How to Finally Conquer the To-Do List

to do listI think it’s safe to say that most of you found yourself in this business because of inspiration.  Whether you started your travel business 10 days ago or 10 years ago, I am guessing you were inspired to be in the travel industry and follow your passion.

That’s a perfect starting point.  But I see a lot of people go downhill from there (even if it’s been 10 or 20 years).  Certainly not on purpose!  And many of them don’t even realize they are going downhill or shooting themselves in the foot.

You see, what very often happens after taking an enormous leap of faith like I did in 2001 – quit my impressive, prestigious, high-paying job to follow my passion and start my travel business – the four letter word that begins with “F” sets in.

You know the word, right?  It’s not a swear word.  It’s called fear.  As soon as you take a leap of faith like that, you feel like you need to jump into action, work hard, and impress the peanut gallery.

Fear sets in quickly as you become aware of your “don’t wants.”  I know exactly what you don’t want:

  • You don’t want a lack of clients
  • You don’t want to fail
  • You don’t want to go back to the J.O.B
  • You don’t want to disappoint people close to you who encouraged you to do this
  • You don’t want to be a hobbyist
  • You don’t want to look like a novice
  • You don’t want to make a mistake with your clients

And the list could go on and on.  So what do you do?  Because of your awareness of all of these “don’t wants” you get MOTIVATED by your list to jump into action.  You wake up every day adding more items to your “to do” list.  You wake up everyday feeling frustrated with yourself that you haven’t ticked more items off your list.  You wake up everyday feeling tired and you wonder where the zest for your business went?

You see, motivation is the driver of action when wanting to avoid something unwanted.  The mistake you made was letting the fear and focus on the don’t wants hijack your emotional state and rob you of inspiration.  Inspiration only comes when your emotional state is above a certain point.

Motivated action will yield results for sure.  But it will drain you.  Inspired action will yield 1000% more in results and won’t drain you one bit.  In fact, inspired action will replenish you.

So if you are feeling drained by your to-do list and frustrated with yourself about your lack of progress on your to-do list, then we need to have a conversation about inspired action.  This begins with understanding your emotional state.

The one thing you have the ability to control in your life is your emotional state.  Many people spend their entire lives not realizing this.  Believe it or not, your ability to control your emotional state is where your inner power lies.

When you commit to being aware of and caring about how you feel in any given moment of the day, you have claimed your inner power and you can become the designer of your life and business success.  Most people’s emotions are dictated by the conditions around them.  So if you see a brand new puppy in the park, your emotion will be in a high state.  But if you get an unexpected bill in the mail after seeing the overdraft in your bank account, you will be in a low emotional state.

There is a broad spectrum of emotional states from ecstasy and pure joy at the very top down to depression and powerlessness at the very bottom.  Most people don’t realize that they have the ability to control that state and instead let the conditions around them control it.  You do have the ability to control your emotional state DESPITE the conditions.  You control it through focus.

Imagine that you have a type of thermometer inside you that measures your emotional state from 0 to 100%.  Your inner power lies in your commitment to reading that “state-o-meter” in any and all moments of the day.  When it falls below the 50% line, your only job is to get yourself back above the 50% line.  The emotion that lies right on the 50% line is contentment.

When you have fallen below the 50% line, this is not the time to pick up the phone and make that call.  This is not the time to write the email to the disgruntled client.  This is not the time to schedule your week of social media posts.  This IS the time to step away, and find any reason to feel good.  Put your focus on the easiest things that trigger positive emotion.

Most people are not paying any attention to their state-o-meter and taking action from all points in the meter.  Inspired action happens when you have deliberately focused yourself above the 50% line, held that state for an extended period of time and then get an idea to do something awesome.

And I promise you – when you turn on your awareness of your state-o-meter, and get into the habit of realizing that the only job you have to do when your state falls below the 50% line is to get your state above it, you will not only check everything off your to-do list…you will throw it away :).