5 Mins Read

Two Essential Exercises to Systemize Success and Satisfaction

Brandon Fluharty |

Brandon Fluharty |

This article is part of the BFLG series, where I publish performance learnings based on taking a nontraditional and holistic approach to strategic sales. Subscribe here and follow me to read upcoming newsletters.

In my last newsletter, I laid out my case for why your New Year’s resolutions suck, and why developing a theme is a better approach.

This week I want to continue building on that concept.

I will focus on putting all the pieces together so you can begin developing a personal operating system pointed at what you really want this year.

And the two most basic desires for an elite performer are to be successful in our work and satisfied in our life.

But Brandon, what about health, wealth, family, friends, community, knowledge, spirituality…you know, all the other aspects of life?

I’d argue those domains fall in one of the two main buckets above, because we either want to be successful at something (i.e. run a marathon, beat cancer, earn an award, reach 7 figures in annual income, launch a community program, be able to meditate for an hour everyday, etc.) or satisfied with something (i.e. have a stronger social media presence, upgrade our home, enjoy more quality time with our spouse, meet friends with similar hobbies, enjoy being more present, etc.).

If you subscribe to that philosophy, then that means all of the important things we want to be successful at or satisfied with can be turned into projects. And once things are set up as projects, we can create a system to make them happen.

With a solid personal operating system in place, success and satisfaction will be natural outputs of your daily inputs, allowing you to thrive (because your effort will be filled with excitement, creativity, and joy), something I’ll be covering in more detail in upcoming newsletters.

Before we get there though, it’s important we dedicate quality time for a bit of reviewing and planning.

“We waste our time with short–term thinking and busywork. Warren Buffet spends a year deciding and a day acting.” – Naval

(👉 Access My Template for completing your annual review and creating your annual plan.)

Exercise #1: The Annual Review

You first need to have perspective of where you’re coming from before you can have an accurate picture of where you want to go.

My annual review has evolved over the years, and will continue to evolve (just like everything should), but here is my template from 2021 that you can steal for yourself. It comprises of completing these four simple steps:


1.) Complete a Thorough Audit of the Things You Can Measure

Increasingly with the technology we use everyday, this is becoming easier to do (every app, from Strava to Spotify, seems to have some sort of Year in Review summary you can reflect on).

Choose the three domains in your life that are most important for contributing to work success and life satisfaction and devote time to capturing the right info from them. For me, I choose the domains of My Professional Brand, Health, and Productivity as the areas that have the highest impact on success and satisfaction for where I am in my career and life right now.


2.) Collect the Following 3 Pieces of Information From the Appropriate Sources:

→ Data points: What are the facts?

→ Discoveries: What are the insights?

→ Actions: What changes need to be made?


3.) Write Out Applicable Things Under the Following Categories:

→ Grateful For

→ Proud Of

→ Gave Energy

→ Took Energy

→ Lessons Learned


4.) Calculate What an Hour of Your Time Was Worth

→ Log into your HR system

→ Divide your total annual compensation by the total hours worked

→ This will give you a gross hourly rate


Exercise #2: The Annual Plan

I laid out the exact structure for an effective Annual Plan Map in my last newsletter, so here I want to help you fill it out effectively using the information you gleaned from your Annual Review.

This will lay down the foundation for your personal operating system so that all you have to focus on is showing up each day to execute and drive the inputs. Like the Annual Review, there are four simple steps to completing the Annual Plan.


1.) Define Your Theme

By way of example, my theme for 2022 is “Prioritize my high leverage activities.” The structure here is important:

→ Make it actionable vs a single word (i.e. gratitude). This will help snap you back to focus when things get hectic or you wander from your path (i.e. I can constantly ask myself “Is what I’m doing right now a high leverage activity?” if I get distracted or go down a rabbit hole on something)

→ The theme should be a natural culmination of the output of your Annual Review, not something arbitrary or won’t have any momentum behind it

💡Remember: The basic unit for success across an entire year is a single workday. You need to design your plan (and then your system) to support what you can realistically accomplish in a day. The goal isn’t to accomplish everything as fast as possible (unless there is a direct deadline to do so), so you need a sustainable plan that helps you achieve just the right amount each day, and then keep improving the next day.


2.) Write Out Your Operating Principles

To make your theme come to life, you need to have a set of personal operating principles. This is a must for a well-designed system and these will help guide your decisions each and every day. They must fit into one of two categories:

→ Aspirational (i.e. “Be authentic”), and

→ Tactical (i.e. “I don’t consume caffeine after 12pm”)

💡Remember: Think of your operating principles like a knowledgeable friend who always gives you good advice. Sometimes they get pretty deep, and sound like a philosopher or the Dalai Lama, and other times they tell you something direct, simple, and specific.


3.) List Out the Major Projects That Deserve Your Time and Energy

Each project should also have a set of actions against them along with any applicable due dates. Structure the projects like this:

→ Name

→ Priority (Must do), Medium (Need to do), Small (Like to do)

→ Due Date

→ Actions (the necessary tasks to complete that project to your standard)

→ One-time → Set a complete date (i.e. on Friday 1/21/22)

→ Recurring → Schedule it to repeat at a specific day and time (and keep that time protected on your calendar)

💡Remember: When you do things is just as important as what we do, so be sure to align your actions with your appropriate energy states. For example, if you know your energy dips after lunch, then don’t schedule your high value activities then.


4.) Define Your Target Hourly Rate

Pretty simple…maintain or adjust your hourly rate from last year. This will help you to stay focused with managing your time as you execute your system.

💡Remember: Knowing exactly what an hour of your time is worth will help you with making decisions, yes sometimes tough ones, when you have things constantly competing for your attention.

In summary, the key to setting up your personal operating system is to not forget one critical element – making it personal! The steps here are meant to make the hard stuff easier so you begin developing better insights and a more sustainable approach that is truly meaningful to you.

That’s when the real magic begins to happen!

(👉 Access My Template for completing your annual review and creating your annual plan.)

In my next newsletter, I’ll break down how to approach executing your plan, provide all of the tools I use, and show you exactly how I measure progress on success and satisfaction within a single place every workday.


When you’re ready, here are 3 ways I can help you:

  1. Get the exact system I’ve used to go from earning $200K to over $1M a year in SaaS sales without burning out here. (1,800+ students)
  2. Join a community of Purpose-Curious™ sellers in the Make More Hustle Less Club where we develop a personal operating system together here. (300+ members)
  3. Book a 1:1 coaching session to up-level your performance here. (Limited spots available)


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