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The Payoff Principle: A Lifetime of Payoffs

Imagine yourself creating a lifetime of payoffs: happiness, success, significance – a life of abundance, both personally and professionally. We all want it!  We all want to become producers.  We all want to be that person who makes things happen by design rather than default.  

In this column, I’ve spent the past month exploring the components of Dr. Alan Zimmerman’s formula The Payoff Principle (Purpose + Passion + Process = Payoff) and the mindset change needed to move from “good enough” to extraordinary.  As a refresher, The Payoff Principle works like this: “When you find purpose in what you do, exhibit passion for the outcome, and master the process to make it happen, you produce the payoffs you want, need and deserve.”  You become a producer.  

American psychiatrist Scott Peck said in The Road Less Traveled, “Until you value yourself, you won’t value your time.  Until you value your time, you won’t do anything with it.” The key to getting the formula to work for you and getting what you really want is valuing yourself and your time.  Then you must do something with it by taking action.  

Taking action means integrating all three components into your life.  No half-efforts will work.  Your level of success will be determined by your level of effort. Why? Think of someone you know (it might be you) who works really hard, puts in long hours, but has no purpose in his life.  A person with no clearly defined purpose is usually unsatisfied, unfulfilled and meanders thru life, putting in time versus valuing time.  

What about a person with great vision and dreams but little enduring passion.  Without the attitude, perseverance, and character required of the fire of passion, the flame burns out and she will quit before she can experience the payoffs she seeks.  

Finally, what about the person who is intentional and has the drive but lacks process, the tools that turn intention and drive into reality? Without process results don’t come because we are not learning, communicating and listening.  We’re always chasing the next great idea.  Think of it as the “grass is greener” mindset.  That mentality has us neglect watering our own garden. Ultimately this leads to regret and “if only I had…” in our professional and personal lives.  What can you learn and do to fill your toolbox of process?

You now see the importance of integrating all three components to unlock the power of The Payoff Principle and that leads to likely the most important question.  When do I implement this into my life?  The answer is now!  Now means now, not “as soon as I….” or “after I am finished with this project….” or “when I start my new job….”

In my executive coaching work, I have found that people who take the “as soon as I…” approach are always waiting on someone or something else to happen to get started on their goals.  They are waiting for something outside of them to happen so they can begin to take action.  They are creating excuses and living life by default.  I’ve done it.  We all have.  The result is always the same — unfulfilled and unsatisfied lives; years of not achieving our desires and dreams.  We owe it to ourselves to put ourselves on a path to a new and complete self — in our careers, communities and homes.

The Payoff Principle provides a formula that guides your progress to success and achieving your dreams and desires. There is never a perfect time to make changes in our lives.  Dr. Martin Luther King said, “You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”  The first step here is that progress, not perfection is what is required to change your mindset and move from “good enough” to extraordinary – to being a producer reaping a lifetime of payoffs.

What will you do today to make this happen?

For more inspirational articles from Dan Sheedy, check out Performance Thinking with Dan Sheedy here.

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