Long vs Short-term Success: Same questions, different order

When coaching someone about a long-term strategy for success I often use the following order of 4 questions:

  1. What do you love to do? 
    While you can’t always match it to an immediate opportunity, the closer you get, the happier you’ll be.
  2. What are you great at?
    Everyone is unique. There are skills and talents that come more easily to you than to others. If you are great at something, it immediately stands out.
  3. What are other people not good at?
    It’s all about comparisons. If you are great at something that most others are not, it makes your exceptional abilities all the more clear.
  4. What are the key pain points of your partners or clients, and how can you address them?
    Using your unique skills to improve the lives of other key individuals is a sure path to success. 

Answering all 4 questions can help you filter opportunities to pick those with a high probability for long-term success. 

But what if, for the moment, you’re more focused on achieving a short-term success like when you start a new job.

Rather than come up with a whole different set of questions, simply ask yourself the same questions in reverse order:

  1. What are the key pain points of your partners or clients, and how can you address them?
  2. What are other people not good at?
  3. What am I great at?
  4. What do I love to do?

Focusing on solving your client’s problems will establish immediate credibility. It’s even more effective if other people have tried it without success (meaning it’s a difficult task that other people are not good at). Less important for the short term is using one of your unique skills and doing something you love (although you should definitely get back to those questions as soon as things stabilize for long-term success).

The simple message of this post: Order matters.

If you want to play with this concept, ask yourself why you do things in the order that you do such as your morning routine and work habits? And are there any simple changes you could make that would make a difference in your life? 

Here’s an example of a popular answer in the self-improvement industry: for a boost in productivity, move social media and email to later in the morning, rather than checking first thing, so you can focus on the things that are important to do without getting distracted. 

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