A Formula For An Extraordinary Life
Success is like an iceberg. There is more to it than meets the eye. What some see as instant success tends to have more going on beneath the surface.
Our purpose, priority, and productivity are all connected to each other in our pursuit for great things. To quote The ONE Thing, “who we are and where we want to go determine what we do and what we accomplish.”
In the book, Gary Keller and Jay Papasan explain the pursuit of extraordinary things with the Iceberg Model. In this model, productivity is shown to be supported by purpose and priority—with each one connected to and building on one another. It shows success comes from more than we can see.
The Iceberg Model from The ONE Thing
Productivity Is The Tip Of The Iceberg
Icebergs can be massive. The world’s largest is about 1,661 square miles—bigger than the state of Rhode Island. But roughly 90 percent of an iceberg exists underwater. As an observer, the mammoth size of these drifting pieces of ice is not immediately clear. That’s why the best navigators know that what they see above the water is not the whole story and they would be wise to familiarize themselves with what lies beneath the surface.
When we set out to achieve great things, our pursuit resembles an iceberg. At eye level is our productivity. This is what we do on a daily basis. The work we get done. The outcomes that those around us see. But it’s only a small aspect of our ultimate results.
Let’s consider for a moment that you’re passionate about raising money for charity. Your friends know that every year you’re going to look for them to join you in a charity run, set up a collection online where they can donate, and do everything you can to collect donations that your company will match. What the world sees is that you are highly productive in generating money for your cause. But like the iceberg, there’s more to your productivity than meets the eye. As The ONE Thing says, “The more productive people are, the more purpose and priority are pushing and driving them.” In other words, the priority you’ve chosen shapes the work you do.
Priority Is Found Just Beneath The Surface
Driving your charitable push is more than the desire to be a universal do-gooder. Rather, it’s the charity itself. It matters more than any other charity to you. Clearly, there are a huge number of charities doing good things in the world, but this particular charity is your priority. What about it makes you work so hard? Your priority is what drives your productivity.
The priority tier of the model rests under the water’s surface. We know it’s there because it influences our actions, but others can’t see it. It’s what we’ve determined to be most important to us right now. In this scenario, you’ve dedicated yourself to a charity that supports rare cancer research. By defining what your priority is, you’re declaring it has greater importance than everything else. And by focusing on this priority, it drives the work you get done and helps you to determine what you need to accomplish right now.
Purpose Is The Hidden Foundation
Looking inward helps you to find the purpose that fuels your priories and your productivity. In this scenario, it’s clear this charity is near and dear to your heart. But why? Because of this charity’s work, you could have had a loved one get access to an experimental treatment that would have otherwise been out of reach. Therefore, your Big Why—the very thing that pushes you to get out of bed each and every day—is ensuring that others have access to the same treatment your loved one needed. What you do daily is the result of something bigger than a simple action item. It has purpose.
Purpose is the largest part of the iceberg model and lives the furthest beneath the surface. As Gary and Jay explain in The ONE Thing, purpose is “a combination of where we’re going and what’s important to us.” It’s what drives you to place an emphasis on the things you’re doing to reach high levels of success. When we understand what our purpose is, it influences what our priority becomes. And once we understand where our priority lies, we can determine how to be productive in what we do to bring our ultimate goals to fruition.
Diving deep below the surface and finding out what matters most to you gives you a direction to pursue and drives your behavior. It gives you a passion and drive for achieving your goals. In this case, your work fundraising and promoting the charity may be the only thing most people see when they see your actions at work, but your priority and purpose drive everything you do from beneath the surface. That’s the iceberg model in action.
When it comes down to it, our productivity is driven by our priority and our purpose. What does your iceberg look like? What purpose influences your priority that drives your productivity? Share your experiences on our Facebook page. And don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter for additional research and models.