The Sustainable Edge: 15 Minutes a Week to a Richer Entrepreneurial Life
January 18, 2016
Ron Carson and Scott Ford deliver a series of questions, and an easy process, for getting the most out of our life and work.
Perhaps the hardest part of any entrepreneurial enterprise is making its success sustainable—not just in terms of business, but in terms of life balance. It's too easy to fall into one of two camps, either working at the expense of engaging with your other passions and relationships outside of work, or accepting a "lifestyle business" that nets a certain amount of income, and maintaining a business rather than growing it. Ron Carson and Scott Ford, the authors of The Sustainable Edge, believe that a business is not actually sustainable anymore unless it is growing, but they also know that you don't have to sacrifice the rest of your life on the alter of growing your business. What they want you to know is that "You don't have to sacrifice growth to achieve balance."
They want to teach the reader how to be "busy with balance." The tool they offer up is the IQ Grower™ process. When speaking to business owners, Ron Carson always asks who in the room thinks they have a high IQ, but he doesn't really care how smart the members of the audience think they are:
In reality, Ron doesn't care about the Intelligence Quotient. So he'll ask "How many of you in the room feel that 'when all is said and done, much more gets said than gets done?'"
Invariably, every hand in the room will shoot up. … As smart as these business owners are, and no matter how high their Intelligence Quotient may be, they almost always have a low implementation quotient of making their goals into reality. In fact, some of them cannot even articulate their goals, be they short- or long-term, personal or professional. Knowing your goals and making them a reality—that's the "IQ" Ron cares about.
They want to up our implementation quotient, and the way to do that is largely by giving up superfluous work that we all do by default.
They wish to compel us to "live life by design, not by default." And that leads to some deeply personal and intense reflection. We are asked to reflect on your personal values, define what gives us a sense of purpose in life and work, question our reasons for being in businesss in the first place, and set our goals and an overall endgame. To give you an idea of just how deep they're asking the reader to go, just look at the title of Chapter Two: "Harness Your Subconcious to Identify Your Why."
But they will also give us a blueprint for how to answer these questions and implement them in our daily life. And "If there is nothing else you take away from this book," they tell us, "'The Essential Six' and 'Most Vital' exercise is the most important." The Essential Six is "your top six professinal priorities for each day," and "the Most Vital is the big goal you must accomplish for the week." The reason this is so vital is beacause in order to do what's most important, we must define it, truly discover what we are most passionate about, and abandon the rest. As they tell us:
As creative people, entrepreneurs rarely meet an idea they don't love. We suffer from overconfidence and like to believe we can be good at everything. But as our initial enhusiasm fades, we quickly abandon these initiatives and move on to the next. The more focused you become throught the Essential Six and Most Vital exercise, the more effective you will be, and the more willing your team will be to mobilize behind your latest initiative. That, in turn, will free you to focus on what you're most passionate about at your company. Suddenly, you will be busy with balance.
Because it's so easy to get off course, the IQ Grower™ exercises are simple daily and quartlery rituals in which you continually ask these questions, among many others like: What are the six things you value you most in life? What three things are you grateful for today? What are you biggest goals for 10 to 25 years from now, and what goals for this quarter will move you in that direction?
The entire book is, in fact, largely a series of important and insightful questions to up our implementation and effectiveness. It's kind of like psychoanalysis for the business brain.
If you're ready to sit on the couch and dive deep with them, we have 20 copies avaiable.