The Power of One Thing

In Print Issues, She's an Entrepreneur by Jamie Freitag-Dooley, RDH, BIS, CLC

As female entrepreneurs, we wear multiple hats. However, as oral health providers, our brains are wired for biology and dental terminology, not KPI and marketing lingo! If you are anything like me, you’ve got sticky notes and to-do lists a mile high, plus another set of lists that haven’t made it out of your brain yet. We are constantly forced to expand our knowledge and ability to multitask, yet I have found great fulfillment in my ability to focus fully on one thing at a time.

I’m guilty of having a YouTube video playing on my TV about building the perfect pipeline while writing a blog on my laptop, alternating between checking one of my six emails on my phone and toggling over to Facebook to catch up on my notifications… all while drinking my first cup of coffee and doing a few yoga poses first thing in the morning. No wonder I feel stressed and overwhelmed!

I used to call myself a “Multi-tasking Queen.”

I was proud that I could manage my daughter with Spina Bifida’s 13 different providers, run my home, go back to school for a bachelor’s degree and teach Zumba, all while working full-time a week as a clinical hygienist. At 33 I had built my worth around what I did, instead of who I was at the heart level. Looking back with a love language of Acts of Service, it makes sense that my worth was wrapped into acts of doing, and that the more I did, the more value I believed I had.

Once I started life and business coaching, I was able to see another side of myself in my clients. They came to me frazzled, confused and burnt out, and they were nearly all programmed like me: Type A, people-pleasers fueled by caffeine and stress. I wanted to really help them get to the core of their dissatisfaction with their lives, so I studied neuroscience and quantum physics.

Turns out we can actually get addicted to emotions the same way we get addicted to seemingly innocent social media and red wine. We aren’t overwhelmed because we have so much to do; we are addicted to the stress hormones that make us feel overwhelmed to the point that we look for more to do when we don’t feel overwhelmed. It was a HUGE, eye-opening moment in my life!

The world hadn’t done this to me;

I had become accustomed to stress early on as a way to numb the emotions I didn’t want to feel: mine and others. I am intuitive and empathetic, which is sometimes referred to as emotional intelligence, or EQ. Many female healthcare professionals have a high EQ. I was praised for being “helpful” when I was young and knowing what others needed often before they did. I built an identity around doing as a way of feeling worth.

The cool thing about self-coaching is that once you know what thought is programming an emotion and outcome you don’t want, it’s pretty easy to flip it and program what you do want. I call that “The Reverse Principle.”

So if my thought has been “I need to keep pushing so I don’t let people down,” I can flip that to the opposite to get a new outcome: “I am already enough, so whatever I get done today is enough, and the people who are meant to be in my life will give me grace.”

Did you feel your shoulders drop when you read that? Doesn’t that feel better? Kicking my addiction to overwhelm has not been easy, but each day I ask myself a few questions.

Actually, as I talk about in my book, “Self-Coaching Mastery,” my higher self (whom I’ve named Michelle), asks me these questions. Now, when my cells are yelling for that familiar hit of stress, I drop my energy down into my heart and I connect with my higher self. She always calms me and helps me focus. I believe she is the part of me that is directly connected to God.

Three self-coaching questions that can help you identify your one thing each day:

1) What one thing can I do to better organize myself and my space today?

We live in a time of constant information flowing toward us, but all your best answers are within. Take a moment to close your eyes, drop into your heart, and allow your higher self to speak. When you ask this question, the first thing that comes to your mind is correct. It may be outward, “Go to Staples and get color-coordinated,” or inward, “Meditate.” Messy surroundings are an outward manifestation of a cluttered mind. Sometimes just closing your eyes and focusing on your breath is enough to recenter you and connect with where to start.

When I did this exercise recently, I saw a dry erase board that was separated into three sections in my mind. Since I work in three very different businesses, staying productive means keeping each egg in its own basket to stay organized. Would you believe I found it waiting for me at Home Goods? It was like it was calling to me! Trust your heart to guide you. Your brain is always playing tricks to keep you safe and small, which is the opposite of your natural state of constant expansion.

2) What is one thing you can do today that will make everything else easier or unnecessary?

In his book “The One Thing,” Gary Keller (founder of the world’s largest real estate company, Keller Williams) suggests that “Extraordinary focus on One Thing each day is what leads to extraordinary success.”

It can be easy to get lost in daily duties and repetitive tasks, so when I need extraordinary focus, I have a one-hour sand timer that my sister gave me for my birthday. It is bronze and sits on my desk. When I turn that thing upside down it reminds my brain that I am only doing one thing right now, NO DISTRACTIONS!

I don’t allow myself to peek at a text that came in, get up for food or click on a notification, which is hard when you work from home and are your own boss.

That one hour is dedicated to one thing that is helping me either:

  • Increase my revenue
  • Level up my skillset
  • Automate my systems
  • Clarify my message
  • Target my ideal audience

When you focus on just one thing, you create space for a higher level of creativity and efficiency. You may even have a new flood of ideas that surprises you!

3) What one thing is my priority?

Choosing one big goal to work toward at a time helps us achieve a sense of growth and fulfillment. Big goals take more focus. Don’t try to accomplish more than one at a time; choose a priority.

I am a written goal setter, so I always know what my priority is. In my course on manifesto writing, I teach women my heart dump and STAMP methods to help them hear the whispers of their heart and turn them into tangible action plans with dates and celebrations programmed in. What you want first moves to the top of the list. The bulk of your time, money and energy goes there; and when you achieve it, you know exactly how you are going to celebrate it! You also have a benchmark for decisions.

Why bother setting goals if you’ve already moved on to new ones and never feel immense pride and joy for them? I carve out a full 24 hours each time I check one of my “Ideals” off my manifesto. It has brought so much joy into my life. When other women ask me how I get so much done in a week, the three questions above are the answer.

What is your higher self’s name? Take yourself out on a date and ask her to speak to you. Have a pen and notebook in case she has a message, and grab a pretty sand timer next time you are at Home Goods. Now {Boss Up} and get to work manifesting all you dream of!