The Theory of One

ONE thing will make a monumental difference in your world and you probably don’t know what it is. If you know what it is and you understand it, you stay tethered to it like a convict shackled to a cartoon-like iron ball. This one thing should guide your every move because so much depends on it.

Most people don’t know what their one thing is. Because, for the one thing to be THE ONE THING, they have to be clear on their vision. People set general milestones all the time. They may vaguely plan to get married, finish school, get a promotion, start a business, have kids or reach a certain salary. And still, many lives go totally undefined in a “let’s see what happens” kind of approach. Even if a goal or two is clearly set, successful outcomes are often left to chance. Don’t misunderstand, people hit individual goals every day. But without thoughtful intention, ambition can inadvertently justify costly tradeoffs. An ambitious executive climbs the ranks at the expense of strong family ties. Selfless parents give up physical health to raise the children. A business owner trades a marriage for long hours in hopes of financial freedom.

Start with the Long View

To find the ONE thing, you must carefully define ambitions, examine their potential impact on other ambitions and adjust for alignment. Your career aspirations should be weighed against child-rearing and retirement goals and vice versa. Even done poorly this exercise yields a more CLEAR vision. Examination of relationship goals may uncover the need for quality time together and simultaneously expose threats from a career or personal interest that could jeopardize the goal. Defined retirement aspirations might expose the need for immediate health changes. An honest comparison of the current state against the desired future state will reveal goals and behaviors already in conflict. After adjustments are made, the biggest threat to the future state becomes the ONE thing or the Objective Necessary to Execute.

The O.N.E isn’t the vision itself, but the most immediate goal, or conflict to be resolved, en route to the ultimate goal. Without its execution, the entire vision is in jeopardy. When I began running I could hardly make it a mile. My “gateway running friend” would push me saying, “just run to that corner or light, or that gas station!”. Although my goal was a marathon he knew I wasn’t running a marathon if I couldn’t make the corner. He helped me focus on the O.N.E.

Stay the Course

When the vision has been well thought out, a high level of intention and commitment are required. Whatever we want in our life we have to put it there. Monthly, weekly and daily tasks should be checked for alignment to the O.N.E. and requests for time, energy and resources should be evaluated as potential threats or distractions. Saying “no” isn’t being mean, it’s being committed and it’s how to reach the most important goals the fastest.

Until you create a vision and establish your O.N.E., you will be less effective and progress will be slow… IF any progress is made at all. Without the O.N.E you are a slave to the constant stream of bids for attention, to-do’s, fires and attractive possibilities. Conversely, when you have your O.N.E. you will be more focused and you will see more of your goals happen faster. Perhaps most importantly, you won’t wake up one day wishing you could go back and focus on what truly matters.

Greer Method Complete Coaching provides one on one coaching for executives and business owners. We give our clients the knowledge and tools to confidently and aggressively pursue goals with an integrated team of expert coaches, habit locking technology, and proven processes.

Jared J. Greer is the founder of Greer Method Complete Coaching. He is an executive coach, 7-time Ironman finisher, marathoner, ultra-marathoner, husband, and father of four.

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