Greg Crabtree is a very compelling and interesting guy with an amazing story. He has made a life of helping clients, most of whom are entrepreneurs, align their financial goals and grow. He’s a speaker, an author, and a financial expert, but more than that he is an entrepreneur and a leader. He’s a smart man but he has a way of taking complex ideas and numbers and distilling them into something simple and compelling.
In his Paper Napkin Wisdom, Greg talks about growth and asks us to shift our perception of it. He says: “Growth is not an ‘addition thing’ but rather a ‘subtraction thing’. What do you need to remove or give up to grow? For me, it was clutter, comfort and control.”
Subtract the clutter
You need to determine what you need to give up in order to get to your goals, says Greg. As entrepreneurs, we often suffer from ADOS: Attention deficit- oooh shiny! In other words, our attention is often distracted by new thoughts and ideas. If we want to grow in one direction, we need to subtract the clutter, the distractions that block us from the path we want to take. Sometimes that might mean shelving an idea or a project for later. Greg talks about how, for him, part of figuring out what he needed to subtract to get to his goals was realizing he needed to let go of comfort and control. In order to truly grow, you need to take risks and relinquish control. Risk gives you the opportunity for growth and by delegating responsibility; you put yourself in a strong position to move forward.
Knowing what you need to subtract is where you start, but as the conversation progresses Greg explains that there is one more vital element to growth. If you’ve got your goals and you know what you need to subtract to make them a reality, you will also need the emotional energy to make it work. Greg illustrates this point by sharing the story of how Jaromir Jagr, the great Czech hockey player, led his country’s underdog team to the 1998 Olympic Gold over the perennial powerhouses and tournament favourites, Russia and Canada. Jagr inspired his team with the story of why he wore the number 68; he talked about who he was playing that game for, his reason why it was important. Greg says we need to know what our reason for doing what we do is. We need to know what our 68 is, what is our why? Knowing our 68, keeping that motivation in the back of our mind is how we find the emotional energy to do what we need to.
“We have to decide what is useful to the path we want to take and what’s distracting us from it,”
Greg’s guidelines for growth are about direction and motivation. It’s about taking the time to evaluate the things taking up our time and headspace. We have to decide what is useful to the path we want to take and what’s distracting us from it, and once we do that we have to act on it. To be able to follow through on that we need energy and we get that energy from knowing our reason, our motivation for doing what we do. Take a moment to think about your company. How do you want it to grow? What needs to be subtracted for you to accomplish that? Do you have the emotional energy you need to follow through?
Listen to the conversation with Greg here: