‘The ONE Thing’ Rewired Our Creative Director’s Brain

The ONE Thing

The ONE Thing

The Creative Director

Hello! My name is Jono Diener, and I’m happily the Creative Director for KARMA jack Digital Marketing. I love my job and the brilliant people I work with on a daily basis. It’s the first place of employment where I was implored to take weekends off and unplug at the end of the day because I naturally worked too much. My team values my brain, the importance of recharging, and longevity. One thing I was missing was structure and clear processes in my daily life outside of work. Although I was able to accomplish an incredible amount during the day, I felt a lingering anxiety due to unfinished tasks. What was the magic spell to get me 48 hours a day to get everything accomplished? How do I find time for family, friends and passion projects? Our brilliant CEO helped me immensely with a single book. And it all started with…

The Conversation

It all started with a talk. Joel Sellentine, KARMA jack CEO, came over to my house while he was in town. I mentioned the day prior that I love having intense life talks in my backyard. I get to be outside, the scenery is beautiful, and there’s no distractions from screens. Joel immediately acted on the invitation and showed up the following day. He was worried I wouldn’t be spending Saturday afternoon with my wife, but she knows I thrive on conversation. I showed Joel my house and when he saw my workout room in the basement he asked me a question. He said, “So this is where you’re starting to workout again tomorrow, right?” I laughed it off, we continued the tour, then he brought it up again during our talk. 

He knew my morning routine was shattered due to unforeseen circumstances and wanted to help me get back on track. At the end of our conversation, hearing my anxiety-ridden manic brain running on all-cylinders, he told me he’d give me a new morning routine. I wasn’t allowed to know what it was, I just had to accept or decline. I accepted.

Enter The ONE Thing by Gary Keller with Jay Papasan.

The ONE Thing Routine

I woke up to a simple routine that would hopefully reroute my brain to a better place.

  1. Wake up, don’t look at my phone, and immediately do 15 pushups.
  2. Following that, do 20 air squats.
  3. Brew coffee, but while it brews, read the book The ONE Thing until it is ready to drink.
  4. Sit with my coffee and journal about three things I’m grateful for. Follow that with a brain dump, then pick my ONE Thing. This would also be for five minutes. 
  5. Once that’s complete, I was to do a workout of my choosing. Any length, any type. Just something.

The first two exercises were in the routine to get my blood flowing and my brain working. I’m obsessed with coffee, so of course Joel worked that into my morning routine. Initially it was to read my book until the coffee was brewing, but I learned it took exactly five minutes. The reason the book was in my routine is because I’ve vented about never having time to read. I have a hard time slowing my brain down to focus on one thing… sound familiar? Joel included it in my routine so I can read five minutes today and work toward finishing a book for once. You would gasp if you saw how many half-read books are on my shelf. Journaling helped me start my day on a positive note and set my focus for the day. By writing down my ONE THING I was able to clearly see what I was working toward, rather than floating like I had been doing. Then, with my blood, my thoughts and the caffeine flowing, I would do any workout of my choosing. It’s that simple.

My ONE Thing

I was excited to get started, but oddly afraid I would fall off the wagon or do a bad job. But after a few days it was extremely easy. My favorite part of the routine was reading The ONE Thing without being distracted and in small doses. In my journaling, I was starting to find clarity and some revelations about myself. I found an umbrella of concepts that my multi-faceted brain could get behind.

To put it in perspective, I’m the Creative Director of KARMA jack. I’m a world-traveling musician. I’m a published journalist and comic writer. I co-own a coffee roasting company. And I’m currently in three bands. How do I make ALL of that make sense without being overwhelmed? Did I mention I have anxiety? A lot of it may stem from juggling too many things at once. The more I combed my brain for answers, I was able to write down my ONE Thing:

“Create a comfortable life of compassion and creativity for myself and those around me.”

Now how do I get closer to that goal? Comfort meaning a career, compassion by following a sound moral compass to get there, and creativity because I love making things. I want THAT to be my life. How do I get there?

The Steps To Success

In short, The ONE Thing is about operating with purpose, priority, and productivity. 

Creating my ONE Thing statement helps me operate with the three P’s in mind. I block off time to avoid distractions, even though life, work and family will continue to cause them. I act on a morning routine to ease into the day the right way and incrementally achieve my goals. I’ve learned to say “no” to the things that don’t help me achieve my goal and serve a cosmetic purpose. I structure my days by creating a “should do” list and not a “can do” list. And I know that in reality, there is no magic, “work-life” balance because achieving something extraordinary deserves beyond an ordinary calendar. By exercising, eating right, sleeping enough and allowing time for myself, I clear the path to achieving my goal. 

Minutes ago I just finished reading The ONE thing on Day #20 of my routine. I’ve missed two or so days, but I made sure I jumped back in. I hated the way I felt when I would roll out of bed and into work. I filled my days with “stuff” and not purpose. Now I see clearly without compromising. 

Please. I urge you to read this book. Yes, you have the time to do it. Read it five minutes every morning and you’ll absorb even more.

This isn’t about throwing the rest of your life away, but rather finally shining a light on your purpose. I’ve found mine. What’s yours?


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