How to Win in 2020

Hey guys! Ralph Plaskett here. Author of the acclaimed book, Deepening Growth: Powerful Lessons in Cultivating Your Personal Transformation and founder of the Plaskett Institute where we help passionate coaches, consultants and educators strengthen their personal and professional mastery so that it can create transformational impact.


The last time we were together, we were having a conversation about planning for 2020 and beyond. We had a really good conversation about how we can look at the way that we plan to have more intention – a completely different landscape of the way that we look at planning altogether. We came up with some really good results in that conversation. If you haven’t seen that conversation yet, go ahead to the previous video.


What I want to have a conversation about today is How to Win in 2020.


We’ve talked about planning for 2020, but how do we win in 2020 with all of those plans that we have in place?


You see, we can’t go into the new year with the same old habits of the old year. We can’t walk into 2020 with the mindset that we had in 2019.


Now we might have had a fantastic 2019. We might have slewed all of the obstacles that were in front of us and we might have won completely. Yet, there’s still an ambition within you to go to that next level. There are thoughts that you have that you want to manifest here in 2020.


Whatever your happenings were in 2019, 2020 is here and we need to be able to prepare for a win in 2020.


I was just talking to my wife the other day about football. See, we are Clemson fans. My wife attended Clemson so we are full Clemson fans and we are having a blast this season.


See you soon LSU.


We were having a conversation that football is such an amazing experience because it is a technical game as much as it is a mental game where we’re looking at how do we win from a mental perspective. Yes, the physical and technical side of the game is absolutely critical but it cripples without the mental fortitude akin of champions. If you don’t have the mindset, you won’t be able to achieve the win.


There are three things I want to be able to talk to you about today on how to achieve the win in 2020.


The first is yes, you’ve guessed it because we’ve talked about it all year round. And I want to be able to end this last video of the year with the very point that I need to make so that we are clear how to win in 2020.


#1: This is setting the intention of your feelings.

We are having all of this conversation about setting goals and even conversation about setting our intentions. But we never talk about our feelings, especially us men. Right?


If I am feeling sad; if I am feeling happy; if I’m feeling joyful; if I’m feeling depressed; if I’m feeling anxiety; All of these are conversations that we don’t have, nor are they conversations that we set the intention for.


When we have a meeting about an opportunity we come up with and think about what we’re going to say in order to have a presentation that is successful. We do all of the technical aspects of achieving this, meaning we set up the presentation, we make sure they have the right colors, we rehearse, but we never have a conversation about the intention of the feelings we want to possess in that meeting.


You see, if we’re going into this meeting with an anxious feeling, we are going to represent anxiety in our presentation. But if we go in there with a joyful, positive, “I got this!” feeling, the presentation will be completely different. This example illustrates the way that setting the intention of our feelings can change the entire atmosphere and completely shift things in your positive direction.


When we shift our intention towards our feelings – how we want to be – then we have the opportunity for an even greater impact.


#2: A clear focus on your impact.

Yes, we have the goals and we have the goal achievement mindset but what is the impact?


What impact are you looking for in these goals?


What impact are you trying to make in yourself and your family and your community?


What’s the impact are you really going for?


We have conversations about the goal. We have conversations about the technical things that we need to do, but we don’t often have conversations about the impact.


To have a clear focus of the impact that we’re trying to make changes the entire game.


I’ll give you an outlandish example. I want to solve world hunger. Now, that is a lofty goal. You can even put some imagination around it on what that really looks like and you could even put a time frame of accomplishing it. You can make it a S.M.A.R.T goal, but it still has no impact.


An impact for that goal would be, “I want to make sure that no child goes to bed hungry.”


Now that gives me the ability to get out of bed in the morning. That gives me the ammunition to say, regardless of the obstacles and the challenges ahead of me, I am going to pursue this impact.


I can see the child going to bed hungry, wishing that they had a snack, wishing that they had a meal, wishing there was something nutritious in their belly. I can’t see that if there’s such a lofty goal of “I want to solve world hunger”.


When we have a clear focus on the impact that we’re trying to make, then we have an ability to move past the obstacles that are sure to come. The impact gives us the ability to have a driving force that allows us to move beyond the obstacles in order to achieve the impact that we are making in our goals.


#3: Pre-build periods of rest and reflection.


We often don’t do this. And this is the sad part because we get to a place of burnout. We get to a place where we’re running and going until we become burnt out. We have physical manifestations of ailments because we are not taking care of ourselves.


The pursuit of achievement isn’t just the pursuit of material possessions, but it is a pursuit of a well balanced, rather, harmonious life. And that includes your health and wellbeing. Not only your physical health and wellbeing, from strength and conditioning to nutrition but also your mental health and wellbeing.


When we look at our schedule for the 12 months of the year, we must build in periods of rest and reflection. It may be a weekend. It might just be a day but we must build in consistent periods of rest and reflection.


The first benefit this gives is obvious. It gives us rest. It gives us the ability to recharge and get back into the game with the same energy and fervency as when we started our goal.


The second thing it does is gives us the dedicated time of reflection that we need. And reflection is a superpower that we have as human beings to be able to look at what was and to see ourselves as how we’ve operated in the past.


The scientific term for this is metacognition. I often say, “what is meta-Ralph doing?” How am I looking at this situation from a metacognition standpoint?


I’ve developed this skill over time, but if we take periods of rest and reflection, we can go back and take time and evaluate, “how did I do this past month? How did I do this past three months? What were the challenges that I faced? How did I handle those challenges?”


Periods of rest and reflection are critically important for your harmonious existence. So if we can build those periods of rest and reflection consistently throughout the year and commit to them – not allowing them to be moved off your schedule but really commit to them – then these periods will give us profound benefits.


This is especially so in the United States where we don’t give much credence to rest and reflection. We feel like we need to go, go, go. Where in other cultures around the world are very cognizant of the power and the benefit that rest can give us.


These are the three things that I wanted to share with you of how to win for 2020.


First, let’s set the intention of our feelings.


Second, let’s get a clear focus of the impact that we’re trying to make.


And third, we need to have prebuilt periods of rest and reflection.


These three things are going to allow us to win for 2020 and beyond.


When we have access to these tools then we have the ability to make child’s play of our goals. We have more fun. We will be more energetic. We have this ability because we have a clear focus on the impact. We know the feeling that we must have as we come into these opportunities that are before us and certainly, we know how we can recharge through rest and reflection.


I implore you to go ahead and utilize these three must-haves for 2020 so that you can have a successful year. I’m so excited for what you’re going to accomplish here in 2020. I’m so excited for the opportunities that are going to be before you.


I’m Ralph Plaskett and until next week, enjoy the greatness that is life.

Finding Silence in the Noise


Intently focusing on something that is beyond the noise allows you to find silence in the midst of the chaos. In this episode, we cover the surprising benefits that silene can bring to your life immediately and the side effects of living in too much noise. You might just be surprised how you can find silence in the noise. 


My children are ages 6 and 3 and like most 6 and 3-year-olds they make a ton of noise. Crying, screaming, playing, singing, acting, dancing, everything you can imagine and often for no reason at all. I don’t think it could get any louder in my house. Well, maybe if we added a few more 6 and 3-year-olds. 

Either way. We were sitting down for dinner and the kids just finished their meals. There was no background noise, no TV, no Pandora, nothing. It was blissful. So much so, that my son made the comment that it was so quiet AND that he liked it! Could you believe it?! It was like the pot calling the kettle black. The very person who generates all of this noise is confessing that he loves the quietness.  

Of course like most 6-year-olds, especially with his sidekick 3-year-old sister, this blissful silence didn’t last for long. Here is what I learned from this experience and frankly my very short time as being a parent. I’ve learned that one, my wife is a great inspiration for these episodes as well since she gave me the title for this episode and two how to find silence in the noise. 

So I found myself drowning out the noise that my kids were making. I think that this is a superpower for most parents. I slowly removed layer by layer of noise – my son talking loudly, my daughter singing a song, the noise from the kitchen, and the cars outside driving by. Now of course, I still heard them but they were not in focus. In this instance, I was focused on enjoying my dinner. I enjoyed this silence for a few moments before I was snapped back into reality. 

And although this is a superpower of parents, this is not a unique skill. Intently focusing on something that is beyond the noise allows you to find silence in the midst of the chaos. Do you recall studying for exams, working in a cubicle farm with noise from every direction, or having a conversation in the middle of noisy sporting events? The same skill of focus that you used here is how you can find silence in a world of noise – albeit short-lived, these moments of intense focus and its resulting silence is refreshing.

Here is what I mean. Research has linked noise pollution to increased blood pressure, sleep loss, and heart disease. These results have led to even more research on the long-term effects of noise. Sure drowning out noise even for a few moments may not sound like much but if you think of the feeling that you gain when you are able to do so, it should lead you to want more noiselessness. 

In recent research about various types of noise, it was found that silence actually provided rather interesting benefits. 

First is the growth of new brain cells – Duke University regenerative biologist Imke Kirste found that silence for approximately two hours a day produced new cells in the part of the brain associated with memory. 

The next benefit is the activation of the brain’s memory – Our brain is a tenacious organ. Even when we are in complete silence, our brains never stop working. It retrieves memories of song and lyrics, conversations and experiences. This allows your brain to exercise the memory portion of the brain. 

Lastly, silence encourages self-reflection – This as you might have guessed is my favorite benefit. There is much to learn about yourself and the world around you through the gift of self-reflection. Without the demands of the world on your brain, silence allows your brain to wander and in that wondering, you may find yourself able to reflect on the past week or day or a particular experience. If you practice mindfulness or other well-being practices, you can be more direct with self-reflection and learn how you can become a better version of yourself. 

You may not have two hours a day to find silence, I know that I don’t, however, finding a few minutes here and there throughout my day has given me huge well-being benefits even in the midst of noisy kids.

4 Well-Being Techniques for Effective Productivity


  • Learn 4 techniques to instantly become less overwhelmed, anxious and stressed.
  • Understand your unique productivity rhythms and Off Track Triggers
  • #1 is the most counterproductive technique to becoming an all-star producer
  • Grab your free copy of the lesson worksheet here


Here’s the reality. There are a ton of things that are trying to gain our attention. Not only are they gaining our attention, but they are also trying to claw their way into our time. There’s no shortage of this activity.

At work, it’s the million emails that we need to get to by the end of the day; it’s the countless meetings about meetings for a meeting all of which we need to attend; it is the onslaught of text messages about the problems that arise for your product or what-have-you. These are the things that are continuing to claw into our time and take our focus off of productive work.

At home, it’s the ever-growing honey-do list; it’s the gnawing feeling of the new year’s resolution that you haven’t even gotten to yet, and it’s already October, and it’s the commitment that you made to your family about spending quality time.

So what am I getting at? Is there is no shortage of things that are just vying for our attention, which means that we need to have an increased mental focus. This also means that there is an attack on our wellbeing.

When we give too much of our attention and time we become only one thing…overwhelmed. We become stressed and overworked. We need to be able to have a keen focus on our wellbeing. We need to be able to move things forward. We need to be able to manage the plates that we’re balancing and we need to be able to manage our wellbeing.

All of what I described doesn’t even consider the emotional toll of all of these activities much less the emotional toll of all the roles that you play in the stage play call life.

I want to cover four wellbeing techniques for effective productivity. So let’s not even delay. Let’s go directly into it.

#1:  Take a Break.

It’s a little counter-intuitive to productivity, taking a break. It doesn’t make sense when we’re talking about being productive. But since we are talking about being productive from a wellbeing standpoint, it makes perfect sense.

Especially in American culture, we seem to have a badge of honor when we run ourselves ragged [to the point of exhaustion]. We have an issue saying no and accept every task that comes across our desk.This results in becoming overworked, stressed, overwhelmed. And that only causes us to have a mental breakdown at some point.

So what do we need to do?

Take a break. Go ahead and enjoy something new, something novel.

Take a break in between your productive time. In fact, you could use a Pomodoro technique where you have 20 to 25 minutes of productive time and then you have a short break and then another 20 to 25 minutes of productive time. And then another short break. Breaking up your work like this can allow you to stay hyper-focused in this small chunk of time.

#2 Use visualization

First, visualize your work. You have to work in front of you, but it’s on a spreadsheet or in a notebook or worst, in your email. This lack of clearly visualizing your work causes you to miss things or realizing them only in the last minute which causes you to become overwhelmed.

Since your work is not really, in front of you, we should make it so that it is. Put it on post-it notes, index cards, or whatever you have access to in a moment and place it in front of you.

This does two things: One, it really takes it out of where it’s hiding in your notebook to spreadsheets, wherever you may have it. And, two, it places it right in front of you as a reminder of the things that you need to get done.

Now don’t allow this to overwhelm you because it can. If you put too many things up there. You may have this gnawing feeling an what it is, is a gentle reminder of the work that you need to get done.

The second part of using visualization is the reality that we have is that things are gonna pop up in our mind at any given time. The thoughts, ideas of suggestions are going to sneak in and they’re going to try to distract us during our time of being productivity. An exercise we can do here is imagine our mind as a theater screen. And on that theater screen, we have the ability to see our thoughts, ideas, and suggestions come across the screen. Now imagine that they come across and the leave the screen like credits. In this exercise, we’re trying to detach ourselves from the ideas and suggestions and thoughts that are coming up by visualizing them on the theater screen and ending.

Alternatively, you can allow those thoughts, ideas, suggestions to come and dump it onto paper. Take a moment and write down the thoughts, ideas, and suggestions so that you can unload it from the brain and you can focus on the productive work that you are trying to accomplish.

#3 Obliterate procrastination.

I’m the worst. At Christmas time I wait until the last minute to get my presents. But procrastination doesn’t always work out in our best favor. Surely, more times than not, it doesn’t work out in our favor at all.

Procrastination can cause a lot of stress and anxiety about the work that needs to be done. Anxiety is one of the secret killers, if you would, in American society. It is the secret killer because it doesn’t show its face and we often think we just need to “suck it up”.

When we are considering obliterating procrastination, it means that we need to make a commitment. We need to have a consistent commitment to delivering work. A consistent commitment to delivering value. What I mean by this is we have time during the week that we dedicate towards whatever we need to do. This may mean, we need to have the necessary conversations with our loved ones.

Say we commit to setting aside two hours to focus on writing a for our Blog, for instance, or to do a video, like this. This happens every week around the same time and everyone is aware of what’s going on. So when we are able to establish these consistent commitments in our week, in our month, in our year, we’re able to move things forward and obliterate procrastination.

#4: Count to Clarity

Again, the reality is things are gonna pop in our minds, people are going to come into our offices, people are going to distract us. This is a fact of life so we need to be able to get back to ‘center’ as quickly as possible.

One strategy we can use to get back to ‘center’ is to count to clarity. What this means is that you count the numbers as high as you need to to get back to ‘center’, but you do so slowly with deliberate inhale and exhale breaths. What this does is slows everything down: it allows you to focus on the thing that you need to get back to; it allows you to detach from the thing that causes you to get off course.

This exercise, counting to clarity, gives you the ability to calm your nerves, calm your monkey mind, and allow you to get to ‘center’ where you can then go right back into a productive mode.

Bonus #5: Find your Flow

If you’re interested in a video about flow, let me know in the comments down below. Essentially, Flow is a transcendent psychological experience where you get into the zone and you are hyper-focused. As a result, you’re hyper-productive. In Flow, your self-regulating self diminishes. You’re not questioning the thoughts and ideas that are popping up as you’re trying to focus.

There are many activities that you can do to find your flow. One of my personal favorite that allows me to get into flow pretty quickly is listening to drum and bass music. If you are a runner, you go for a run to achieve a “runner’s high” get into general adrenaline and endorphins pumping through your system that helps you get into a flow state. Alternatively, reading a good book and finding something new and novel can kick you into flow as well. Finding your flow is unique to you. It is a great tool, not only for productivity but certainly for having a transcendent experience where you go learn more about yourself than you ever think you can possibly do.

The thing that we’re trying to achieve here is a greater self-awareness and as GI Joe said, “Knowing is half the battle”. The other half of the battle are the techniques that I shared with you in this video. And to win both sides means that you win the war.

I’m Ralph Plaskett. I am so happy to share these strategies with you. Let me know which one is your favorite and which one you’re going to apply to your life in the comments down below. So glad that you could join me here today and until next week, enjoy the greatness that is life.