Ep 257: Effortless Essentialism | How Greg McKeown Trains Top Leaders to Get More Done by Trading Chaos for Calm

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When you focus on what you have, you gain what you lack. When you focus on what you lack, you lose what you have.

– Greg McKeown

Effortless Essentialism | How Greg McKeown Trains Top Leaders to Get More Done by Trading Chaos for Calm

Greg McKeown is a best-selling author and speaker who works with businesses and individuals to help them find out what’s really important. His world-renowned book, Essentialism, has changed the way people prioritize their crazy lives.

I don’t care whether you run a growing business or you’re raising a growing family at home… if you apply Greg’s concepts from Effortless & Essentialism, they will open your mind and fundamentally change your life.

I couldn’t be happier to hear his insights & stories firsthand. It’s sort of like a behind-the-scenes look at his writing process. By the way- warning: the interview gets pretty emotional towards the end.

So please, listen in or keep reading to learn how to apply these wildly powerful ways of thinking in your life so you can do more of what makes the biggest impact and trade the chaos for calm.

P.S. – His new book, Effortless, is hitting shelves soon and will help make those essential tasks happen with the least amount of effort.

Read the Full Show Notes Below…


In this world of constant business, it’s important to sit back and think about how much more impactful we could be if we cut out all of the clutter. Greg McKeown’s book, Essentialism, has changed the lives of many, including my own.

The book has helped people discover what is essential to them and asks the questions you need to answer if you want to get clear. You don’t want to live your life just checking emails or showing houses.

Greg’s powerful insights will help you work from the inside out to live a life of impact and fulfillment. Whether you are an agent, an investor, or in another industry entirely, Greg’s dynamic lessons offer something for everyone. 

Seeing Through a New Lens

One day, Greg was sitting there, staring at a piece of paper that was filled with scribbles and notes. It was overwhelming. So he asked himself, “what would you do if you could do anything?” And while many things came to mind, law school wasn’t one of them. Now, this was very unfortunate for Greg, seeing as he had this revelation while enrolled in law school, halfway around the world. 

His revelation led him away from law school, and toward teaching and writing, two things Greg has always been passionate about pursuing. For it is in these things that Greg is able to operate at his highest point of contribution. 

When he told his parents his news about leaving law school, his father, quoting Hamlet, said “to thine own self be true.” This gave Greg the confidence he needed to move forward into new endeavors.  

As Greg puts it, if you can search out and find answers that reframe common perspectives, you can have an experience of transformation almost immediately. When you remove that set of invisible assumptions and remove the lens you have always seen yourself through, you can have a massive change in perspective and performance. 

Essentialism in Your Business

While working for start-ups in silicon valley, Greg noticed there were patterns that were often repeated that determined whether a business would succeed or fail. 

  • Phase 1 – Clarity. The business would get clear about their motivations and goals. 
  • Phase 2 – Success. The company would be successful in its endeavors. 
  • Phase 3 – Options. Their newfound success would give them many options and open many doors. 

While this all sounds great, many times this would lead to Phase 4, The Undisciplined Pursuit of More. Greg refers to this as the paradox of success. You can choose to do anything, but not everything. Instead of looking for more, be on the pursuit of less and better. 

The Mindset of Essentialism

The most important part of Essentialism is getting in the right mindset. You need to dismantle the cluttering of non-essentialism, and stop believing that you can do it all. Many believe that if they do it all, they will have it all, and both assumptions are untrue. If you try to do it all, you certainly won’t have the outcome of having it all.

Instead, you will experience burnout of body, mind, and spirit, which is the opposite of what you are after. Your relationships will become strained, and eventually, you will begin to fail at the work you spend so much time on. 

People who practice essentialism see things much differently. Instead of doing the stuff to make themselves better and improve their relationships, they do things the other way around. First, they work on themselves, then relationships, then all of the other stuff, including work and business. 

The only way to change is to root out the nonsense and change the cycle. You can choose to do anything, but not everything. There is true freedom in knowing this. Instead of trying to do everything the competition is doing, focus on one or two things you are good at, and build the system that works for you.

Remember, essentialists think most things are nonessential, while nonessentialists think everything is. 

So What’s Essential?

It’s important to create the space to think about what is essential to you. Once you determine these things, you will also understand what is nonessential. Understand that when you are doing something, you are saying no to something else.

If you find yourself doing nonessential tasks, remind yourself of the essential things you are saying no to. Whether it be calling back your leads, starting your advertising campaign, or putting in the work on your website, doing these essential tasks are what will take you to the next level.

Here at Carrot, we have a two-week cool-down period at the end of each quarter. Instead of running full force into the next quarter, we sit back to contemplate what we would like to achieve, where we struggled, and what will be our priorities moving ahead. 

Making Things Effortless 

You’ve likely seen the example of filling a jar with rocks and sand If the sand is placed first, followed by the stones, then the large rocks, not everything will fit. But if the large rocks are placed first, followed by the stones, and then the sand, everything will fit neatly. 

But what happens when you have too many large stones? 

You may not lack in motivation, but we all face times in our lives when there is simply too much on our plate. Greg’s latest book, Effortless, is a byproduct of essentialism. When you have many essential tasks, the only way to get through it all is to find an easier path. Essentialism is about discovering the right things, and Effortless is all about doing them the right way. 

Free Book Giveaway

Greg McKeown author of Essentialism - new book "effortless"

We want to give away 10 copies of Greg McKeown’s new book, “Effortless”. Head on over to Apple Podcasts and leave us a review. The first 10 who do this and send a screenshot will get a copy of Greg’s new book sent out to them. 

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Trevor Mauch

Trevor is the CEO of Carrot and knows a thing or two about inbound marketing and generating leads online in the real estate industry. As an investor himself, he's generated tens of thousands of real estate leads and is a leading expert in inbound marketing for investors and agents. In addition, his true passion is helping entrepreneurs grow businesses that truly help you live a life of purpose.

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