I used to mix up production with progress when it came to building my business. I’d set my “To-Do” list in the morning and if I was able to get through everything that day then I’d consider the day a win. The problem was, how could I be sure the things I was putting on the list were essential to my goal?
Whether you’re in sales or business for yourself, you face this problem daily. You need to ensure that your time is being spent doing the right activities that will result in closing meaningful sales and the growth of your business.
There have been a number of systems I’ve tried to put in place that keep me working on the right opportunities. But there have been none more effective than a technique I picked up from, author and podcaster, Tim Ferriss. Tim explains the technique using an analogy that Newt Gingrich made famous during his time in office.
Here’s Newt’s analogy:
The Mice and The Antelope
A lion is fully capable of capturing, killing, and eating a field mouse. But it turns out that the energy required to do so exceeds the caloric content of the mouse itself.
So, a lion that spent its day hunting and eating field mice would slowly starve to death. A lion can’t live on field mice.
A lion needs antelope. Antelope are big animals. They take more speed and strength to capture and kill, and once killed, they provide a feast for the lion and her pride.
Much like the lion, we too have the option to spend our days chasing field mice or chasing antelope.
The field mice are everywhere. They’re those prospects that are easy to schedule and always willing to give you some of their business. But will a sale from them make your quarter? Will it even make your month?
On the other hand, the antelope are hard to find and even harder to track down. It takes planning, perseverance and will power to get business from these prospects. But, once the business lands, it can make your year.
How to Hunt Antelope
While you know in theory that you should be hunting antelope, it can be hard to remember that day-to-day when so many field mice are scurrying around in front of you. So how do you ignore the field mice and go for the antelope?
Here are two ideas:
One way is to simply ask yourself at the end of the day, ‘Did I spend today chasing mice or hunting antelope?’ You can put a reminder in your phone or create a recurring event in your calendar until this is drilled into your head and you no longer notice the distracting field mice.
Another idea is to take out a piece of paper and draw a line down the middle. Then put the words “Mice” and “Antelope” at the top on either side of the line. For the next ten minutes, write down all of the mice you’ve been chasing on one side and all the antelope on the other. Finally, fold the page in half so that you can only see the antelope. Pin it to your wall so that each day you remember who to hunt.
Once you know where to spend your energy hunting, you can ensure that you’re making progress each day, and not just being productive. The survival of your business depends on ignoring the mice and tracking down those antelope. Happy hunting.