Ten Useful Hacks to Make Things Happen

TopTenList Back by popular demand, a post I wrote back in March with a new twist.

My business mentor and friend reminded me of the importance of setting the process for making your goals happen — you get things in motion, and keep at it. Once you build momentum, the outcomes take care of themselves.

We can hardly make someone else or something else do what we want, can we? What we can do is having the proper attitude and approach to open up opportunity.

The more expansive our thinking, the easier to find help and support along the way. I think connecting people is the secret to success, and you agreed with me.

With that in mind, here are ten hacks to make your distractions disappear so you can meet your goals.


(1.) You miss the big picture — you spend too much time in the weeds, and you're totally immersed at the tactical level. We feel your pain. Ever wonder if what you're doing is the right thing for you?

Big picture hack: use Prezi to map out the whole ecosystem and context around your project and spend some time looking at it whole. A flip chart would do, except you want to have the freedom to make tweaks.


(2.) You become me-centered — it's all about you: your program, your book, your video, your success, your advice, your post, your everything. Flip positions, don't hide behind passion, use it.

Other-centered hack: think about three things you can affect a week. It's not that difficult, just listen to the people around you and be helpful without expecting anything in return. That will refocus your attention. What can you do to make things better? 


(3.) You do community ass backwards — ironically, when community becomes yet another buzzword and crowd sourcing is a great concept as long as the project is yours, you lose.

Community hack: find an existing group of people connected by a desire to share a common experience or find a need to connect people with similar challenges and interests and help them build a community without centering it around your brand or project. Or simply connect people in your network.


(4.) You spend too much — when you delegate attention, you also delegate the ability to see and fix cost overruns, or the fact that you may be working on the wrong side of the problem.

Budget hack: spot the first signs of overspend right at the time you vet scope of work. By being very clear on what you want (your goal), you can explore different and creative ways to get there. Find a team or agency that will present more options and let them do so.


(5.) You're not connecting — your networking and meetings are a succession of happy jumps from one place to the other. There's no moment like the present to connect. Businesses do this, too. When you keep shifting direction, you'll never get there.

Connection hack: practice this in your own home. If you live alone, find friends. Still your mind. Forget yourself and shift your attention to the other person. Start noticing how others express joy, stress, passion, interest, and so on.


(6.) Your idea doesn't get done — you discarded the best idea you ever had, because you were too afraid to flesh it out and make it happen. Tell the truth, you thought about something, and then talked yourself out of it more than once.

Idea hack: do it right away. From the trivial blog post that comes to mind while driving or reading something (call yourself and leave a detailed message), to the idea that you feel will get you to the big hairy, audacious, goal. Go from 0-60 while it's fresh.


(7.) You miss the obvious — they say common sense is not that common, after all. Do you take what you know today for granted? Have you lost the ability to unlearn?

Awareness hack: step back in time and find that place when you didn't know what you think you know today. Lose the information you think you have, and you will see something new.


(8.) You chase the wrong people — those who don't care, instead of building relationships with those who are giving you *their* attention. It's a common distraction, get over it. In business, they call it the white elephant run.

Relationship hack: here's what you do, pay attention to those who are paying attention to you. Build from there. Relationships are long term, and when you start with those who care, you're at a tremendous advantage.


(9.) You don't use distraction to your advantage — this point was suggested by @SteveKoss on Twitter "some of our best innovations or problem-solving have come at times of distractions."

Intention hack: when you observe that you're trying too hard, let your mind wander for a few minutes. Have a happy or fun place for it to go rest. Notice how the best ideas come to you when you're not thinking so hard?


(10.) You forget to be grateful — can we agree that this is a grave sin? This is also another good way to shift attention from how difficult things are to you can do it attitude and problem solving mode.

Acknowledgment hack: cut yourself some slack and take the time to celebrate your accomplishments. You don't need anyone else to acknowledge them or you for the accomplishments to be real.


It's easy to let events run their course. Use the power of present moment awareness to stay on track with your goals. Weigh in! What are your best hacks?

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