Corné Lategan

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One Lever = 100X Output

April 16, 20249 min read

Money is everything.

That’s what I used to think.

All I could think about was how to get more.

Why?

Because I was in survival mode.

I wanted to be a good husband and support my wife.

I wanted to be a good big brother and support André. (André is my co-founder, and we run Bizvideo together.)

Fast forward, we’re running a cool business with a great team. Now I have different problems and goals.

In cycling, there’s a common saying. “It never gets easier; you just go faster.”

bike

3 Goals

At this point in my life, I have three goals. These will change over time.

Achievement & Growth: Sense of Ongoing Achievement & Growth. I want to feel like I’m achieving. When I drive home after a day of work. I want to feel like I accomplished something worthwhile.

Energy: I want energy, physically and mentally. I want mental energy to be “present” with my daughter and wife.

Pursue Creative Work: I want to be creative at work, not do mundane admin tasks. I want to create solutions that solve problems. The problems, if solved, will make my clients smile and buy me lunch.

Let’s get honest.

No one knows what they want.

If they do, ask them why they want that. I bet they will struggle to answer.

Let’s say you find someone clear on their goal. A real goal. Chances are they won’t do it. They lack the energy to focus on the goal.

So we boil things down to these 3 core problems:

  1. Unclear goals.

  2. Lack of Energy (physically & mentally)

  3. Can’t Focus.

I sat on the beach one morning looking at the sunrise and thought to myself:

If I can get clear and evolve my goals. And have endless physical and mental energy to focus on cool projects. I will be very happy.

Projects that create a bigger impact and something that leaves a legacy. Still trying to figure this one out. If I'm honest.

Why can’t we focus?

Most experts write a list of 38 tactics for focusing. These tactics might help you for a couple of days or give you a false sense of focus.

I want to make a clear distinction between:

  • Fundamentals (principles, foundations & basics etc)

  • Tactics (hacks and technical details)

Fundamentals drive results. Tactics can further results but only when the fundamentals are in place

I recommend reading into "First Principles"

With that said, let’s break it down.

You may struggle to focus because:

  1. You’re not clear on what you want. You don’t have a goal. You don’t have a conversion event in place. If you’re not clear on what you want, you have no reason to focus.

  2. You have no energy to focus. You don’t have the mental energy or discipline to focus.

This isn't your fault.

It cost me $80k + to find solutions to these problems by joining masterminds and investing in mentors - and cost me millions in lost opportunity.

Clarity

Not having a goal means we have no direction.

We have nothing we’re optimising for.

This makes us procrastinate and lie to ourselves.

We distract ourselves with meaningless activities and build bad habits.

Years go by, and we don’t understand why we haven’t made any real progress.

Take the time out to get clear. Sam Altman says: “Almost everyone I’ve ever met would be well-served by spending more time thinking about what to focus on. It is much more important to work on the right thing than it is to work many hours.”

Another problem I’ve had to deal with over the years is having too many goals.

I had too many goals at once. I took on everyone else's goals and didn’t make time to get clear on my big goal. This made my results shallow. I couldn’t focus, go deep and achieve something meaningful.

You might find yourself unclear with too many different goals. This is where sacrifice comes in.

It’s necessary to sacrifice personal comforts and distractions to achieve significant success. True commitment often requires letting go of lesser goals or distractions.

We’ll talk more about Nodes and Branches in a moment. Cut branches that take away from other, more important nodes.

We need to be clear on what we want. We need a clear "why" for the goal. It will drive us to have the discipline to work on it, even when things get tough.

Energy Conservation

We’re overloading our brains.

Your mind is a supercomputer. Your attention is equal to the RAM of a computer.

Open loops, tasks, and distractions are slowing your performance.

So are regrets, stress, and bad habits like social media scrolling.

Slowing performance = not achieving your goals.

Overload leads to decision fatigue. Our lives are complex. They have thousands of duties and choices. These drain our focus and energy. We're making around 33,000 to 35,000 decisions daily, many of them unnecessary.

Every small decision steals your mental energy. Then, you won't have the energy to make big decisions. Which leads to more open loops. Which makes you feel like you don’t do anything.

One of my mentors taught me about Death by a Thousand Cuts. Many small distractions and tasks break up the day. They reduce focus and productivity.

I used to do a few cycling races.

In cycling, it’s not always about how fit or strong you are. I mean, those two things are important.

Most of the time, you get better results by conserving as much energy as possible.

The goal for most of the race is to conserve energy.

If you’re lighter, you will spend less energy, especially on hills.

If you’re more aerodynamic, you will conserve energy. There are plenty of ways to become more aerodynamic, one being your riding position. You will save 15 watts (energy output) if you tuck your elbows in. 15 watts over a 100km race is quite big.

Work smarter, not harder.

In the race of life and business, we don’t take energy conservation into account.

We like to ride this metaphorical bike around with an open parachute tied to the back of the bike.

This means we must simplify our lives. We have to eliminate small decisions if possible.

Imagine a tree with Complex Nodes and branches.

nodes

With every branch, there are another or many offshoot branches.

In the same way, we have different branches in our lives.

For me, that is family, business, cycling, mindset, and other hobbies.

Take the business branch as an example. We have marketing, sales, products, offers, clients, finance, and a team.

Take marketing as an example. We have paid ads, organic, PR, and Joint Venture Partnerships.

You can drill deeper and deeper. You will notice everything becomes more disorderly and complex. Frying our brains.

Every branch you add at the top creates a whole world of complexity.

We have to eliminate branches that kill more important branches.

If you add a random hobby to your life, think about the complexity it adds. Look at the offshoot branches. Extra branches will cost you time, energy, and money. But more importantly, they will make you miss the opportunity. You will not focus on your main branches.

I like to do an exercise called “DADD”.

“DADD” - Delete, Automate, Delegate or Do.

Look at all your branches and ask yourself: "Can I delete this branch?".

If yes, this will free up a lot of energy.

If you can’t delete it, can you automate it through technology?

If you can't automate it, can you create a process and delegate it to a team member?

If you can't delegate it, then you need to do it.

You have to be 100% honest with yourself.

We should simplify our lives. Keep life simple to avoid stress and distractions. This allows better focus on personal goals.

Focus

When we become clear on the goal. And we’re conserving as much energy as possible. By focusing, we can use that energy to achieve the goal.

We can now move on and identify tactics to increase our focus.

Environment

One thing I have noticed affects my focus or lack of focus is dependent on my environment.

I have three work setups. They depend on the time of day, how long I've had to focus on one activity, and the activity itself.

My three work setups are an office workstation, a coffee shop and a home workstation.

setup

Experts suggest "Environmental Dependency" is a situation. In it, productivity can depend a lot on your work environment's setup. An optimised workspace supports better focus.

My main workstation has a MacBook Pro, a 5k LG screen, a Shure Mic, a Canon R5C Camera, and a Standing Desk. It is always neat. This is where I do 80% of my work. I attend Zoom meetings here and host our client mastermind. Everything needs to work when it needs to.

Coffee shops help me focus on a particular project. I do most of my planning and writing in coffee shops, and it helps me get into a creative frame of mind.

My home workstation is a simpler version of my main workstation at the office. I don’t hold meetings here; I use it to work on creative projects where I need less distraction.

The setup of your workspace influences productivity. Make sure everything always works, like your internet connection and hardware.

Inconsistent Discipline:

It’s easy to get motivated. It’s hard to stay motivated.

If we rely on motivation to stay focused, we will fail.

Discipline is more powerful than motivation.

Discipline allows us to sustain our focus through ups and downs.

Staying focused on our goals will help us move forward.

Focus is a Force Multiplier.

Putting in the hours will help us achieve an outcome.

One thing we forget is that focus creates exponential results.

Let’s say productivity is the goal. We have units of time and we have units of focus that will determine the output of productivity.

More productivity means we move toward our goal faster.

Hours x Focus = Productivity.

Examples: If we sit down and work 5 hours with a level of focus, we will have a productivity unit as a result.

  • 5 hours x 1 focus = 5 productivity

  • 5 hours x 0.5 focus = 2.5 productivity. (Getting distracted)

  • 5 hours x 10 focus = 50 productivity.

  • 5 hours x 50 focus = 250 productivity.

focus

In all the examples above, we have the same hourly input with different levels of focus. The focus level is a force multiplier.

Avoid distraction. Be clear and rely on discipline. Stay focused on the goal and use Focus to multiply your efforts.

The Path Forward

If growth is what you want.

If mental energy is what you crave.

If getting back to creative work is appealing to you.

You need to get focused.

To achieve great things and have a bigger impact, focus is key. Set a clear goal, simplify your life and mind to conserve energy, allowing you to move closer to your goal each day.

Focus on work that you enjoy and projects you love working on that will also pay off in the future.

I hope this helps.

Corné

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