For those of you who don’t know Tony Robbins, stop what you’re doing (yes, that means reading this post) and familiarize yourself with his body of work.
Great, now that that’s taken care of I can share how Tony Robbins helped start a chain reaction of self-tracking in my life.
It began with the power talk series. One of my former salsa students (back when they used to call me “Gringo Salsero”) whom I made a particularly strong connection with recommended that I invest in myself. He specifically recommended an interview that Tony Robbins had with marketing genius Jay Abraham and it has been one of the best investments I have made. Check out the Power Talk series specifically.
In “A Decision to Ensure Success” one of the concepts was that of CANI (Constant and Never-ending Improvement). To systematically and incrementally enhance the main areas of my life, so that when I look back in 6 months, or a year, I can see quantum leaps in my personal and professional growth. Brian Tracy talks about this concept as well, but he calls it the 1000% Formula, which is based on the Law of Incremental Improvement. In any event, the assignment at the end of the disc was to write down 3 things every day: what did I learn, improve, and enjoy?
At the time I was already using the CarbonFin Outliner app for iPhone and iPad. What better way to stay ridiculously organized than to record my daily CANI entries in outline form? Match made in heaven, right? I thought so too.
The day was August 2nd, 2011. Little did I know that I would begin a journey of self tracking that would result in a daily ritual of tracking 9 separate metrics (more to come on those in future posts).
What worked so well about this structure for me, was the fact that it was super simple, and completely NOT intimidating. Just record 3 things each day. I could have written 1-2 sentences for each, and been done in 90 seconds. As you might have guessed however, that’s not how it went down.
Since I live in Washington Heights, I have a rather long subway ride to get home. This has always been a blessing for me, since the subway is one of the most productive work spaces ever. Where’s your most productive space? Never thought about that before? Might want to start that conversation with yourself.
Instead of riding the subway home and being bored to tears, or passing the time with mindless games that do not add any value to my life (no offense Angry Birds, but what have you given me? Really?), I began writing 2-3 paragraphs for each. It was a perfect way to pass the time, and also served as my daily journal.
At first it was a little challenging to come up with something for each of the 3 questions, but I quickly realized that I was ALWAYS learning, improving, and enjoying myself. It was just a matter of identifying them. What’s more, the best part about this process was that I found myself going about my days actively seeking things to learn, improve, and enjoy.
Believe in the law of attraction? Yeah, it was kind of like that. Tony Robbins talks about it too. What you focus on, you become.
In the words of Charles Duhigg, writing down the answers to my 3 CANI questions was the “keystone habit.” The habit that started all my other habits, and made it easier to track other things about myself. I got so good in fact, that I adopted the habit of starting new habits. And if that doesn’t blow your mind…you should watch the movie Inception. Dreams within dreams within dreams…epic.
Once again, thank you Tony Robbins.
Thought I was going to finish this post without giving you a sample of my first CANI log entry?
I’m not that much of a tease 😉
Learned that I need to stay out all day and only return home with just enough time to wind down (maybe) eat, and pretty much go to bed. If I am home early and I’m tired, it doesn’t work out well because it’s too early to go to sleep, but I’m too tired to be productive.
Also learned to take airborne at the first sign of sickness (even if just a scratchy throat)
Improved the way I’m living my life by adopting and incorporating the philosophy of CANI into my daily routine.
Improved the Shir Consulting Process from Karl’s 7 or 11 step strategic process from his work PowerPoints.
Improved the way I delegate tasks at work. I gave Rachel the task of calling Verizon which saved me a lot of time.
Enjoyed hearing my boss say that I’ve done an excellent job and knowing that I am doing a phenomenal job at not only fixing the mistakes and bringing more value to the company, but also COMMUNICATING so amazingly well that he is overjoyed with the amount of value that I bring to him and his company.
Enjoyed starting CANI questions.