Frank King was a cartoonist in the early 20th century. You’ve never heard of Frank, but that’s ok.
His great success was the comic strip, Gasoline Alley. It debuted in 1918 and grew to a daily readership of 27m. It was the second longest-running comic strip in history, making a millionaire out of Mr. King at a time when being a millionaire really meant something.
I remember the comic strip as a kid and, frankly, I wasn’t a fan of it. But that’s not the reason I’m writing this.
Why I bring up Frank King is not for his long-standing success, but for the brief failure that preceded it.
In 1914, before the Gasoline Alley phenomena, he created a short-lived comic strip that, in some ways, has far outlived his great Gasoline success.
The comic strip was called “My Little Pet Peeve.”
You see, Frank invented the term “pet peeve.” That failure of a comic strip introduced the term to the world.
Though the comic strip kinda sucked and didn’t last for more than two years, the idea of pet peeves has endured and is still part of the popular lexicon more than 100 years later. Which is more than I can say for Gasoline Alley.
This, of course, reminds me of an email exchange I had recently.
My Pet Peeve
Last Tuesday I got an email from a colleague asking me if I was available to talk “later in the week.”
“Absolutely!” I replied, with arguably a little too much enthusiasm. “I’m wide open on Friday. Just name the time and consider it confirmed.”
An hour or so later the colleague replied to me. All she said was:
“Sorry, Friday doesn’t work”
<pet peeve enter stage left>
I don’t understand the mindset of people who say things like “I’m not available then” but neglect to tell you when they actually ARE available.
Listen, if you don’t want to get together with me, that’s fine – then just don’t ask me to get together in the first place.
Aside from that, this isn’t a game of pin the tail on the donkey – just tell me what your damn schedule looks like so we can avoid the unnecessary back and forth. I’m not going to keep randomly guessing days and times until I stumble on one that works for you.
It’s hard to hit the target when you’re playing in the dark.
The Three Questions For Success
You probably know this, but I’m a growth consultant for founder-led businesses as well as a leadership coach for female senior executives. In both of those roles, I work with people on improving their rate of GMSD (getting meaningful shit done).
This involves three simple steps:
- Defining a purpose,
- Setting goals, and
- Creating efficiencies to more quickly reach the goals.
You know what, let me simplify that a little bit more to help it make sense. It really just comes down to three questions that you need to continually ask yourself:
- WHY am I doing this?
- WHAT does it mean to have done it successfully?
- HOW can I best achieve that success?
Believe it or not, those three questions are the secret key to success, which is a bit of a longer conversation that will be addressed in my upcoming courses and book.
[Editor’s Note: nudge nudge, hint hint, wink wink.]
Suffice to say, the three questions give purpose, they give focus and they give a path towards achieving success. These three questions can and should be used in a variety of scenarios, like for the job you’re in, the meetings you plan and the conferences you attend.
There’s a problem though…
Most people don’t spend the few minutes it takes to go through this incredibly important exercise. They’d rather just shoot for a target in the dark, aiming for their future without any direction on where they are going.
Fortunately, you’re not like most people.
Setting Your Path To Success
I have created a Leadership Assessment that allows companies to expose and quantify what is and isn’t working with their leadership, employees, and culture.
It’s actually a pretty awesome Assessment if you ask me, not that you were asking. But, seriously, I coulda sworn you were about to ask.
In one small part of the Assessment, I ask people what they’ve been told success means for their job.
Nine times out of ten, people have NOT been told what success means in their job.
Sure they have an idea of what success means – but they aren’t sure if that’s the same idea held by the person who can promote (or fire) them.
Which brings us right back to my pet peeve and the idea of trying to hit a target in the dark.
In order to know where you’re going in your life, you need to know what you want.
You and I, we’re going to advance your career growth right here and right now in all of 5 minutes. All you need to do is think, and then write down your answers on a piece of paper, or, hey, download the worksheet here for increased fun.
How to Advance Your Career In All Of Five Minutes
Step 1: Take a second to think about your current job (this works for solopreneurs too).
Step 2. Answer this question
👉🏽👉🏽 WHY are you in that job?
In other words…
- What skills are you hoping to learn in your current role?
- What role do you expect to have after this one? What about the role after that one?
- Does your boss know that’s what you want to do?
[Editor’s Note: If you could only book a free consultation, you could get free advice on how to have your boss more quickly advance your career.]
Step 3. Now answer this question
👉🏽👉🏽 WHAT does it mean to be successful in your role?
In other words…
- How would your boss define your success? (Hint: if you don’t know, ask them)
- Does that success lead you closer to the future roles you’ve envisioned above?
Step 4. Finally, answer this question
👉🏽👉🏽 HOW can you best achieve that success so you can move to your next role?
In other words…
- What are the 3 most important things you can do to ensure success in your current role?
- What are the most effective and efficient ways to do them?
- How can you prioritize those methods on a daily basis to drive your growth?
Trust Me and My Pet Peeve. It’s Worth It.
I bet you’ve just read through those questions and haven’t actually done them yet. Am I right?
I know you far too well. It’s like we’re connected in some energetically cosmic way.
Listen, I know there are a lot of questions above and it can seem like a daunting task to go through it, but trust me when I say, it goes quickly and will soon just become a habit. With a little practice, you’ll be able to make the self-assessments within your head in just a minute or two.
I do it all the time.
- WHY am I [having this meeting] / [going to this conference] / [having this conversation]
- WHAT does success look like for this [meeting]/[conference]/[conversation[
- HOW can I accomplish that success most efficiently
You know what, if this exercise seems too daunting, go read this short article about accomplishing your goals. Do the exercise in that article first then come back here and do this one.
Trust me and my pet peeve, it’ll make it a lot easier.
Remember, you only get one life to live on this merry-go-round. You can either sit mindlessly on the horse and go nowhere until frustration sets in, or you can shed some light on your life, create a little clarity, and stop trying to hit a target in the dark.