don't want to continue to say that—it does not serve me. Do you get why “I am so overwhelmed” might self-soothe in the moment, but absolutely does not help with your effectiveness or efficiency or productivity in the business? Like, it is literally a low-vibe thing to say. 

And so because I want to say that, because that's all I've ever known, when I tell you, “I don't do overwhelm,” then my brain goes to, “Then, what do we need to do?” And the first thing I thought of when I started feeling that way today is, “Well, I need to talk to my assistant, Christine, and let her know that I cannot get to these things today. And can we find another time to do them? Yes, I know that that might throw off a few other things that I'm doing, but I've got to make some sacrifices somewhere because they're not going to get done today, and I don't plan to work till 9:00 p.m..” And so that's the first thing I could do.  

The second thing I could do is go into my Asana project-management system, my software that I use, Asana, go in there and look at what is not actually urgent, or where can I ask for some help so that I don't go to bed tonight with twenty overdue action items? That doesn't feel good either.  

I could have a conversation with my leadership team and let them know that, “Hey, I've gotten behind in a few things. Here's what's going on. Can you help me brainstorm?” or “You're going to need to be a little bit patient with me. I can't get to these things as fast as I want.” 

There are things we can do to keep moving forward and put our head down, take action, because I say it one million times a week: action creates clarity, and clarity leads to your results. So it's so very important that you get into action so you can have that clarity. So when you're overwhelmed or confused or stressed, let's put our head down and think, “What can I do to help me move forward in the direction I want to move and things start to make more sense?” 

So, “I don't do overwhelm.” I just wanted to share with you all that I've been practicing that. It has absolutely been helping me. But it is a struggle. That is a struggle. That's one of my weaknesses. “I'm so overwhelmed.” I say it so much, it should be a tattoo, which it absolutely should not be a tattoo on me. But I'm just saying, like, that—I'm embarrassed to say I think it's been my mantra.  

I think I got out of the habit years ago and got back into it recently when I've been, you know, launching the book and all this stuff that's coming up with that and Digital Course Academy and everything. It just felt like a lot. And at the end of the day, I chose that.  

I think that's where I want to end this episode with you to say, when I'm complaining, “I'm so overwhelmed,” “I'm so stressed,” or all those low-vibe things that I could say to myself, I have to look in the mirror and think, “I have my own business. I am the boss. I am the only one who's creating this chaos.”  

And my sweet husband likes to remind me of that, too. Like, “You should talk to your boss about being overworked,” or whatever comes up when I'm complaining to him. Poor Hobie. He gets all the good, bad, and ugly. 

But at the end of the day, if you are growing your business and you are calling the shots, then you might need to be a little bit nicer to yourself, give yourself some grace, and then really have to step up to the plate and say, “What is going on the back burner? What needs to wait, or what needs to actually be deleted—like, we are no longer doing this—so that I can focus on what's most important and, also, so that every day I'm not feeling defeated because I haven't gotten to as much as I wanted to get to?” We have to take care of ourselves.  

I think it was Mel Robbins who had this TikTok video, and she—I don’t remember the whole script she used, but she said, like, “Nobody's coming to save you.” And that's, like, very jarring here, right? We want people around us that love us and take care of us. But no one's coming to save you. When she said that, I was like, “Oh, she's right.” When you're an entrepreneur, you are going to have to save yourself, my friend. And this is the rally call for you to do so. Save yourself and make sure that those two mantras, or two scenarios, I shared with you today that Marie shared, I really want you to think about them.  

And there's one more thing when it comes to Marie. In the episode that you might have missed, in case you missed it, she is doing a free masterclass. And when Marie shares a free masterclass about time management, you can bet I'm not going to miss it.  

She has been my dear friend for before I left Tony Robbins. And one thing I can tell you, because I know her behind the scenes, she is incredibly, incredibly productive and very focused and never has a hundred spinning plates in the air and has boundaries like a freaking boss, and she definitely manages her time like no other. But if you missed that episode, she did struggle recently, like, kind of went backwards a little bit, because I've always known her to be a great time-management entrepreneur. But she struggled—I think it was in 2020. I’ll have to go listen to the episode—and she shares what happened. And then, that's how she decided to focus even more on teaching how to manage your own time.  

So this masterclass is called Three Productivity Mistakes You Can't Afford to Make. And these productivity mistakes—she shared them with me. I absolutely know I've made these mistakes—but she's not just going to share the mistakes; she's going to share with you how to overcome them. So it's worth your time to go learn about how to manage your time like a boss, and Marie’s going to teach you how.  

So, That's where you need to go. And this is a live masterclass. So you want to sign up right away because I think if you wait too long, it's going to be gone.  

All right, my sweet friends. I hope you found this episode valuable. I wanted to share what’s on my heart around these two big, important topics. And go check out Marie's masterclass. I think you're going to love it. Talk to you soon. 

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