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Do you want to make more money?

Ninety nine out of hundred people I ask that to answer in the affirmative. At the same time, ninety nine out of hundred of them would answer in the negative when I follow up with the question, "What specific idea or action plan do you have that will help you make more money?"

Therein lies the answer to why ninety nine out of hundred of them don't end up making more money.

I have always wondered why very successful people - CEOs, movie stars, authors, politicians - take on life coaches. Isn't it someone that hasn't reached that kind of success that needs that kind of a coaching more? Isn't that a wider and more addressable market? Wouldn't life coaches want to take on clients where the room for improvement is relatively higher to make their own jobs easier?

Turns out the answer lies in the anecdotal numbers I started with.

In school, it was very easy for me to get better. I was constantly graded on what I knew - through rote exams, extra-curricular quizzes and competitions - and this prompted me to make constant improvements helping me get better and better each time.

But once I graduated from this school setting, I found it very hard to see such quick and noticeable improvements in myself. Not just at the workplace, but also in other activities that I engaged in, like writing and physical fitness.

When I tried to think about why, I understood that I had fallen into the ninety nine percent that don't have a specific idea or an actionable plan for getting better. If you had asked me, I would have told you that I want to get better at all these things, but if you asked me if there was anything specific that I needed help on that would help me improve, I wouldn't have produced a coherent answer.

This was what led me to start setting myself concrete goals, which eventually evolved into my current version of yearly OKRs powered by diligent weekly planning.

Once I defined concrete goals, it was easier for me to notice and identify exactly what I needed help with in order to get to that goal from where I currently stood. This then opened up avenues for me that I could seek out this help - in terms of books, articles, online courses and people that could help me.

To this day, this has been one of the most powerful realizations in my life that continues to help me get better at the things I do.

Whenever I see myself stagnating in terms of self development (in any of the areas I'm interested in), I ask myself what specific thing I need help on to get back on a rising curve. And if I don't come up with a coherent answer, I drop everything and focus on outlining a coherent answer to the question.

Without which, I will be like the ninety nine percent that wants more money but have no idea what specific actions they can take to make it happen.

This brings me back to the very successful people that hire life coaches.

For me, after I identify concrete goals and outline what specific thing I need help with in getting there, I can find a host of avenues that will give me that help - books, articles, movies, courses, people, etc. But for a very successful person, it is very hard to get that kind of help as they are at the pinnacle of what most people in their fields have ever achieved, leaving them very few avenues to find the help they need. And this is the role that life coaches play - in helping them identify these avenues.

If you feel you want to improve in a certain area, ask yourself what specific help you need to move in that direction. If you don't have a coherent answer, drop everything else and spend time finding that.

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