The Compound Effect is one of those books that I was seriously worried would live up to my memory of it.
You know how like when you are a kid and you love Kraft Dinner but then you go back and have some as an adult and you start to question every decision you ever made as your younger self?
So, I braced myself when I popped in my earbuds to have a re-listen, I chuckled because yes…there are parts of it that had me shaking my head that could be described as elements of KD. And while I wouldn’t say I agree with everything Darren has to say these days…ultimately, there were enough gold nuggets that it didn’t disappoint.
Darren offers up life advice for every aspect of your life…relationships, health, finances…but as with everything I do…my review will be on the lessons I learned that you can apply to your travel business. I’m just saying…there is a whole lotta extra goodness inside the pages.
Before I start…I wrote an article a few months ago on how the magic of compounding can apply to your travel business but that was more about how adding value to our clients’ lives… over time…can produce amazing results. – Have a read:
The Life-Changing Magic of Compound Investing in your Travel Business.
This article takes a slightly different approach.
Our lives are the result of a series of small choices
And don’t be fooled. If you adopt the status quo and don’t make a choice – that IS a choice. So many people think that not voting means they don’t have to choose a side, but they don’t realize that not voting is in fact voting.
Making a choice not to post on social media one day, is no big deal. But when that choice becomes two days and then three… Next thing you know, you haven’t posted in months and you wake up to a call from your mom wondering if you are okay.
Small changes over time equal big results
(A story about Jennifer, Felicia and Karen)
Jennifer, Karen and Felicia are three travel advisors who all graduated from the same travel program.
Jennifer decides she is tired of getting mediocre results in her business and wants things to change. But she’s a busy mom with three kids. She decides that from that day forward, she’s going to reach out to three new contacts each day, no matter what, and simply tell/remind them she is a travel advisor.
Felicia is also fed up. She spends time on her website one day, hours on Pinterest the next, and she decides she only lives once and doesn’t want to devote so much time to her business. So she opts to start taking every Friday afternoon off. No biggie. What’s four hours, right? It’s not like she’s getting tons of calls during that time frame anyway AND…YOLO.
And then there is Karen. She’s had it too, but Karen hates change. She’s managing. She
The three women meet up for drinks every few months to swap stories and maybe imbibe a little too much. After six months, there really is no difference between the three women. Life keeps chugging by. In fact, changes are so imperceptible, they don’t even make dinner conversation.
Fast forward 18 months…Karen has started to develop carpal tunnel. Felicia has noticed a drop in bookings but she can’t quite understand why. Sure she’s taking Friday afternoons off, but that can’t be it. After all, if people really wanted to book with her, surely they’d call on Monday instead.
But Jennifer…Jennifer’s business has started to pick up enough that she’s had to hire a virtual assistant to help with her documents. There’s not a ton of new work, but she’s doing well enough to be able to afford the assistant and then some.
Fast forward 3 years…Felicia has decided to fold up shop. She just couldn’t make enough money selling travel. She thinks the industry has gone bust. People just book online these days, she tells herself. There’s no point.
Karen…nothing changes except she hates her husband, hates her clients, hates her cats…she’s full of regret because now when the three women meet to have lunch…Jennifer is doing amazingly well. She’s travelling all over the place. She has a team of 5 consultants working for her, which allows her time off on her terms. Her kids are doing great. She’s thin, happy and seemingly on top of the world. Karen thinks to herself…When did Jennifer get so “lucky?”
And that is how life goes. The smallest of incremental changes can have drastic results over time, yet most of us are impatient and want everything overnight and battle with the lure of instant gratification.
On the flip side
Like with Felicia, it’s never the one banana split that ruins your diet. It’s the multiple visits to the ice cream shop day after day after day that.go virtually unnoticed until ….one day you wake up, and you can’t close the top button of your pants and think…WTF?
Felicia’s decision to knock off a few hours on Friday not only meant she couldn’t take new leads at that time, but she also wasn’t working on her business either.
And Karen, making no choice…is a choice. The compound effect works in both directions.
The ripple effect
Not only will positive choices, made day after day, have positive results but let’s not forget the ripple effect.
Now let’s look at Cindy. Cindy goes to work in her travel agency every day. But lately, she hasn’t felt like making the phone calls and reaching out to her database the way she knows she should. It’s no big deal. After all, tomorrow is another day. Unfortunately, tomorrow comes and goes, and she doesn’t make as many calls then either. By the end of the month, she looks at her revenue and notices she doesn’t have enough business in her pipeline to even make her targets if she wanted to.
Her boss takes her aside and says, Cindy. What’s up with you? You fell short of your monthly target. Is there something wrong? Is your head in the game?
Cindy can’t put her finger on what’s wrong. She hasn’t quite connected her lack of networking to her depleted pipeline. Anyway…Cindy goes home and feels like shit.
She doesn’t want to make dinner for her family. Instead, she grabs a bag of chips with dip and watches an episode of Love is Blind. She’s short with her kids when they try to interrupt and even shorter with her husband when he suggests they turn in early for the night.
In isolation, it’s all no big deal but day after day…week after week until, one day Cindy wakes up and she finds herself in front of a judge arguing over custody of her two children, who have turned into surly teenagers – also not her fault.
Not only does her business suck, but her life seems to be crumbling all around her and she can’t understand why. That…is the ripple effect.
Everything we do in our lives affects everything else, whether we want it to or not. That’s why with my coaching…yes, I normally coach on how to excel in business, but I’m also trained to coach in all areas of your life. Everything is interconnected.
The myth of “luck”
Some people have said that “luck” is when preparation meets opportunity. But Darren suggests a wee bit more goes into it and I have to agree. It’s not just preparation. Sure, you need to be prepared, but if you aren’t skilled enough to recognize a great opportunity, you’ll let it slip by.
And you have to have the right mindset. A concert violinist might practice for her lucky break all her life, but if she doesn’t truly think she can do it. If she doesn’t have the belief in herself, she’ll most likely bomb.
And finally, the missing piece to the famous quote is “action.” You must take action, which is the scariest part of all. Luck floats around for all of us but those who reach out and actually do something with it..now they have a shot.
And by virtue of you even reading this blog, you are already luckier than 95% of the world’s population. That’s the truth. You probably own a smartphone, a laptop, a tablet and maybe all three. Are you taking the necessary action?
The value of tracking
You’ve probably heard the often-quoted adage, what gets measured, gets done.
Tracking offers two benefits:
1) If you know you’ve got to write it down, you’ll generally do it.
2) On days when you are lacking motivation and you think you are getting nowhere, reviewing your results from a year previous will most likely give you the encouragement you need to keep going.
So just start tracking. Track whatever matters to you. You choose. But start tracking and I swear… the benefits of doing so will begin to pay off in a matter of months.
Don’t get stuck in No Man’s land
For many of us…our biggest challenge is fighting to break free of No Man’s land.
No Man’s land is where Karen lives. It’s a quagmire of meh…things are okay. They aren’t great. They aren’t crap. Karen is comfortable.
We should exercise more. We should take up a hobby. We should eat healthier. We “should” all over ourselves and then wake up one day filled with regrets of all the things we should have done but never did because we were comfortable?
We all live in No Man’s land from time to time. In small doses, it’s fine but be careful not to hang out there too long.
Look at your average Boeing 737 aircraft. Getting that 60K + pound hunk of metal up in the air, packed with travellers and crew, takes a lot of fuel. Not to mention that both pilots have to be paying attention to every little detail lest something goes amiss. Lots of energy.
But once that plane reaches cruising altitude, the fasten seatbelts signs switch off, the pilots can have lunch, and well, it’s relatively smooth sailing (or rather soaring) through the air at that stage.
That’s the magic of momentum and it has the same effect on us. Taking that first trip to the gym…is often awful. But once you start to see results, your gym clothes feel less grabby. The walk from the parking lot is less taxing. It becomes easier to make the trip.
Watch out for the wall
The wall is part of every journey. Human beings prefer the path of least resistance. We like to be in a state of homeostasis. Just ask Karen. So even though one day we wake up and vow to start making changes…our bodies will shout…” what the heck are you doing!”
And we hit a wall.
The wall will make an appearance, almost as if to say…”Are you sure you want this?” The wall is what separates the Jennifers from Karens and the Delicias. When faced with the wall, the majority of people will give up because it’s too hard.
But the Jennifers will push through. In fact, it’s the wall that creates true opportunities. I go into a lot of detail about the wall in a past article called, When to Pivot vs. Pull the Plug. The wall can seem like doom and gloom, but actually, just beyond the wall is where all the magic lies.
The secret is taking small yet consistent steps
And finally, the biggest secret behind the success and the compound effect is the small and consistent steps. Jennifer ended up seeing incredible results in her travel business because she made a promise to herself to make three calls to her contacts every single day. This was non-negotiable. Three calls…that’s it. Who can’t make three calls? It almost seems like it’s not enough.
But for Jennifer…it was those three calls, every single day, that resulted in a multi-6 figure travel business over time.
Had Jennifer decided to make wide-sweeping changes above what she was already doing…ie. post on social media 3 times a day, on every platform, make five new calls, write several blog posts, and pay for Facebook advertising … she most likely would have quit, fizzled out…ended up like Karen and Felicia.
But that promise to make just three contacts each day… felt very doable to Jennifer.
I really have only just scratched the surface of all the value bombs Darren delivers in The Compound Effect. My goal was not to rewrite his entire book but rather give a taste of what lay inside.
I highly recommend you grab a copy wherever you normally get your books.
Or….you can book a coaching session with me. Let me help you find the success you are after.
If you missed any of the other books in this series dedicated to the month of March, which is also National I Love Reading Month. Here are my recommended reads for books that changed my life:
Week One: Crush It by Gary Vaynerchuk
Week Two: Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
Week Three: Daring Greatly by Brene Brown
Week Four: The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy
Week Five: The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks.