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Over the past few weeks, I’ve noticed that I’ve really wanted to reduce and simplify. I spent time going through all my recurring subscriptions, and canceled about 40% of them. I’ve also been busy reducing my number of newsletter subscriptions. You might think of this as year-end cleaning. What I’ve noticed already is that my email inbox is a lot quieter, and I’m spending less time deleting things I won’t read anyway. I also went back through my email archives and deleted years worth of email that I’d previously backed up to save. At this point, the way my business is, if something hasn’t happened in 6 months, it’s no longer relevant. This has been very freeing process; and I definitely have the sense of traveling lighter.

This process has also prompted some decision-making- and that’s one area I wanted to write more about here. The area of decision-making is around finding your mentors– those people who you pay attention to, follow, and learn from. These can be people you actually know and invest with; or they can be people who you simply follow online. In both cases, you find that their approach, style, and focus resonates with who you are and where you are in your business now. In many cases, your chosen mentors will help you make progress on your goals, if you learn and implement what they teach.

In the online world, it’s all too easy to try and create too many mentors. This happens when you sign up for many email lists and don’t really give deep focus to any few people. Your email inbox gets filled each day, and you spend more time deleting emails than reading them. This is one sign that you’re trying to amass information faster than you can process or use it. The end result of this is a sense of frustration and overwhelm. Sometimes, mass-unsubscribing helps, but I tend to prefer a process of thoughtful unsubscribing. Here’s how that looks for me:

Thoughtful Unsubscribing

I begin by looking at emails I haven’t opened or read in more than a month. I start by unsubscribing from those email lists.

Then, with my remaining emails, I review the kinds of things that the senders are writing about and sharing. In most cases, I can tell that I love some emails a lot- and these go to the “must keep” list. There are some that I don’t resonate with at all or which aren’t seeming that relevant anymore- these go to the “delete next” list. And then there are some that I can’t decide on. I just stay subscribed to these for a while, but then repeat this process if I find that I’ve not read anything from that person in more than a month.

You may find that a month is too long, or too short for you. It doesn’t really matter what the time frame is, as long as you have one. What I’ve learned from doing this process for some years now is that it definitely clears out space, and it gives me more room to pay attention to those people I’ve selected as my mentors.

In all cases, I think, following a select few people very closely and learning from them deeply is going to net you better results in your business than following many people just slightly. Everyone has different approaches and different outcomes, and what we all really need is a system and process for achieving whatever it is we want to achieve.

You have to be clear on your goals

What this process also relies on is the understanding of your own goals and your selected business model. In my case, my business model centers primarily around providing service. This means that, generally, I’d want to choose to follow mentors who are working in the same kind of business model, as that is likely to have the most relevance and resonance for me. Whatever I learn is likely to be more directly applicable to my business as it is; and I don’t have to work so hard to find ways to apply it or make it fit.

This doesn’t mean that I don’t sometimes read information from other business models, I do- just that when I’m looking to create strategy and implementation plans, I want to focus on what’s working businesses like mine.

When you have decided on your chosen mentors, commit to following them for at least 6 months. Give yourself time for their teachings to “take”. Spend time learning from them and then spend the rest of your time implementing what you learn in your own business. Trying things out for yourself is a fast way to learn.

This process also relies on your willingness to focus on a few key goals and not allow yourself to be distracted by all the shiny objects on the internet.

So, if you want to have a more profitable and effective year ahead in your business, my best advice is to select your mentors carefully, and follow them closely. Give yourself time to learn what they teach, and to implement and test out these things in your business for yourself. Keep your signal-to-noise ratio as low as possible, so you can access your own insights and wisdom, too.

Cull the amount of information coming in to that which you believe will have the greatest positive impact. Then work like heck to get results from that information.

It’s not about what you know, or could know- it’s about what you learn and actually do.

If you could use some help with defining your business model, and finding mentors to follow who will give you real results- I’d be glad to help you. Just get in touch!