#53 Guru Chalene Johnson: The Secret to Success Is Doing Less
May 24, 2022
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How can I do more in less time? How can I be twice as effective in half the amount of time?

I want that special hack that I can use to help me become more effective.


If you’ve ever asked yourself these questions, you’re not alone. But is this really a practical approach to creating a successful life?

Well, says motivational speaker and multi-business owner Chalene Johnson, it all depends on whether you’re aiming for “stressed success” or “smart success.”

In this talk, Johnson shares a single, straightforward technique to ensure you fall on the side of smart success.


Accepting Help

About ten years ago, Johnson’s husband admitted that he had a gambling addiction, leaving the couple in around half-a-million dollars of debt.

At the same time, Johnson was struggling with an addiction of her own: she was a workaholic.

Her husband entered treatment, and as he got healthier, Johnson leaned even further into work. She eventually broke down late one night, surrounded by piles of unfolded laundry and her laptop and files.

Her husband, seeing her distress, suggested she get someone to help her with her work. But she couldn’t possibly do that! Then, he proposed, why don’t we hire someone to help around the house?

Despite their massive debt, she agreed.

Her house was clean, her laundry done… and she could suddenly focus.

“Everything changed,” she notes. “And it was only possible because I had to give myself rational and emotional permission to try it.”


Ditch Your Scorecard

But why was it so hard for Johnson to accept help?

For her, laundry was her “mom scorecard.” Her own mother did the laundry perfectly, and to be a good mom, she needed to be like her.

“My worst fear was that I believed that if I gave someone something that I believed only I could do that they wouldn’t do it as well,” she explains. “What I realized is the more things I handed over to others, the bigger and more profound my freedom became.”

She started to get healthy. She stopped using work to distract herself from feeling and living.


“Today I Do Less”

Johnson asks everyone in the audience to grab a pen and paper.

She runs through a literal laundry list of personal and professional tasks, asking those watching to make a checkmark on the left side of the paper if they do that task themselves or on the right side if someone else does it.

At the end of the exercise, she reveals that there’s not one checkmark on the left side of her list. And she started the process while she and her husband were in half-a-million dollars of debt.

The message is clear. If you want “stressed success,” keep doing it all. If you want your life (and your family’s life) to improve, start outsourcing.


Do What Only You Can Do

Johnson stresses that you can’t outsource everything. Some things to keep doing yourself include:

  • Who you are
  • What you stand for
  • Your vision
  • Your presence
  • Taking care of your kids
  • Time with friends and family
  • Personal development
  • Exercise
  • Sleep
  • Meditation
  • Eating healthy


And that’s the key takeaway. Outsourcing allows you to do what only you can do.


As Johnson concludes: “If you want to live more, if you want to feel, if you want to be present, if you want to do the things that make you happy, you’ve got to do less.”

Do you agree with Chalene Johnson’s idea that outsourcing is the key to success? Or do you feel you need to have your hands in as many pies as possible to keep your business running optimally?

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