The year was 2016, and I had just finished my last semester on Campus. Like most fourth years, I dreamed of graduating with a first-class degree, getting a job with a fat paycheck and traveling all over the world as soon as I stepped out of campus. I wanted to be RICH!
However, if you had asked me whether I was actively working towards reaching this ‘desired state’, I would have given you a blank stare. I was more focused on the results of my skills and abilities rather than the skills and abilities themselves. I was obsessed with the 1% made entirely of dreams and aspirations forgetting about the 99% of hard work which is crucial to creating the results I wanted.
The 99% Matters
The summit motivates you, but it’s the climb that matters. Similarly, the 99% is the path to your goals. It’s what takes you where you want to be. Heck, it’s what makes up 99%; meaning if you focus on it, the 1% will follow.
Here’s the catch though, the 99% is hard. Why? Because it takes discipline to do what is difficult and perseverance to continue without immediate results.
How I Made The 99% Easier
1. Start Collecting Your Data Now
Using a simple spreadsheet, you can map out the activities you carry out in a day and how much time each action takes you; this will help you understand whether your 99% will result in the 1% you desire. For example, you cannot have a 1% that involves being a supermodel when your 99% does not include exercise or a healthy diet.
2. Set Your Goals & I.D Your 99%
The beauty of collecting your personal data is that you can see what’s happening in your life more clearly; this makes it easier for you to tweak and adjust your schedule to produce the desired results. Therefore, once you figure out where your time goes, you can now start working on getting to the 1%. List down what it takes to get where you desire to be. You can quickly achieve this by identifying at least three people that you admire and would like to have the same level of success. Check them out on Linkedin or Google. How did they get there? That’s your 99%. In my case, I wanted to transition from freelance writer to be the most effective digital marketer in Kenya. Here was my 99%;
• Waking up at 4:00 am
• 1-hour e-learning on inbound marketing
• 30-min Yoga/exercise
• Healthy Diet
• A book a month
3. Track your 99% Against the 1%
Did you know that there’s a difference between working hard and being productive?
The difference is that productivity hinges on working hard at the right task. For example, if you want to land a job as a data analyst at PWC in the next one year, you have to work hard at understanding the latest hiring trends in data science, the company’s hiring culture, the demands of their market and the gaps and opportunities within PWC. That’s being productive, instead of applying for countless interviews when you don’t have your basics right.
In my case, I understood digital marketing and the whole concept of inbound marketing was new in the market. So I had to take courses that would help me advise and create more value for my client. Consequently, this is how the 1 hour of learning every day has affected my income in the last three years.
• Notice when I started in 2016, there was more learning than earning. However, in 2018, the learning gives similar returns in earning. That’s the discipline and perseverance I was talking about in the beginning. Success will not happen overnight.
• In 2017, I fell off the productivity bandwagon, a lot was happening in my life, but notice how income rate continues to rise. ; this tells me investing in learning is a good move, regardless of the situation in my life, I will always have my skills and knowledge, no one can take that from me.
• In 2018 I hopped back into the bandwagon with renewed zeal for learning. After all, I could already see that my learning activities were making me a more effective digital marketer resulting in increased income from satisfied clients.
The Plan Going Foward
If data has taught me anything in the last three years, it’s that learning and earning are directly correlated. If you look around you will notice three things that support this statement;
• Technology is disrupting industries and processes at a rapid rate which requires evolving skillsets
• There are no safe jobs anymore, ask the bank tellers
• You need new skills regardless of your age
So start today by curving at least 30 mins of your day for learning. If you wake up at 6:00 am, set the alarm clock for 5:30 am. There are numerous online courses and books that you can use to sharpen your skills.
Also, pay more to your daily activities; remember it’s the 99% that will get you to the 1%. More importantly, share what you learn, because you can only learn more by sharing it with others. That’s why they call it the knowledge economy 🙂
What about you? How do you use data to improve your life?