Forget “To Do”. Make a “To Don’t Do” list.

Myers Barnes new home sales To Do listThere are two types of people in this world: The List Maker and the List Hater. There’s no sense talking to the second one (at least, not in this post). Are you someone focused on your goals so you use lists to keep you on target? If you truly want to succeed, you need more than a list of things to do. Forget “To Do”. Make a “To Don’t” list.

Success isn’t necessarily about what you do. It’s also a result of the choices you make to NOT do something.

My wife is a great example of this. At the beginning of the year, Lorena wanted to lose weight and build muscle. Some people might just aim at the target, with a specific weight loss goal. They know what they need to do—eat healthier, get more exercise, give up alcohol—but then the temptation sneaks in. You give in once, then again. That goal fades away, and you merely accept that it wasn’t the right time, you weren’t in the right mindset, or that goal simply wasn’t important enough.

Be honest with yourself. You looked at what you needed to do, but weren’t clear about bad behaviors that chipped away at your successful pursuit of the goal.

What is the “To Don’t Do” list?

Lorena is a powerhouse. She didn’t just throw out a number of pounds to lose. She determined how to get there on her timeline.

Don’t eat junk food.

Don’t drink wine.

Don’t get lazy.

This last one was particularly impressive to see. She goes to the gym for a challenging workout that would derail women much younger than her. She doesn’t love going. There are days when she groans and considers skipping the gym. But she always—and I mean, ALWAYS—sticks to her schedule and does those workouts. When she returns, Lorena is glowing. No matter how much she had to drag herself to get to the gym, she is exhilarated when she’s done.

She also achieved her goal in six months, and then exceeded it.

Learn from the worst

I’ve spent thousands of hours training salespeople and sales leaders. When they want to find the secret sauce, here’s my advice.

Go to the worst sales performer in your company. Offer $500 to shadow them for one day. Consider it an investment in your education. Then, over the course of that day, make notes of what you observe.

“Don’t do this.”

“Stop doing this.”

“Absolutely, NEVER do this!”

You’ll have developed a valuable list of mistakes to avoid, which will lead you to actions that will deliver better results. It’s worth $500, and that might be the best money that salesperson makes this month, quarter, or year. Win-win.

Motivation is internal

What you do and don’t do is a result of your strength. It’s fueled by motivation and tempered with discipline. I can come in and deliver my best motivational speech, but what will you do the next day and the next week when there’s no one to cheer you on?

When you set your goals, understand your motivation. If it’s not strong enough, you risk failure.

Ask yourself, “What am I willing to do to get there?”

Then ask, “What should I not do?”

Those two answers will spark a successful action plan. And If you need help finding those answers, ask me.


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