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What Matters Most To You?

build your brilliant business dino tartaglia the workroom Feb 26, 2021

By Dino Tartaglia

Last month, we started working through our super-simple 3-Step process to help you Build a Joyful, Dependable Business around Being Brilliant at What You Do, so that you can get closer to What Matters Most. If you haven’t read the article, go back and do that now, as it’s the first part of this 2-part breakdown on Step 1, and a key piece of the 3 sequential articles I’m writing for Q1 of 2021 on this process to ensure that you: 

  1. Get Clarity

  2. Get a Plan

  3. Get to Work

Before we crack on, let me share this quote … 

"I get to touch people's lives with what I do, and I love it, and I want to share this with you."

It’s from the film Chef, starring Jon Favreau, where Favreau’s character is expressing something deeply important to him that he wants to share with his son.

In the film, Favreau plays Carl Casper, a magnificent chef who quits his job in a prestigious LA restaurant when Riva, the overly controlling owner played by Dustin Hoffman, pushes him too far. As he tries to figure out what his next step should be, he finds himself in Miami, and things conspire to reignite his passion for cooking and for great fast food, which he realised he’d lost as an Exec Chef at the restaurant. Carl found clarity and, eventually, with a lot of trial, error and hard work, his ‘purpose’. Hold onto this point because you’re going to need to remember it.

I’m going to explode a big myth (possibly even a couple of big myths) in the next section, so buckle up and let’s dive fully into Part #2 of Step 1 - Get Clarity.


This is an oft quoted and frequently used coaching tool, as much as it is a readily available mechanism to waste your time on.

Yup, I said it.

The Ikigai diagram, like so many excellent ideas, is used and abused in the hands of often well-meaning people. It is INCREDIBLY easy to misuse this or overthink it, and thus end up much worse off than when you started. I’ve personally witnessed this with courses that include this device costing upwards of $3,000, $5,000, and even a $15k course!

That said, it’s a great process to go through IF you do it in a way that works with who you are and in the way it is meant to be used. 

As you might expect, we have our own twist on this ancient Japanese philosophy, the original ‘Venn’ for which you can see in Fig. 1. The centre of this Venn diagram is what the Japanese define as your ‘purpose’, ‘your reason for being’, the ‘thing’ that brings you joy, fulfilment, impact (if making a difference is what you want) and financial reward.

Simply, you list out:
1. What I love to do
2. What I’m skilled at
3. What the world (my prospective market) wants
4. What the world is prepared/desperate to pay for

… and then look for the overlaps of all four.

There’s a little exercise you can do that really gets to the sweet spot on this. I share it in our group, Success Unlocked, and expand upon it significantly in the more focused part of our Coaching Environment, The Excellerator.

However, the reduced diagram in Fig. 2 (which is our twist on the core elements of Ikigai), is usually enough to get most people going in the right direction, and it will work for you IF you do the work - the thinking - that it requires of you.

Again, don’t worry too much if you haven’t (yet) figured out what you’re passionate about in this context. Stick with what you’re deeply curious about, and where you get involved in doing or researching something and time just seems to stop. THAT’S where the spark and the clue lie.

Even if you already know what you’re passionate about, here’s the BIG benefit of doing this exercise. It completes the final 3 sub-steps of your Clarity piece and gives you a much more rounded picture and understanding of What Matters Most to you.

And it provides the focus that having a ‘True North’ will give all your efforts, the thing that is foundational for your Plan (Step 2) and the Work (Step 3) you must do.


Take a look at Fig. 3


Like everything I try to do, and in line with the basic philosophy of Success Engineers, this is a minimalist approach to simplify the entire process of building a Joyful, Dependable Business around Being Brilliant at What You Do ... so that you can get closer to What Matters Most

On the left you’ll see a bunch of activity arrows flying around all over the shop within the circles of competence and interest (passion, purpose, love). I could just as easily have shown the same for the Ikigai circles - it’s the same issue.

 Without a focus for our efforts, we get pulled inexorably and inevitably into overwhelm (‘busywork’), sailing around in those circles, often ever decreasing, as I mentioned earlier. By getting focused on what our ‘job description’ is and what we exist to do, what our ‘big promise’ is, and by factoring this into What Matters Most - our vision of our future lifestyle, the impact we want to have, the way we want to work, the lives we want to touch, the things we want to achieve - we isolate the raison d’etre of the business - its ‘reason for being’ - and thus make it incredibly simple to identify and focus on the Plan and the Work.

 This is element #2 of our diagram; the ‘purpose’, the ‘thing’ you do, the focus and direction of your ‘True North’.

 Once this is out in the open and in focus, every ounce of effort, every penny you spend, every second you invest, every resource you deploy, will all go into growing this to create more impact, more profit and, if you follow our advice, a business that celebrates your brilliance AND provides joy along with a sustainable, dependable profit that fuels the kind of lifestyle you envision in What Matters Most to you.  

 THAT is element #3. It doesn’t need to be any more complex than this.

 Easy? Not at all. But simple? Absolutely. Simplicity is tough, but it gives clarity, and clarity enables focus. Complexity is easy - we’re wired for complexity, but it creates confusion and overwhelm. That’s why simplicity & focus are the inseparable dynamic duo that power the Highly Effective and the Wildly Successful.


Thinking and creating time to think (literally, ‘thinking time’) really is the unsung hero of pretty much all successful endeavours and is why I’ve given it a place on its own here.   

Arguably more critical than a plan, clarity, focus, tenacity or ‘grit’, simplicity, a start-up (seed) fund - anything you can come up with that you’d associate with business’ success - thinking is THE superpower that makes them all possible and (more) effective.

·      Better questions

·      Better answers

·      Better actions

·      Better results

·      Better outcomes

… all start and develop with better thinking.

Here’s an example:

If you ask a tactical question, you’ll get a tactical answer, when what you need is something more directed and valuable to you. And, usually, you accept the first answer you find or come up with (something you probably NEVER do when considering building the best vacation of your life 😉).

You tell yourself, ‘I feel sluggish,’ then stand on the scales, see that you’re 8 kgs (c. 18 lbs) over what you’d consider to be ‘a good weight’, decide that’s the reason, ask yourself what the solution is and then go buy a diet book, join a gym, invest in a Peloton ... whatever. A tactical (action-oriented) response to a tactical (what can I do about this right now?) question.

A STRATEGIC approach would be to ask the question, ‘Why do I feel sluggish?’ And ‘thinking time’ then works like this … you grab a time in your diary to SIT WITH THE QUESTION (caps added for emphasis).

Yup, that’s how this works.

The best people in the world have time in their diaries to sit with a question to which the answer is, ‘I haven’t a bloody clue.’ Those are usually GREAT questions, and are invariably strategic, i.e., ones that point to an answer or solution - once identified - that will move the needle on your business and help you get closer to What Matters Most.

What they also know is that they need to consider a range of answers because the first one is usually anything but the best one. A frightening fact about the average coach, consultant, creative, service provider is that they will almost NEVER do this for a client, but invariably ALWAYS do this to themselves.

(NOTE: Creatives especially, but all entrepreneurs also often get distracted or overwhelmed with too many ideas. The same process applies here, too - they grab the first idea or answer that seems to ‘work’ and run with it; zero ‘thinking time’ beyond this, as the objective is to obtain an answer, not the best answer.)

So, back to the 8 kgs overweight thingy …

·       Why do I feel sluggish? [Better question]

·       What do I mean by ‘sluggish’? [Define the problem]

·       What are the possibilities? What could be causing this? [Expand the scope for answers]

Then … [answers appear as further questions to explore]

·       Poor nutrition?

·       Poor sleep?

·       Lack of rest?

·       Would meditation help? If so, why?

·       Slow metabolism?

·       Might exercise help? If so, what’s practical? What could be effective for me (doable AND enjoyable so I sustain it)?

... and so on.

See the difference?

In your biz, right now, you might operate like this: ‘Why am I not getting enough reach? I know, it must be Facebook - they’ve killed organic reach. Facebook ads, that’s what I need. It worked for Jayne, she does what I do. Yes! That’s what I need. I’d better get on it!

Flip this into better thinking and you’ll take yourself light years away from this, and from your competition!

Here’s what that looks like:

‘Why am I not getting enough reach?’


Q: What do I mean by ‘reach’? What am I trying to do? What problem am I trying to solve?
A: Well ... I don’t have enough sales.
Q: What do I mean by ‘not enough sales’?
A: Income is £2k/pcm below what I want and it’s inconsistent. £8k one month, on the floor the next.
Q: Ah, so you’re equating ‘reach’ with ‘sales’ and ‘sales’ with ‘income’?
A: Hmmm ... yeah ... I guess so.
Q: OK. SO, what are you optimising for here?
A: Well ... I think what I really mean is that I’d like to bring in a stable £6k/month, whatever happens. I want stability ... a dependable business. It just doesn't feel like that right now.
Q: OK, just to qualify that, you mean turnover/revenue or profit (income)?
A: Oh! Income (profit). Money in the bank I can spend.
Q: Cool. So, the question we want to be asking is, ‘How can I stop lurching from feast to famine and start bringing in a dependable £6k in profit, month-on-month?’
A: Yeah, that’s it!

See the difference?

Thinking is arguably the hardest work we do as entrepreneurs and business owners, but it’s a) the most rewarding in terms of impact and b) the critical component of success that almost all small business operators miss.

Happily, now you know how important it is, you can avoid the fate of so many others. Thinking and ‘thinking time’ allow for Reflection and Review, which we’ll get into in next month’s article, when we start to take all of this, get strategic with it and put it into a Plan (Step 2), a solid path that connects where you are to where you want to go, and that will get you closer to What Matters Most.

If you want to do some more focused, deeper work on this Get Clarity piece in the meantime, tag me in TFCEO Group, drop me a message or, if you really want to get motoring with your business, come join me in Success Unlocked, our Coaching Environment.    

Wishing you an amazing month!


Dino Tartaglia is a former Electronics Engineer, now a businessman, mentor, coach and troubleshooter working to help you, if you’re a coach, consultant, creative or service provider, to Build a Joyful, Dependable Business around Being Brilliant at What You Do. 

In his own coaching, and together with world-class coach Simon Hartley, the other half of Success Engineers (their joint business), he helps you to improve your thinking to ask better questions, so that you solve the right problems in your business at the right time, develop your own personal performance as a business owner and get closer to What Matters Most. 

You can find Dino in our FB Group , on his  website or on any of these other locations; Facebook | LinkedIn | Twitter | Instagram |PodCast - Back Bedroom to Big Business

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