Recently, I came across a concept that made my jaw drop. It’s pretty simple and revolutionary, and when I checked into its truth in my own life, I was pretty blown away. Feel free to apply this concept to ANY area of life (health, career, personal relationships, spirituality, financial abundance, etc). It is called the Pareto Principle.
80% of your success comes from 20% of your action.
Inversely, 20% of your success comes from 80% of your action.
I learned this through The Origin Collective, a group for female entrepreneurs started by the amazing Kate Northrup Watts (and author of Money: A Love Story). I joined her group because it is ALL about stepping into more flow, trust, surrender and intuition with our businesses rather than struggle, anxiety, shoulds, ego and striving. It has been SO helpful for my calming the heck down, sitting with myself, and making sure I’m taking aligned action (rather than spinning out of control and leaking my energy all over the place).
Because so much of what I work on with clients is stepping into more flow, trust, surrender and intuition with their bodies, and ultimately, their lives, I’ve been going deeper in my own life with this work as well. And the above idea was really helpful for me to realize that I don’t need to do a) what I perceive everyone else is doing b) follow someone else’s recipe for success over the call of my own intuition c) waste too much of my time with action that isn’t moving me forward.
After learning this concept, I took a look as the instances I perceived as life and business successes (the instances that became a supernova of converging positive feelings) where I really manifested something very aligned with deep personal meaning and feelings of success.
Here are a few for the sake of example:
Playing Josie in “A Moon for the Misbegotten” at the Pittsburgh Public (I love Eugene O’Neill and this character spoke to my soul).
Developing a relationship with Mark Fisher Fitness and running Soul Body System (my group mind, body and soul coaching program) for three years.
Selling out my private clients and having a waiting list.
Financial abundance that allowed me to build up my savings enough to feel comfortable having a family.
Scoring a TedX talk.
I took a moment to write down all the actions that directly seemed to link to the acquiring of these goals, and I had a bit of a realization.
Almost ALL of them required me to take action a) that scared me b) that I hadn’t previously taken c) that felt more vulnerable than what I had been doing.
Booking the show–Yes, I had trained for years, auditioned for years, perfected my skills as an actor and put in the work, but when it came to booking the actual role in “A Moon for the Misbegotten”, I am convinced it was because I went the extra mile. I rented a costume, I dirtied my face, I went in barefoot, and after the audition, I stuck around and told the director why I thought I was the person to play the role. I wasn’t planning on it, but my intuition said “Do it!” and I listened. The director followed me out of the room with the offer.
Soul Body System–Yes, I had been building my business for years, but to actually get in the room with Mark and Michael (of Mark Fisher Fitness), I had to ASK to get in the room. I had to say hi again and again. I asked for multiple meetings, even when I was worried they may be wanting to start a big old eye roll. I had to do the relationship building over years to show them I had integrity and that I believed in their business as well. I had to actually BEGIN the group program and beta test it multiple times before it was good enough to present to them. When they invited me in and gave me the opportunity to show them the goods, it happened to fall around the time of my wedding. So, I started the program the week before my wedding! Crazy, yes, but intuition said “Do it now sister.” All of this felt like starting before I was ready, and it also felt like flying.
Selling out private clients–I began to see that selling out my private practice came from personal recommendation, free workshops and from being hella vulnerable in my writing (and email communications). People repeatedly said they wanted to work with me because I wasn’t “perfect” and wasn’t afraid to be real about my own struggles. So, the most important things for me to do was create an amazing experience for a client (which includes my getting better at what I do), putting myself in front of people IN PERSON, and being really vulnerable in my writing.
Booking the TedX–I was referred to the TedX by Mark of Mark Fisher Fitness, so again, relationship building and getting better at what I do step by step were huge things for me. I also had to pitch myself multiple times, which required my getting SUPER clear on what I could offer and how I was going to deliver it. I had to at least seem like I believed I was going to rock it, even when I was positive I had no idea what I was doing.
The combined group programs and one on one client work is what my provided me with the financial abundance and security to entertain having a family.
Here’s the thing…
Meeting people in person scares me (it still does). I want to throw up before most workshops and the first day of every group program, I have to give myself a pep talk. Despite being an actor, public speaker and coach, there is a serious introvert shadow living inside.
Being super vulnerable in my writing (while healing) also scares me. My ego is so afraid of being judged or looking “messy.”
Asking to get in the room with someone (whether that is a meeting, a podcast, or a speaking opportunity) scares me. Again, I feel like I’m going to throw up.
Investing in my own development also scares me because (usually it is expensive), it takes me admitting that I don’t intuitively “know it all” and that I’m still growing, and I’m always so afraid the money won’t replenish itself right away.
Pitching myself scares me because a part of me isn’t sure I have what it takes.
So, what’s the takeaway?
The 20% of the action that got me 80% of the success almost always was out of comfort zone.
It always scared me. It always made me feel like I was going to throw up a little. And it was always guided by my deeper intuition saying “do it despite the fear.”
That is why it was SO much easier to focus on the 80% of the action that made me feel safer. I would stay behind my computer screen a lot more. I would TALK about all the action I was going to take. I would do a lot of strategizing without actually stepping into the arena of action. I would do what someone else told me to do, even though it wasn’t seeming to get me any closer to my desires. I would spin my wheels and focus on action that wasn’t helping me to grow.
Any action in the arena of change is beautiful, even if it falls in that 80% that gets you 20% results (meaning you feel comfortable doing it and ritualizing it) because it may be building an important foundation.
However, the change that will have big impact is the 20% that gets 80% results. And usually this action will require stepping out of your comfort zone and BEING SEEN. And you can’t let the action that makes you feel safe take the place of action that makes you feel seen.
- Take a moment to list 3-4 big, meaningful, successful accomplishments in your life. The supernova of positive feelings.
- Make a list of all of the actions directly and indirectly that led to each of them
- Go through and start to see the patterns of the repeated actions. What were the highest leverage?
- Mark the actions that made me feel safe versus vulnerable.
- Get intentional (based on this) on what is most important to you right now, what you can start spending MORE time on (knowing it has an 80% effect).
Rock On & Be Well,