Moving the Needle

Summary Written by John Petrone
"Fostering a creative awareness or mindfulness, about where you are, what you are doing, and where you are going is an important step in getting clear and having an organized and productive life."

- Moving the Needle, page 19

The Big Idea

Clarity is key

"When you get quiet, you get clear enough to ask yourself, ‘What am I pursuing and why?’"- Moving the Needle, page 4

Increasing clarity adds laser-like focus to what we want to achieve. When you’re clear on what you want and why, you can answer the question of what success looks like and go after it with unstoppable passion.

One of the first steps you can take to increase clarity is to make time for reflection and awareness in your life. Quiet time for the mind is similar to a tune-up for a car. It increases your mind’s performance and runs better. Meditation can achieve this as well as reflection.

The author suggests keeping a journal and asking probing questions to increase awareness of where you currently are in your life. Questions such as the following are helpful:

  • Where do you think you are in terms of fulfillment and satisfaction in your life?
  • Are you finding happiness and taking pride in what you are accomplishing?
  • Have you found the sweet spot where you are being your best in all areas of life?

Removing clutter and finding balance in your life are also beneficial in helping you achieve clarity. The author recommends writing out what your ideal day would like to help identify what activities should be included in your day. If you focus on completing tasks you should be doing, then there’s less time for items that are not important.

So when you’ve achieved clarity and figured out what is truly important to you, then you are ready to take action by freeing yourself from whatever obstacles stand in your way.

Insight #1

Free yourself from any behavior holding you back

"Getting free is all about creating the proper mind-set when interacting with people, planning activities, managing money and looking at life, as well as eliminating self-limiting thoughts."- Moving the Needle, page 87

According to Sweeney, one of the first steps to getting free is accepting responsibility for our actions. Accepting what happens in our life causes us to change course when mistakes are made, learn from them and come back stronger and more resilient for the next challenge we face.

Perspective also plays a key role in freedom since it affects your interaction with people and decision-making throughout the day. As Sweeney notes, “With the proper perspective, you’ll see a lot more opportunities in your life—and experience freedom.”

Reflecting on our regular habits and the people we interact with on a daily basis can highlight limiting thoughts and behaviors. This is all about having habits that enhance our energy and power us throughout the day (such as exercise, and healthy eating). It is also about the people we surround ourselves with and how they affect our thoughts and behaviors. Do they energize and inspire us?

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Insight #2

Differentiate yourself

"Contemplate your uniqueness and what differentiates you from others. You want to figure out how you can become more desirable, uniquely attainable and economically irresistible. Understanding this is a key step in getting clear."- Moving the Needle, page 61

Whether it’s personal branding or finding a way to stand out in today’s competitive economy, differentiating ourselves is vital. The author uses the example of Apple and how it differentiated itself from the competition and ended up dominating their market. Apple achieved this by understanding its customers and figuring out what their needs would be in the future.

Sweeney suggests we apply the same thinking to our careers to figure out what our customers’ or bosses’ future needs would be. Keep asking how we can differentiate ourselves from our competition. How can we add value? Asking why can sometimes help to dig out the true reason you want to achieve something. Keep asking why till you’re happy with the result.

Lastly, following through and taking action can help us stand out from the competition. As Sweeney adds, “people remember when you follow through on something you said you were going to do”.

This valuable book contains nuggets of actionable advice that can be put to immediate use. Find clarity in your life on what you truly want and get going on your goals. What’s stopping you?

Read the book

Get Moving the Needle on Amazon.

Joe Sweeney

Joe Sweeney is a former owner and now a strategic director at Corporate Financial Advisors, LLC, a middle-market investment banking firm which specializes in providing merger and acquisition advisory services, capital sourcing, exit planning, and general corporate advisory services.

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