A few months back, I had the idea of creating a list of “words to live by”. I spent a few days writing things down, assembling the list you’re about to read. It’s still in work and may indeed need some work, but it’s a starting point—and hopefully an inspiration to you about what matters most in life.
Without much pomp or circumstance, here are my life’s Standard Operating Procedures.
Be sold out to Jesus.
Be strong and courageous (Joshua 1:8-9).
Be ruthlessly optimistic.
Be the Guide.
Live in abundance, not scarcity.
Have a growth mindset, not a fixed one.
Remember that you’re a steward of God’s resources for the times and places He has ordained.
Be the kind of man God wants you to be.
Be the kind of man you want your sons to be.
Be the kind of man you’d want your daughter to marry.
Be the leader you’d want to follow.
Admit when you’re wrong.
Own your mistakes.
Learn from your mistakes.
Be committed to excellence in your craft.
Listen to your inner boy and be aware of the things that excite him.
Health and Wellbeing
Give thanks every day.
Pray every day.
Do something you enjoy every day.
Learn something new every day.
Rest and recharge every Sunday.
Live as naturally as possible.
Lift weights 3 times per week.
Take as many walks and hikes as possible.
Get as much healthy sunshine as possible.
Eat at least 90% gluten free.
Eat 5 servings of fruits and veggies daily.
Minimize processed food intake.
Get a minimum of 7 hours of sleep every night.
Nap if you need to.
Smile and mean it.
See at least 1 new place each year.
You are called and created to love, so love always.
Remember that all people are Image-bearers in body and soul, and therefore worthy of respect.
Smile and mean it.
Ask for what you want.
Say what you mean and mean what you say.
Let others see Jesus through your actions.
Let others hear Jesus through your words.
Be an active listener.
Define boundaries and do not cross them.
Do not let others cross your boundaries.
Seek to know others’ love languages and fill their tanks accordingly.
Days and Schedules
Plan all important meetings 1 week in advance.
Hold no in-person or important meetings unless all decision-makers are present.
Hold no meetings after 4:00 PM.
Work no more than 10 hours a day.
Make business tasks quick, easy, and fun like homeschooling was. Life’s too short to be slaving away.
Take time every Friday afternoon to plan the next week.
Hold no impromptu meetings unless it’s an emergency.
Don’t let your deep work time be disrupted.
Don’t let shiny objects take your eyes off your goals and the tasks at hand.
Investigate any shiny objects to see if they’re as shiny as they appear.
Attend a maximum of 3 networking events each week.
Block out 1 day each week for no client calls or meetings.
Any work done on a Saturday should be work that builds your business.
Work, Clients, and Sales
Work as one approved. Remember Who you ultimately work for.
Whether you work for yourself or for someone else, you must see yourself as your own boss—a free agent on the open market, responsible for your well-being.
Be radically generous.
Smile and mean it.
Clients come first, then prospects.
Don’t be desperate to sell; be hungry to serve.
True sales is meeting a need, not forcing someone to buy something they don’t want or need.
Qualify all leads—make sure it’s a good fit both ways.
Be confident in your offer and pricing.
Do not fear rejection.
Identify all decision makers and identify a point person for the final say in all project decisions.
Set expectations for meeting topics and time. Be respectful of everyone’s schedules by starting and ending on time.
Do not give concessions.
Set all expectations for the client relationship.
Overcome or address all objections before submitting a proposal. Remove all confusion and uncertainty.
Underpromise and overdeliver.
Set an expiration date on proposals. Don’t get tied down with one client when there are many others out there.
Always have a contract in place.
Remember that any project involving client collaboration or approval will take longer and cost more than initially expected.
Don’t do work outside the agreed-upon scope, but provide a way to expand the scope.
Be gracious when client needs change.
Abide by the Push Back Once Rule: When a client thinks “their way” is better, push back once and explain why it’s not a good idea. If they still want to do it their way, do so—but don’t say you didn’t warn them.
Accept opportunities that stretch your capability, but use wisdom so you don’t get overstretched.
Dealing with Opportunities
Let “no” be your default answer. Be very selective with what you take on.
Whatever you do take on, do it with all your might.
You will be equipped to do anything God has called you to do.
There is nothing you can’t master if you set your mind to it.
Don’t pursue anything that you don’t feel is a good fit for you or can’t see yourself doing. You’ll know in your heart and gut what these things are.
Don’t do anything you might regret later. Think about the consequences 10 years down the road.
If you dread doing something, stop to think about why.
If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.
Evaluate any opportunity by all 3 criteria of the Hedgehog Principle: Do I like it? Am I good at it? Is it profitable or beneficial to me?
Look for the wave that no one else expects, but you know is coming.
Position yourself so you can ride the wave, not get wiped out.
Don’t be so focused on one thing that you miss important signals. Keep an eye on the bigger picture.
Remember that there is nothing new under the sun, just variations on a theme.
Diversify your money and your income sources so you’re not left parched if one stream dries up.
There are no setbacks, just detours. Don’t be afraid to replan.