How to Stay Laser-Focused and Achieve Any Goal

In November of 2012 I decided to join professional network/entrepreneurial brain trust.

The rationale was simple, successful people don’t succeed on their own.

There are two parts to the program:

  • Monthly interviews with a wide array of brilliant people, masters and advisors that have helped countless people with productivity, health, psychology, and more
  • Membership to an exclusive community of ambitious professionals to hold you accountable, encourage you, and help you live a Rich Life

I read as much (or more) than anyone I know, but reading is a time consuming endeavor.

This brain trust provides access to knowledge, wisdom and proven strategies that top performers use to…

  1. Get more done
  2. Stay focused
  3. Earn more money

Below is a video preview and my notes from Noah Kagan, discuss, among other things, how to achieve any goal faster than you thought possible.

  • While at Intel, Noah worked on side projects every day.
    • It’s risk averse to hustle on the side of a FT job.
  • If people knew it would take 10 years, would they still do it?
  • Step 1: Be curious.  //  Step 2: Make it actionable.
    • Don’t wait. E-mail that company now and ask them your question.
  • When you are running your business, have one goal.
  • You can get to the same destination a lot of different ways, but if you map it out, you can get their faster.
  • Noah worked for free and put together a plan for Mint.
    • Which took all of the risk out of hiring him
    • But most free work is worth less than zero
      • Because of the time it takes to read/watch it
  • The most important skill in the world is the ability to say “No.”
  • Learn to say “no” politely and gracefully to focus on your priorities.
  • On Focus:
    • What’s the one thing you want to achieve?
    • Does what you’re doing align with it? If yes, then do it. If no, don’t even think about it.
    • Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should.
  • Failure is where you’re growing and where you get a chance to learn.
    • Embrace uncertainty, discomfort and challenging yourself.
  • Simple doesn’t mean easy; simple is hard.
  • Take responsibility for things. Don’t blame your boss, the world, etc.
  • If you’re asking people for validation, that’s a good sign you don’t want to do it.
  • This is a linear lifetime. You only have so much time.
    • Don’t do shit you don’t want to do. This includes dinners, coffee, phone calls, etc.
  • You are your own harshest critic.
  • Give a specific answer or detailed when asked the question, “How was your day?”
  • Everyone talks about getting a mentor, but get a mentee.
  • For some reason, people stop doing what works. Find out what works, and do MORE of that stuff.
  • Test to see if you hate your job:
    • How do you feel on Sunday night? On your Monday morning commute?
  • More on Focus:
    • Pick one big goal a year. Break it down monthly and daily.
    • Simplify your business model.
      • Ex: Do you want to be a NY Times best seller?
      • Break it down by the numbers… How many books would you need to sell?
    • Tracking everything = tracking  nothing
    • Have a list of things that might help you get to your goal. Prioritize in order of potential impact.
      • Think: “What if you only had one week to double your results?”

Bonus: RBT Member, Frank Magnotti, recommends combining Noah’s advice on saying “no” with Bill Jensen’s “Simplicity Survival Handbook.”


If you want access to all my interview notes, and additional insight and analysis on the mindsets and strategies that other top performers use, please subscribe below:


  • mikedariano

    Nice notes. I eat these up and just signed up for your email list to get them as they come out.
    Focus seemed to be a big emphasis from Kagan. How did you apply it? Do you have things detailed to that level?


    Ryan Stephens Reply:

    @mikedariano:disqus – Glad you are enjoying the notes. As you can see, I’m quiet a bit behind, but excited that others are receiving some of the value/applicability. I know you, too, have curated notes at the Waiter’s Pad. I haven’t dived in yet, but looking forward to exploring some of those including Robert Greene and Marcus Lemonis.

    In response to your question about focus… No, candidly I haven’t been that focused.

    Unlike Noah, my blog/writing is my side hustle. As a project manager I focus on lots of things and I focus on ensuring those things are aligned with our department’s overall goals, but I rarely focus on one thing or one metric the way I focused on growth in my previous life at a sports tech startup.

    I *will* say, I’ve gotten much, much better at saying “No,” though and distinguishing between “No, I want to be lazy even though I’d probably have a good time, learn something, etc.” and “No, that is not aligned with my current mood or where my future self is headed.”

    Hope that adequately answered your question. Thanks for stopping by!


    mikedariano Reply:

    That “no technique” seems like a good place to start. One more question, about marketing books, any outstanding ones that you suggest? Anything that’s popped up repeatedly in RBT? Thanks.


    Ryan Stephens Reply:

    @mikedariano:disqus – I’m always a bit hesitant to recommend marketing books (or any books) without having a better understanding of what someone wants to learn as a result of reading.

    “No one size fits all” is pretty applicable here.

    That said, here are a couple, I particularly enjoy/have received immense value from:

    Robert Cialdini’s “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion”
    Keith Ferrazzi’s “Never Eat Alone”
    The Heath Bros. “Made to Stick”