Years ago, Randy Gage came to Toronto, Ontario. Randy is a multi-level marketing guru, one of the world’s top paid speakers and author of many books, most recently ‘Live Rich: Unleash the Prosperity in your Life’. Randy was already highly successful and he agreed to meet with a group of professional speakers who were making more than $100,000 a year and wanted to move up to the next level. They knew they’d get great advice from Randy Gage. It was a small group. No doubt the people around the table felt self congratulatory as they waited for him. After all, they were top of their game.

Soon Gage arrived and the group talked awhile with him and told him how successful they’d been and how they were planning the next steps of growth and where they saw the opportunities and obstacles. Then there was silence in the room as Randy took in what he’d been told. He looked at them all thoughtfully and then he said “You all seem like smart people. And nice people too. Why aren’t you doing better?”

What a great question. “Why aren’t you doing better?”
He did this group a great favour by not doing what most experts would do. And that would be to congratulate them on being leaders of the pack and show them ways to build on that. That’s the intuitive response. Instead Randy Gage took the bold counter-intuitive response and threw out an enormous challenge to the group.

The challenge was a gift. ‘Why aren’t you doing better?’ I ask myself and my clients that continuously. I personally always have an answer to that leading question and the answer is invariably flawed. The truth is, there’s never a really good excuse. Money is always inextricably connected to Mindset.

I love the question. I love the challenge. You should too!
For example, I have had this manuscript simmering away on my computer for more than 20 years. It has gone from handwritten to a typewriter to more than one computer. Remember floppy discs? That was its home for awhile. Over the years, it has crashed and burned more than once and been resurrected. Still my manuscript sat on my computer – 180 pages – smouldering away.

It wasn’t until I read Brendon Burchard’s book ‘The Charge’ that I felt compelled to actually finish it. Burchard, like Gage, is fond of throwing out challenges to his readers or viewers. He knows that they have the answers and the talent. What’s they’re often missing is having someone else toss them a challenge they can rise to. Burchard wrote that he has been creating 30 day plans of action for the past 16 years. 30 days. How hard could that be? I looked at my manuscript and calculated how long it would take to finish my book. It just amounted to 15 minutes a day. That was doable. A 30 day plan of action was a brilliant idea.

So I took my manuscript which seemed like such an overwhelming project, listed everything I had to do to finish it, added a timeline, divided by thirty and guess what? It amounted to only 15 minutes a day. I have now finished the manuscript and the book is currently being published. As the poet T. S. Eliot said ‘A poem is never finished, it’s abandoned.’ I had abandoned my manuscript for years.

Of course, now it has turned into a different 30 day plan based on getting it out there rather than getting it finished. So I then took that 30 day plan and applied it to my other projects, in a priority sequence. As a bureau owner and marketing consultant to speakers, I have about 20 projects on the go and always need to keep my priorities straight.

What would happen if I applied the 30 day project rule to them? I tried it. I listed my goals, my long term and short term objectives, listed everything I needed to do to complete each project, estimated a time for each activity, added up the time and divided by thirty. That alone increased my efficiency exponentially.

I’m a great ideas person but if I am not careful to ground the good ideas and let the not-so-good ideas float away, I’ll just end up whistling Dixie to four blank walls.
Visions are essential to building your professional speaking business. Without a vision, you’ll hit your head on the ceiling very quickly. Ask yourself why you’re in this business. Using metrics such as income and time spent, rate yourself where you are right now.

Where do you want to be? What will it take to get there? What are the next steps you need to take? What would be an excellent first step?

Use your vision as your umbrella and list all the things you need to do to turn it into reality. List the partners you’ll need to assist you on the way. Who will be on your team? (You cannot do it all by yourself!).

What are your organizational challenges? Imagine what you can accomplish by applying a thirty day plan to your projects. I challenge you to apply the discipline and do just that. You CAN do better. Much better! Let me know how you do.

Author's Bio: 

As a bureau owner and a journalist, Cathleen is also a top marketing consultant to speakers who want to make more money doing what they love. She’s well known in her industry and is a member of the trend analyst committee of Meeting Professionals International and also the founder and past-President of the Atlantic branch of the Canadian Association for Professional Speakers. She also leads annual seminars and has written five books, as well as hundreds of articles for trade magazines.

She’s worked with some of the top speakers in the business as well as highly accomplished business people who want to create an extra stream of income and provide added value to their clients through speaking. and