Rethinking Procrastination With Who Over How

I've been critical of myself in the past for procrastinating on new ideas and projects. However, my latest read has offered a new perspective. Perhaps my procrastination comes from my focus on the "how" of execution. This idea suggests that my issue isn't a lack of discipline but an abundance of personal ambition that needs to be channeled differently.

According to Dan Sullivan and Benjamin Hardy, authors of Who Not How.  “The bigger your personal ambition, the more procrastination you’ll experience. Everyone who is ambitious procrastinates. It is part of having big goals that stretch far beyond you.”

who not how, procrastination and business decisions


Procrastination often leads us to question how to achieve our goals, a mindset that can doom ambitious projects. Sullivan and Hardy argue that the better question is "Who can help me with this?" 

By finding the right skilled and passionate individuals, you can significantly increase your chances of success. This approach boosts confidence, strengthens commitment, and enhances the potential of your ideas. To find the right "Whos," it's crucial to ask for help clearly and compellingly, using what Dan and Benjamin call an "impact filter" to define and express your vision across seven key questions. 

  • What’s our project?
  • What do we want to accomplish? What’s our purpose?
  • What’s the biggest difference our project will make in the world? Why’s it important?
  • What does our completed project look like? What’s the ideal outcome?
  • What’s the best that’ll happen if we take action?
  • What’s the worst that’ll happen if we do nothing? 
  • What has to be true when our project’s finished? What’s our criteria for success?

This clarity attracts talented individuals drawn to meaningful projects. Relationships with these individuals should be transformational, focusing on mutual benefit and trust rather than micromanagement. Entrepreneurial breakthroughs lie not in tackling every task alone but in collaborating with the right people, ensuring success through the quality of your relationships. We need to Trust our Whos to figure out the Hows.

“Every entrepreneurial breakthrough comes as an entrepreneur finds Whos rather than doing all of the Hows themselves,” say Sullivan and Hardy. “The greatest work you’ll do is with the people you serve and the people you work with. Your ability to succeed is based on the quality of the people in your life.”