The Little Things Successful People Do
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The Little Things Successful People Do
MATT: How you do anything is how you do everything. I thought that line was a little cheesy the first time that I heard it, but it could not be more true, especially in the world of business. It’s the little things that make the biggest difference. We often brush off the little things. You know, I’m a business owner. I don’t have time for that. But it is these minor details, these minor adjustments and pivots that make the biggest difference in how successful your company is and will be. There are things that the most successful entrepreneurs all have in common.
There are little things that they all do. So it all starts with knowing which of these little things you should be paying attention to. In this episode, we’re going to break down the little things that make the biggest difference, because how you do anything is how you do everything.
MATT: Hello and welcome back to the Midwest Mindset, the podcast that makes marketing easy to understand and simple to do. I’m Matt Tompkins of two Brothers Creative, where we believe every business deserves affordable and effective marketing.
Whether it’s your marketing or just your business operations overall, we are always just a mindset shift away from success from achieving those big, hairy, audacious goals that we set for ourselves and for our companies. It is a mindset shift that changed my trajectory. It is mindset shifts and usually it’s the smaller, the seemingly smaller mindset shifts that make the biggest difference or have made the biggest difference, not just in my own experience, but in those of the most successful entrepreneurs and business owners we’ve had the privilege and honor of working with over the years. Early on, when I was just contemplating leaving broadcasting, I had spent over 17 years in radio and television, and I kind of I was well past I was going to say I kind of hit my breaking point.
I was well past it. I just kept going back to it. I was like a glutton for punishment. I thought all this time it’s going to be different this time. It’s going to be different. And finally, it was in January of 2020. I remember I went out to my mom and dad’s house. They had moved me to a new station just literally that day. They said, Hey, you’re no longer on this station. Now you’re on this station.
MATT: I went out to my mom and dad and I said, Listen, I’m done. I got to figure something else out. It just felt stifling. I knew I contemplated of something bigger, something more. Right. I was I knew that something better was possible. And one of the biggest difference makers was reading this book called Micro Resilience.
Now, in this book, micro Resilience, there is a lot of focus on these perceived little things. They were trying to figure out the two authors in this book. They went out and they were studying elite athletes and they were trying to figure out what is the real difference between those athletes who are professionals, the best of the best and those who are elite. It’s a small percentage of these professional athletes. I mean, look at the NFL as an example, right? The NFL, if you make it into the NFL, even if you’re third string, you are you are the best of the best, only the best make these teams.
But then there are those elite NFL athletes, the greatest of all time, those players who just year after year, sometimes in Tom Brady’s case for what, 40 plus years, just keep delivering unparalleled results. We see this in the world of business just the same. And that’s what these two authors were looking at in this book.
Micro Resilience. What are the tangible little things that were the difference between a professional outstanding athlete and an elite athlete? And how could those things translate to the rest of us, not just in the world of business, but just overall with our lives? They found one of the biggest difference makers was one of the littlest things.
MATT: When I say little, I mean by we’re talking fractions of a second or a second or two at most of time. That was the difference in time between an elite athlete and how they recovered from a mistake or an error. And everyone else. They looked at tennis players.
The top 100 tennis players on the planet and all of these tennis players, they all had the same skill sets. They all had the same talent level. I mean, maybe it varied a little bit, but not enough to be a determining factor consistently in those who were elite and those who were just the top 100 best tennis players in the world. What they found was the difference was the tiniest of literally seconds of how the elite athletes responded to adversity and how the rest did.
The top 100 athletes who didn’t make it into that elite bunch, that small sliver of athletes who are just the best ever, the greatest of all time. They took seconds or minutes to recover from making a mistake. Those who made it into that elite group, they were able to shift in a fraction of a second or at most a second or two after making a mistake or an error being scored on. They just reset and moved on.
MATT: And that compounded over time being the biggest difference maker. I mean, if you think about all the things all the time that these athletes put into being a professional athlete, and you look at what and you try to decide what is going to be the deciding factor between a great athlete and an elite athlete. The difference of a couple seconds in how we respond to adversity would probably, probably not be the first thing we think of, but that was it. Literally the littlest of things make the biggest difference.
So they took that and they translated that to professionals in the business world. And little things like, you know, learning how to manage your time, learning how to give yourself an hour long break for dinner with your kids instead of just powering through the day. The idea that. Multitasking is actually a myth. We’re actually like 34, 40% less productive. Our quality of work suffers when we try to multitask. Those were some of the little things they found in this book that made worlds of difference to the regular business professionals, the entrepreneurs, just like you and I. That they took what they’d learned from these athletes and applied.
I want to give you a few real world examples of how these little things can make not just a difference, but the biggest difference. One of our first clients, in fact, I think they were literally our very first client, just sold their company for over half $1 billion a few years ago, sold their company for over a half $1 billion.
MATT: And I will never forget going into their office. You would never know that they owned a company worth that much money. They were sitting at a desk like a cubicle with everybody else.
They didn’t have a special office for the most of the time that we knew them. They were in this kind of rundown building. They had dogs running around everywhere. You know, it wasn’t until the last few years they moved into like a nicer office building like you would normally think of. And I’ll never forget walking in. And this one of the most successful entrepreneurs I’ve ever known.
This person would sit there and argue and just chip away at fractions of a cent and I remember thinking like, Come on, man. Like, it’s like we’re talking about pennies on the dollar here. And it is pennies. That turn into millions and in this entrepreneur’s case, billions. A recent example, we took over a podcast for a client and we went in and we transferred everything over to our podcast network.
And I was just going through the the routine, checking all the, you know, there’s all these different boxes on the back end you need to check. And I noticed there were a few things that just were left undone. Now you would look at this and you would look at things like setting my release schedule weekly, semi-weekly monthly for a podcast.
MATT: You would think that’s a little thing. Picking the right category to place your podcast in. You would think those are little things that don’t really make that much of a difference. They were averaging 416 downloads per day, and in a matter of literally four days, they went from that to over 1100 downloads per day, and they hadn’t released a new episode. This was all just checking off those little boxes, paying attention to those little things.
A third example I’ll give. This was a client who had been working with a previous SEO company last year and they came to us, just didn’t know what was wrong. They knew something was wrong because they were spending tens of thousands of dollars and had gotten zero leads. Now, this company was showing them, here’s all this amazing traffic that we’re bringing to your site. Thousands of people are visiting your website every day. What they had neglected to do, though, is point people to the right page. So they were pointing people to the wrong page.
They were advertising one thing, sending them to a page that featured something entirely different and losing people in the transition. So they spent tens of thousands of dollars for months on end and got zero leads. Not even like conversions or sales. I’m talking like zero leads, like just general leads, nothing. I bring up those three examples because that’s how much of a difference the little things can will and I guarantee you are making with your business right now.
MATT: So I want to share with you today some of the top little things that I have seen make the biggest difference in my own life with my own company and with those very successful entrepreneurs. We’ve had the honor and privilege of working with, being mentored by collaborating with and even having his clients first on my list here. It’s simple. It probably goes back to something our mom taught us when we were little kids Get up early and make your bed. Getting up early is one of two things I have found in my research.
Looking online here. I found every single elite entrepreneur the most successful of the successful. They all do this. They all start their day very early because that is when your brain is at 100% optimized efficiency. They get up early, make your bed. Why do I add Make your bed in there. Well, make your bed. It is.
I’m a big believer in quick wins, you know, getting a quick win to start the day. It has a huge impact on the rest of your day. It’s the same reason I’m a big fan of checklists. Sometimes this is how bad I am. I will make a checklist and I will put things on it that I just finished. But I just want the satisfaction of crossing something off the list. It does have a real tangible, measurable impact on the rest of your day and how successful your day is going to pan out.
MATT: So getting up early so you can start early, no distractions. You’re focused, you have energy. Your brain is operating at 100%. Making your bed. That’s just a quick win out of the gate. You know, establish quick wins right away at the start of your day. You know, you go upstairs, you have breakfast, do the dishes, wash the dishes, rinse them off. That’s a quick win. If you’re struggling throughout the day. You know. Take a minute. Take a minute and take the trash out. Clean your desk off. You know, dust off that bookshelf. Those are quick wins that can reestablish your day just as impactfully as starting your day. Establishing your day. Like making your bed does. My wife comes down now. Wendy’s like, Who are you? What did you do with my husband? Because I’ve never been a person who makes my bed.
Getting up early is number one and the second is journaling. Now, this was fascinating to me, those two things there. The first two I’m mentioning here are two that two commonalities I have seen with every successful entrepreneur. Why journaling and why at the end of the day, is it most impactful? Well, think of it this way. You start off your day, you get up early, you’re fresh, you have energy. Your brain is 100%. You make the bed, you do the dishes, you take out the trash. These little quick wins. You have added accelerant to your day.
MATT: Much higher likelihood of a successful day for you when you started off that way. Now, let’s fast forward to the end of the day, closing out your day when you’re journaling. What you’re doing is you are reflecting back on the day. And this is something that most successful entrepreneurs, in fact, I believe every single one of them do they reflect back on what they have accomplished, what they’ve gotten done. It’s too easy. And I think it’s just human nature to focus on that single negative. We get ten reviews. One of them is negative nine or positive.
Do we obsess over the nine positive reviews? No, No. Or social media comments, whatever it might be? No, we focus on that one negative. That’s just where our mind tends to go. It’s too easy. And I do this frequently and I have to kind of check myself with it because at the end of the day, we’ll look at the clock. Oh my God, I’ve been working for ten hours. I didn’t get anything done. I didn’t make any progress. Now, is that accurate? Is that true?
No. What does journaling do? It allows us to reflect on those things we got done, reflect on our accomplishment, accomplishments, and show gratitude for them.
Appreciation so that we can reset for the next day. It has an amazing impact on your mental state when you are about to go to sleep, when you are drifting off, you know, reading a book, closing out the day, journaling, those are ways you can close out the day in a very healthy, constructive, positive way as opposed to being on your phone, on social media or just, you know, and I’m guilty of this far too frequently eating ice cream, binge watching TV.
MATT: So getting up early, getting some quick wins and then journaling. At the end of the day, you can even get things like the Gratitude Journal is one. I’ve done that one frequently where you can you just list three things you’re you’re grateful for. You don’t even need to pay for the expensive gratitude diary or journal that you can buy online. You can just do it on a piece of paper. Write three things you’re grateful for three accomplishments of the day, and then three things you plan to accomplish accomplish the next day. It’s as simple as that. Writing things down has an amazing impact on our mental health as well. It just helps to physically write things out.
We recall them better, we remember them better. That’s how I used to memorize lines when I was in theater and I did commercials and stuff. You write it out. You remember it much quicker that way. It sets in. So those are the first two tips. Your first two things, little things that make the biggest difference. The third here is one that’s an ongoing struggle, I think, for all of us, and that is being on time. As business owners, I think it’s important we remind ourselves we are not as important as we think we are.
MATT: You know, we think we’re super busy. We think we always have to be on our phone. We always have to be checking our email. Unless you’re the president of the United States, you are not that important. Okay? You’re just not. There is no email. There is no text message. There is no piece of communication that can’t wait for 5 minutes or 10 minutes or an hour or a day. We think and we obsess. I have to be on this. I have to be on this. And it’s just not true. And we allow that to distract ourselves from respecting other people’s time. People make time for what is important. And if you’re not on time, if you’re consistently late, this is the third. I put it number three here, because it is the third most common trait that I see with the most successful business owners and entrepreneurs that we’ve worked with. Those who show up on time show that they are respecting their team, they’re respecting their clients, those people that they’re meeting with, which commands respect from those people right back at them, those who don’t, the opposite happens. It has the opposite effect. And we could tell ourselves all day long, Oh, it’s a Monday. Oh, I’m late. Oh, I had this thing. Oh, I had to answer this email. I have to be checking my phone. None of that is true.
MATT: Those are just made up excuses. Being on time is how you show respect and earn respect. And it is not inconsequential. It has a very big impact on how you’re perceived and how you’re respected. Be on time. Number four, accountability. And by this I mean something specific in the world of accountability. I’m not necessarily talking about holding your team accountable. And that is important.
What I’m talking about is holding yourself accountable. In other words, if you have a member of your team who makes a mistake, are you scolding them or are you holding yourself accountable? You can’t blame someone on your team for a mistake if you haven’t taught them how to do it right. Take accountability for your own leadership. Who’s holding you accountable? Your team members are only going to operate to the highest capacity you allow them to. So blaming someone on your team.
I see this often. It becomes a scapegoat. Oh, well, that’s Tasha. It’s Bill. It’s Bob. But did you show any of them how to do it? Right? How you want it done Now, if you show them how to do it, you give them a checklist. You have processes and procedures in place, your standard operating procedures, and they continue to do it. Then yes, you want to hold them accountable. But too many entrepreneurs and business owners, we don’t want to hold ourselves accountable because that means we got to actually step up. Number five, this one is broad, but I think it’s very important.
MATT: It is reading books and learning. When you’re reading books, when you’re learning, this shows you are willing to be coached. I have yet to meet a let me let me rephrase that. None of these successful entrepreneurs, the business owners, the multi millionaires, even, you know, close to billionaires that we’ve worked with over the years. None of them had said, you know what, I know everything. I don’t need a coach. I mean, look at it this way. Lebron James, Michael Jordan, you can argue all day long who’s the best.
And we all know Michael Jordan obviously is. But that’s aside. If the best in the world have a team and a coach. What makes you think you don’t need one? Those who are coachable, those who are willing to be coached and are willing to learn have the most growth potential. You are never at the best you will ever be. It is a lifelong pursuit.
So to recap here today, the five little things that make the biggest difference.
Getting up early. Get those quick wins. Make your bed. Journaling Close out your day by recalling and reflecting on what you have accomplished. Number three, be on time. Don’t be late. It’s that simple. It means more than you think it does. Trust me, we’ve all been on the other side of that, where you’ve had to wait 15 minutes for a zoom call and you think, okay, obviously they don’t respect this.
MATT: Why should I? Number four, holding yourself accountable. And number five, reading books and learning. In other words, are you coachable? If you do these little things and you do them on a daily basis and then you surround yourself with people who also do all these little things friends, peers, colleagues, mentors, you will see success. This is the way to quote the Mandalorian randomly. This is the way. This is how you do it. We can look up all the clickbait we want on secrets to my success. And if you do this one thing.
But it really boils down to these simple little things. Do them. Do them consistently. Stay disciplined and you will see the results. Thank you so much for joining us here today on Midwest Mindset. Now, if you would like some help, we have put something together to do just that. The link is in the show notes for you to download our free daily planner. Now, you don’t have to go out and buy the gratitude journal or a diary. I mean, you can if you want. They’re cool. I’ve used them.
But this is free. You can print it off every day. It’s reusable. It is a simple daily planner worksheet that has helped me. It has helped countless other successful entrepreneurs, and I know it can help you too. It is 100% free. The link is in the show notes for you to download now. Thanks so much for listening. We’ll see you on the next episode.
MATT: And that’s a wrap.