9 1/2 Secrets Successful People Use to Get the Most From Their Time: Part 5

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

In my first blog post, I wrote that to get the most from your time, life, and career, one of the critical talents you need to develop for yourself and all those you train or coach is time management.

In the past four posts, I showed that the key to getting the most from your time, life, and career is knowing what you really want and being totally involved in your MIN (Most Important Now). But if you are consistently totally involved in what you really want, isn’t that selfish?

Earlier in my life, I would have agreed. But 40 years of experience and interviews with leaders in 160 Fortune 500 companies have shown me how wrong I was. If you can answer just three questions, you’ll see that it is not only unselfish, but also smart: 

  1. What is most motivating and satisfying for you? 
  2. What is best for those you are related to or serve? 
  3. What is an easy example to better understand answers 1 and 2?

1. What is most motivating and satisfying for you? 

  • When are you most motivated and satisfied? 
  • When you do what you are told?
  • When you do what your boss wants? 
  • When you do what you must do? 
  • When you do what you really want? 

The obvious answer is when you do what you really want.

But, you might rightly say, this bring up a real problem. With bosses, peers, and clients at work, and spouses, children, parents, and friends at home, how can I be always involved in my MIN?


The Freedom Secret  

The Freedom Secret, when fully understood, will solve this question for you. Here is the short version. You freely choose your “P” (the primary thing you want). Then you accept the “NC” (the necessary condition to reach the P).

Here is a simple example. You don’t like getting up on cold mornings to go to work. The un-insightful you could say, “I hate this, but the boss will really be mad at me if I don’t come in.” You just make yourself the victim of the boss. Caution: Any time you do something because someone said to, you make yourself a victim of that person.

Using the Freedom Secret you say, “I don’t like to get up on cold mornings, but it is the NC to my P. I really want to get ahead. My P is to build a great future for myself and my family. I accept the NC because I really want this great future.”

It is still hard to get up! But who is more motivated and even satisfied? People who see getting up as the NC to get what they really want.

2. What is best for those you are related to or serve? 

Do you want your spouse to do something good for you out of love or out of obligation? Similarly, do you want your boss to be good to you because he really cares about you—or because he has to, even though he would rather not?

3. What is an easy example to better agree with answers one and two? 

A person famous for serving the lowest of the low is Mother Teresa. She could not have done what she did, and how she did it, if she had to.

Reading about the life and works of Mother Teresa from many sources, it is obvious to me that she always did what she really wanted. Her P was to serve Christ in the poor of Calcutta. The NC was working with the poor.

Two suggestions: 

  1. Consider the Freedom Secret and regularly ask “What’s my MIN related to what I really want?” To review this very powerful question see blog post 3
  2. Share with us your insights below.
About the Author
Jim Steffen founded SSA International in 1974. He wrote the international bestseller Aligned Thinking: Make Every Moment Count. He would be glad to offer you the opportunity to become a Certified Trainer/Coach, learn the Aligned Thinking Secrets, and teach it to your clients; the program is free if you are an ATD member. For details, visit or contact him at
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