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Practice The Reality Principle

Jack Welch, CEO of General Electric for many years, once said that the most important quality of leadership is the “reality principle.” He defined this as the ability to see the world as it really is, not as you wish it were. He would begin every meeting to discuss a goal or a problem with the question, “What’s the reality?”

Peter Drucker refers to this quality as “intellectual honesty,” dealing with the facts exactly as they are before attempting to solve a problem or make a decision. Abraham Maslow once wrote that the first quality of the self-actualizing person was the ability to be completely honest and objective with himself, or herself. It is the same with you.

If you want to be the best you can be, and to achieve what is truly possible for you, you must be brutally honest with yourself and your point of departure. You must sit down and analyze yourself in detail to decide exactly where you are today in each area.

For example, if you decided to lose weight, the very first thing you would do is to weigh yourself to determine how much you weight today. From then on, you continually use that weight as your measure for whether or not you are making progress in weight reduction.

If you decide to begin a personal exercise program, the first thing you do is to determine how much you are exercising today. How many minutes per day and per week are you exercising, and how intensely each time? What kind of exercises are you doing? Whatever your answer, it is important that you be as accurate as you possibly can. You then use this answer as a starting point and make your exercise plans for the future based on it.

Determine Your Hourly Rate

If you want to earn more money, the first thing you do is sit down and determine exactly how much you are earning right now. How much did you earn last year, and the year before? How much will you earn this year? How much are you earning each month? The best measure of all is for you to determine how much you are earning each hour, right now.

You can determine your hourly rate by dividing your annual income by 2000, the approximate number of hours that you work each year. Even better, you can divide your monthly income by 172, the number of hours you work, on average, each month.

Many of my coaching clients calculate their hourly rate each week, and compare it against previous weeks. They then set a goal to increase the value of what they do each hour so as to increase the amount they earn each hour on a go-forward basis. You should do the same.

Tight Time or Financial Measures Improve Performance

The tighter and more accurate your calculations regarding your income, or any other area, the better and faster you can improve in each one of them. For example, the average person thinks in terms of monthly and annual salary. This is hard to analyze and increase. Conversely, the high performer thinks in terms of hourly rate, which is amenable to improvements on a minute-to-minute basis.

Since you are the president of your own personal services corporation, you should view yourself as being on your own payroll. Imagine you are paying yourself by the hour. Be just as demanding on yourself as you would be on someone else who was working for you. Refuse to do anything that doesn’’t pay your desired hourly rate.

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