The Lazy Way to be More Successful

Some of the biggest transformations in my career and in others’ came from actions that took only five minutes.

See, I’ve never really connected with the conventional time management advice that says you should put together a project management plan and decide on every action in some perfect waterfall action result that leads to getting things done.

Don’t get me wrong—I love a Gantt chart. (Ok, in a really abstract, love-it-from-afar way.)

I’m always falling for those sexy advertisements for apps like Monday.com. My task management software works just fine. I only have one employee. But I get persuaded (albeit very briefly) that my life will be totally perfect, in control, and I’ll be super successful if only I had some awesome software that visualized everything in pretty colors.

But the truth is, the biggest leaps in my business and career have always come from quick, bold actions.

I landed my first large corporate coaching contract by asking a principal I knew to coffee and sharing my idea for a nontraditional workshop that would focus on professional development and women’s advancement at the same time.

Soon thereafter, I had a meeting with some of her people who introduced me to their people, and before I knew it, I was running a program at a scale and impact I never have before.

And it’s true for my clients as well. I especially like when a five-minute action creates a possibility that wasn’t there in the first place. One of my clients reached out to her friend who ran a firm she admired and ended up getting a leadership position created for her.

In each of these cases, it was a five-minute action that started the train. Reaching out to a principal friend to share a new idea and getting feedback. Picking up the phone to make a call or shooting off a text. Dashing off a five-minute LinkedIn note.

It’s almost kind of lazy.

I like to think of these as the five-minute actions that start the train rolling—and then I'm on it. It's going somewhere, so I can't get off.

One of the “trains” I’m currently on? Developing a new program for male leaders of mid-sized and large firms to improve their personal leadership and business results by building a stronger pipeline of women leaders in their firm. It started with a five-minute email to a friend and collaborator who is a firm strategy expert. A few brainstorming sessions later, and we’re here.

Sometimes we think that big things are going to take a lot of time. So we overthink them, overprepare for them, and put them off until we’re “ready.”

But usually, the pursuit of these big goals is going to force us to transform into another version of ourselves. And we don’t need to have it all figured out.

We just need to take the first five-minute step.

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Hi I'm Maya

Mia Scharphie , career coach, headshot

I’m a career coach and strategist with a secret power (I mean, past career) as a designer. I love road trips, graphic novels and helping people like you design the career you love on your own terms.