In this post I’m going to walk through a Powerful Problem-Solving System I have used to…
- Manage a chronic illness
- Build a million-dollar business
- Fulfill a life-long dream to film a movie
- Lose weight
- Network with the biggest names in my industry
- Pay down $1.7 million in debt
- Navigate multimillion dollar product launches
- Strengthen personal relationships
- Break bad habits
- Even meet celebrities!
With this system, I’ve been able to walk right up to ANY type of problem — no matter how tricky, scary or complicated — look it straight in the eye and take complete control.
I call this “The Peg Method.”
It doesn’t matter what part of someone’s life the problem affects.
Even for people who have failed many times before, “pegging” can finally help them to achieve that elusive success—whether it’s in finances, relationships, health or business.
The Peg Method connects 3 things — goals, problems, and assets — and puts them all together to get success. That’s what the diagram above is about. Don’t worry if it doesn’t make sense right now. This post will explain how to use it in detail.
The best part about The Peg Method is it’s fast. Even if someone has been struggling with a problem for years, they can follow the steps and map out the solution and their entire action plan in as little as 55 minutes.
Imagine finally taking control of a lifelong problem in under an hour. With The Peg Method, it’s possible! The weird thing about The Peg Method is that I think I was born with it. Looking back, it was always just “there” in the background. I’m pretty certain that I was using The Peg Method when I was just a little kid, without even realizing it.
In some form or other, The Peg Method has always operated for me subconsciously, helping me make all kinds of decisions and get to my goals.
But guess what? For all its power, I never consciously formulated The Peg Method until recently.
It all came together when a friend who had a big business challenge came to visit. It really proved the truth of one of my favorite sayings: never underestimate the massive power of helping someone.
In the process of helping out a friend, The Peg Method literally unveiled itself. What I was doing subconsciously suddenly emerged as a complete, elegant system. I was then able to reverse-engineer this life-changing technique. It’s not only a cool story, it explains pretty well what The Peg Method is. So I’ll tell it right now…
How I Discovered The “Power of Peg”…
My friend Ben and I sat down together in the conference room. I said, “Just talk. Tell me what’s going on. I’m not going to say anything, I just want to listen. What are your issues? What are your problems? Tell me everything you’re facing in your business. What are your goals?”
Ben talked for almost an hour. He didn’t have just 1 problem or issue—he had at least a dozen. My brain was whispering in my ear, “Whoa, there’s way too much going on here!”
Even I was getting lost, and I’m accustomed to dealing with some pretty complex business matters. Ben was literally drowning in ideas, obstacles, proposals, challenges, plus financial targets that were all over the place!
My brain started tugging at me again, “Dude, we’ve got to SORT and SIMPLIFY. Ben desperately needs some CLARITY.”
I think best when I can draw and diagram things out.
So I walked up to the white board and created 3 columns: GOALS, PROBLEMS, ASSETS.
It just came out that way, without conscious thought.
Then I asked Ben, “Hey, can we start to break some things down? Sort things out? Why don’t we start here. Tell me what your goals are.”
We made a list of 6 goals.
Next I said, “Now we’ll list what your problems are.”
We made a BIG list of those.
Finally I said, “Tell me what your assets are.”
Ben looked puzzled. “What do you mean by assets?”
“Assets are EVERYTHING you’ve got on hand that can help you. Assets can be people, products, information, money. In business assets can be data, stuff you own, a line of credit and your team. Assets can even be personal traits like persistence, creativity or the ability to sing like the three tenors!”
So we made a list of assets.
Then I said, “Okay, let’s just be quiet for a couple minutes, I got to look at this.”
I stepped back and just stared at it.
Ever see that movie “A Beautiful Mind”? Remember how John Nash is just staring at a bunch of random words and suddenly sees it all decoded into a perfectly clear system? That’s how I suddenly felt!
I said, “You know what? If you use this asset to make $50,000, then it automatically resolves this problem over here.”
Then I drew a staircase.
I took each goal and put it on its own stair. Then I started putting assets and problems on each step.
In a few minutes we had his entire 2010 business plan mapped out!
When we were all done, Ben turned to me and said, “So, what do you think about a workshop? Should I do a workshop in October?”
I replied, “Hmm. Good question. Where do you see a workshop on this list?”
“Nowhere,” Ben replied.
“Haha! Then why are we talking about it? Does it fit anywhere?”
“No,” said Ben.
“So let’s not worry about it. Anyway, we’re talking about October. You’ve got 3 steps you have to complete before you hit October, so set the workshop idea aside for now. Focus on just the next step: launch this product here to make $50,000. That’s it. You don’t need to make $100,000, and you don’t want to make only $25,000 either. Don’t overshoot or undershoot. Just do the $50,000.”
So the upshot? Ben just followed the plan and made $400,000 in 2010!
How To Use The Peg Method
Instant clarity with a simple staircase!
The Peg Method is the easiest way I’ve found to map what someone should do in their personal and professional life.
Just like in Ben’s example, when someone “Pegs” they make 3 lists:
- Goals: Targets all of the things to make happen.
- Problems: Anything getting in the way of making things happen.
- Assets: Everything that could be of help.
These 3 lists are the core of The Peg Method.
With these lists someone sees what they want, what’s stopping them and what they have right now.
I could come up with dozens of examples of how to use The Peg Method, from highly complex to drop dead simple.
For a sample of the Peg Method, though, I’m going to walk through 2 examples.
The first is a goal that may seem like a far out thing for most people: doubling their income in one year.
Whoa, doubling income? That’s quite a leap for many people (unless they were unemployed the previous year!).
The second example is a goal that may seem EVEN MORE far out: making $1 million.
Sound a little ambitious? I understand.
But with the help of The Peg Method, it’s clear that both of these goals are DOABLE.
Let’s start with the first one: doubling income.
Step 1: List Goals, Problems & Assets
Steve is a middle manager making $50,000/year. That’s a decent middle class wage, but Steve wants more. He’s got a kid on the way and wants to start making 6 figures as quickly as possible.
Can Steve do this in less than a year?
Let’s see how he could do it following The Peg Method…
The first thing Steve needs to do is take out a piece of paper and start writing things down. He should make 3 columns — GOALS, ASSETS, PROBLEMS.
THE GOAL: Earn $100,000 in the next year.
In this case, we are going with a big, top-level goal up front. This is definitely an ambitious goal that is not going to just fall into his lap.
He’s going to need to create a solid plan to get it!
With the goal in mind, Steve should list out the biggest problems and assets associated with this goal. For the sake of keeping this post short, I’ll simplify them a bit, but the idea is the same.
PROBLEMS standing in the way:
- Dead end job. Steve does not have any realistic opportunity to get promoted at the company where he works.
- Motivation. While Steve wants to double his income, sometimes he doesn’t feel like doing the work required to get it. (See how The Peg Method forces someone to be HONEST with themselves?)
- Steve is a shy guy. He is not the kind of person who will walk into a room full of strangers and bounce around as a social butterfly. This makes networking difficult.
Now for his ASSETS. What are the things working for Steve?
ASSETS that can help:
- Logan, a friend who owns his own business. He has connections with local businesses.
- Overtime. Steve only works a 40 hour week, and there are opportunities to work overtime, which is 1.5x pay.
- Steve has expertise with social media marketing. He knows how to apply it to all kinds of situations, both personal and business.
Here’s a picture that illustrates Steve’s lists, with the big goal at the top.
Step 2: Draw The Staircase
Right now we have one big goal: make $100,000 this year.
When someone looks at that goal, it’s pretty overwhelming. How can Steve tackle something that big?
Simple: by breaking it up.
Even the biggest, most far-out goals become 10x more manageable when broken down into a bunch of mini-goals.
Remember the old joke about “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time!”?
It’s the same with goals—especially big ones like doubling an income.
At first glance, it’s NOT clear how Steve can make the jump from $50,000 to $100,000. That’s just too much to bite off and swallow.
On the other hand, when Steve is looking at jumping from $50,000 to, say, $70,000, all kinds of possibilities emerge. Breaking up goals lifts the fog and makes opportunities appear.
“Taking small bites” also increases people’s drive. It provides some “small wins” along the way.
I’m the type of person who LOVES crossing things off my to-do list. If it takes me months to cross something off, I become demotivated.
That’s a problem a bunch of people have with reaching big money goals. They make a little headway — a few thousand dollars or so — and then stall. It takes too long to get the satisfaction of achieving the big goal, so they give up.
But what happens when someone breaks down their goal and makes every few thousand dollars its own win?
They get the satisfaction of lots of small victories. Lack of motivation is no longer a problem, and it’s easier to keep going!
What Steve needs to do is draw a staircase on his Peg Diagram.
Here’s how it works:
- Each step of the staircase is ONE of his goals.
- Each step will use ONE of his assets which will resolve ONE of his problems.
For Steve, he’ll have a staircase with steps that are worth $20,000, $10,000 and $20,000. (Steve should actually break it down even further, but this will give us a simple example to work with.)
Here’s how it looks on the diagram:
STEP 3: Put A Problem & An Asset On Each Step
Now what happens? How does Steve pull everything together into a plan?
Simple: he associates a problem and an asset with each step.
Doing this is a LOT easier than most people think! The problem-solving goes very fast at this point.
The first problem Steve should tackle is motivation. Motivation kicks in automatically for most people once they see results… but until results happen, motivation is usually zero!
Steve needs to use an asset that will get him quick results. The lowest hanging fruit available to him is working some overtime.
If he works an average of 10 hours of overtime each week, that will earn him an extra $18,000 over the course of the year.
It makes sense for him to deploy this asset first because he will see an immediate increase in each paycheck. Within a month, the amount in his bank account will be higher. That will motivate him to keep going!
Steve brings down his mini-GOAL ($20,000), his PROBLEM (Motivation) and matches it with an ASSET (Overtime).
Now here’s something important about this step: Steve should not worry about (or even THINK about) $100,000! The BIG goal should be OUT of his mind.
All he should focus on is that first step.
It’s easy to see that simply matching a problem + an asset with a goal can really open up someone’s mind.
It takes away the clutter. It eases the pressure. It allows us to relax. The stress goes away. We’re focused on chunks. We’re eating the elephant, but it no longer looks overwhelming, intimidating or discouraging.
This exercise can also eliminate a lot of negative self-talk.
We all have that little nagging voice in our head that whispers, “Ugh, this is such a BIG goal… it’s so HARD… I’ll NEVER do it.” With The Peg Method, we forget about what we CAN’T do. Instead, we’re focused on a small goal which we CAN do.
Here’s a little diagram that shows what’s really happening. We’re just taking a list of Goals, Problems & Assets and arranging them on the staircase.
Every step on the staircase is an attainable goal.
STEP 4 – Repeat For Each Step On The Staircase
Watch this Success Weekly clip where Anik takes a deep dive into mini-goals and how to apply The Peg Method.
Now back to Steve’s goal. He’s going for the second step on the staircase: $10,000.
- He brings down another goal: $10,000.
- He brings down a problem: no promotion opportunities.
- He brings down an asset: his social media skills.
Why does Steve need to deploy this part of the plan and not just be content with working overtime?
Because there’s not much more Steve can do with the “overtime asset”. There’s only so many hours of overtime he can work, and there’s no room for promotion. So he MUST get some side income going.
Luckily Steve understands social media tools like Facebook and Twitter. He can help companies use these tools to market their products and services.
Should Steve go out and try to get a job as a social media manager? Maybe. But only large companies hire somebody full-time to manage their social media. Most businesses contract it out to agencies or individuals. But this actually gives Steve an incredible opportunity: he can approach local businesses and offer to manage their social media for them.
In today’s market, he should be able to get at least $500/month per client.
Just getting 2 clients would vault him over the $10,000 mark for the year.
This is also a relatively easy strategy for Steve. Because he knows what he’s doing, 2 clients would require only an hour or so each day. And all he needs is a computer and internet connection. But here’s what’s really important: social media management could grow into full-time work. It could replace Steve’s current job.
How? His per hour rate is much, much higher with the social media stuff. Once again, Steve is matching an asset against a problem, and using that to achieve a mini-goal.
PROBLEM (dead end job) + ASSET (social media skills) = $10,000 down!
Now, has Steve stopped his other work? Heck no!
By now Steve’s riding the momentum he created with taking more overtime. He’s already got money coming in from that.
So at this point, he’s simply ADDING something to the mix.
He’s utilizing a new asset to solve an old problem AND achieve a mini-goal at the same time. Nice, huh?
Finally let’s do one more step on Steve’s staircase.
- He brings down another goal: $20,000.
- He brings down a problem: his introversion.
- He brings down an asset: his friend Logan.
It’s obvious that the best way for Steve to double his income is to grow his social media consulting and wean himself off his current job.
All Steve has to do is get more clients… but that means approaching businesses and selling his services. That’s not something Steve is naturally good at. Frankly, cold calling a lot of different businesses is NOT something Steve wants to do!
Luckily, Steve has a friend who has connections: Logan.
Logan can ask around his network. He can find out who needs social media services. He can link those people up with Steve. No cold calling required!
Steve simply needs to follow through on the opportunities and do great work for his clients. The Peg Method shows how this is totally doable.
We overcome what looks like a huge problem with an asset that makes it melt away. By adding just 4 clients, he’ll earn the extra $20,000 he needs to top $100,000 in annual income.
Even cooler, Steve could set himself up to be self-employed doing something he’s passionate about. And all because he recognizes that Logan — an asset — can help him overcome one of his biggest obstacles.
See how The Peg Method gets us to think creatively about the assets we already have?
It even gives us ideas for more assets we need to acquire. Imagine what could happen for Steve if he had 2, 3, or 4 well-connected friends like Logan!
I could keep going, but I think at this point everyone can see how to use The Peg Method.
Simply write down…
- Everything we’re trying to accomplish (Goals)
- Everything we have that can help (Assets)
- Everything standing in our way (Problems)
- Then just sort it all out on the staircase!
Now let’s go to the next level and see if The Peg Method can help achieve an even more ambitious goal…
Let’s dive into the second example: making $1 million.
Lauren owns a moderately successful Internet Marketing business that makes her around $100,000/year. That’s a decent chunk of change, but Lauren wants more. In fact, she wants to become a millionaire — and fast.
What’s step #1? Creating those 3 columns.
THE GOAL: Earn $1 million during the next year.
With the goal in mind, Lauren should list out the biggest problems and assets associated with it, like the previous example. To keep this post short, I’ll simplify them a bit.
PROBLEMS standing in the way:
- Small list. In the Internet Marketing world, it’s difficult to have huge product launches without a large email list. Unfortunately, Lauren’s email list is very small.
- No time! Her schedule every day is already maxed out. She doesn’t have more than an hour or two to work on a new project.
- Motivation. While Lauren wants to earn a million dollars, sometimes she doesn’t feel like doing the work required to get it.
Now for her ASSETS. What are the things working for Lauren?
ASSETS that can help:
- Her friend Jamie, who owns a multi-million dollar Internet Marketing business. She is constantly launching new products and could be open to collaborating on some with Lauren.
- A shelved product that was never launched. Lauren created this product a while back, but she got tied up with other stuff before she could launch it. While it needs a little bit of work, it is almost ready to go.
- Lauren LOVES meeting new people. She can walk into any room and instantly make connections.
Here’s a picture that shows her lists, with the big goal at the top.
Let’s Peg It!
Alright, we’ve got that imposing $1 million goal. The first thing Lauren needs to do is break it up.
- Each step of the staircase is ONE of her goals.
- Each step will use ONE of her assets, which will resolve ONE of her problems.
For Lauren, each stair will represent $250,000. Again, she should actually break it down even further, into more granular goals. But I’ll do the 30,000 foot overview to simplify the example.
Here’s how it looks on the diagram:
Now it’s time to start pairing up problems with assets.
The first problem Lauren should tackle is motivation. It’s important to get the ball rolling since it’s easier to KEEP moving than it is to START moving.
So Lauren needs to use an asset that will get her quick results. That means launching a product. The good news is that she’s got one ready to go sitting on the shelf. So it makes sense for her to deploy this asset first.
Within a month, she’ll see money flowing into her bank account. That should motivate her to keep going and make even more!
Lauren brings down her mini-GOAL ($250,000), her PROBLEM (motivation) and matches it with an ASSET (shelved product).
Remember: Lauren should not worry about (or even THINK about) $1 million! The BIG goal should be out of her mind.
All she needs to focus on is that FIRST STEP.
Now back to Lauren’s goal. She’s going for the second $250,000 step.
- She brings down another goal: $250,000.
- She brings down a problem: her lack of time.
- She brings down an asset: her friend Jamie! The 2 of them will collaborate on creating and launching a new product.
Jamie is a terrific asset to help Lauren overcome her time issues. Yes, they can split the work. But more importantly, Jamie brings her own assets to help.
Working together, they can create and launch a product TOGETHER that will help both of them do MORE!
Once again, Lauren is matching an asset against a problem to achieve a mini-goal.
PROBLEM (lack of time) + ASSET (partnership with Jamie) = $250,000 down!
Finally let’s do one more step on Lauren’s staircase.
Lauren’s small mailing list is a significant liability. By increasing the size of her mailing list, Lauren can reach out to more potential customers. This means any time she launches a new product, she can sell to a bigger audience. That means more money with each product launch.
- She brings down another goal: $250,000.
- She brings down a problem: her small list.
- She brings down an asset: her networking skills.
Lauren will already be growing her list by following through on the first 2 steps. But if she really wants to start making the big bucks, she’ll need to do more.
This is where networking comes in. Effective networking can connect Lauren with other entrepreneurs with big lists of their own. If she nurtures these relationships and offers their lists good deals, that opens up opportunities for bigger product launches. That means a LOT more momentum!
Lauren has an important networking asset: she is an outgoing woman. She can walk into a room full of strangers and start connecting with them.
Lauren simply needs to find more networking opportunities. She already possesses a natural asset — her personality — that can connect her to people who will grow her business. Heck, all Lauren has to do is USE a trait she already possesses and make some profitable connections!
Just like that, The Peg Method takes an incredibly ambitious financial goal — earning $1 million — and breaks it down to make it more attainable. It all starts with making mini-goals.
See, most people tackle their wealth goals the wrong way. They trap themselves in longing and dreaming. They focus on the whole $200,000, $500,000 or $1 million.
But how do we make $50,000? Or even $100,000? And actually keep the money we make?
And what’s standing in our way — what’s preventing us from making that money? Do we even know what led to our current financial position in the first place?
Many people spend a bunch of money on different “make money” programs and get absolutely nowhere with them. But it’s not because they have the wrong information.
It’s because they have absolutely no idea what their REAL obstacles are. And they don’t know how to find the assets they need, let alone deploy them in an effective way.
Our problems — and our assets — are all unique.
So we need a set of steps, an abundance mindset and way to put all that good stuff into a plan that feels right for who we are as individuals.
Without that, it’s easy to keep poisoning our minds with big, fuzzy, vague wishes that never actually get anywhere.
So ask these questions…
- Do I know what my real problems are?
- What do I have for assets?
- What do I have to work with?
- What am I good at?
- What stands in my way?
To make money, we can’t just do what someone else tells us to do! What THEY specifically did to make money might not work for us. We’re all different people. We all have different assets and different strengths. Our techniques might not work for others.
If we try to be exactly like someone else, we could just be fighting our own inner guidance.
But The Peg Method helps us to stop fighting ourselves. It shows us what we want, what we have and the EXACT STEPS we need to get what we want without fighting ourselves and without beating ourselves up because we can’t do everything right NOW.
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