We’re busier than ever. Yet what keeps us so busy is rarely the same as what contributes to our success. Mostly, it distracts from it.

We need to simplify — to cut away the unnecessary so we can hone in on the strategies and actions that create happier, healthier, smarter success.

In this two-part interview, New York Timesbestselling author and personal development expert Chalene Johnson gives us her top strategies for simplifying life and business — what she calls “smart success.”

Shortcuts Require Trust

Q. Do you really believe in shortcuts? In other words, can success come without putting in the allegedly necessary 40,000 hours?

Yes, it absolutely can.

The greatest shortcut of all is outsourcing and delegating — learning from other experts who have already been there, done that, and have had success.

This kind of shortcut requires an investment in and a belief that someone else can help you. But the thing is, most people don’t have the courage to let others help them.

You must trust enough to let others help you.

Without this trust, there are no shortcuts. It is just you and a 90-hour work week. And you may eventually get there, but many things will be sacrificed along the way.

Now, you may get burned a couple of times. The important thing is to trust in the process.

If you are dating, for instance, your heart may be broken, but that is just part of the reward of finding true love. Just because you went on one bad date does not mean you should live your life by yourself. Trust your personal radar. It will get better and better.

Same with hiring. Know you are going to be burned. You are going to make some wrong decisions. You are going to have to teach people how to do it a couple of times.

Then you are going to find this amazing person for whatever it is you are outsourcing and wonder how you ever did without.

Get ‘Em Tagging!

Q: You have a strong online community. What’s your top advice for building an online platform?

First, at every turn I encourage people to invite their friends. I almost guilt-trip them into it!

With Smart Success I would say, “You know someone who needs this information, and it is just not fair that you are not sharing it with them. So tag them. Tell them about it.”

Plus — and this builds on my earlier advice on habits — I remind people that these other people need this and you need them. Having others on board keeps you accountable. You are more likely to complete something when doing it with a partner. Plus, you are giving them a gift.

And see, you are telling your friend as opposed to me telling your friend, and that is far more powerful. Plus, your friend is already my target market because you are.

Be Real and Give

Q: So you have friends inviting friends. What do you share with them?

You have to be real and think. Give, give, give!

It’s all about reciprocity.

You have to give a lot of great content. And most importantly, you have to be transparent. You have to be vulnerable. You have to be real.

That is what helps people trust you.

There are so many people out there worrying about everything looking professional and perfect that they forget that what we really connect with is “real” people.

Be Vulnerable: Share Your Story

Q. What do you mean by “be real”?

People often discredit their own story: “Really, people would want to know this?”

People think that they need some earth-shattering content to build their list, and you do not.

If you’ve figured out anything, there’s somebody else who’s trying to figure that out.

It’s what you know so well that you do not even think it is noteworthy — that is what people need.

If you want to build your list, spend less time on perfecting the copy or the photos in the website and spend more time thinking about who you are, what you have been through and your challenges.

It’s your challenges and the problems that you solved through those challenges that attract people to you.

It is hard sometimes to tell people the things that you are ashamed of and the things that cause you pain. But if you’ve conquered them and learned something, the only shame is not sharing that lesson.

You have to be vulnerable, and you have to be comfortable with your own story. Use your challenges to help others.

Outsource! Outsource! Outsource!

Q. What is the biggest mistake new entrepreneurs make?

They think they cannot afford to outsource until they are profitable.

You can’t afford not to. You are paying a lot more by doing it all yourself.

I have worked with thousands of entrepreneurs, and this single mental shift creates more income than any other.

Hire the expert instead of trying to figure everything out on your own. This allows you to be doing what you should be doing — to focus on what you are uniquely called to do.

And this all comes back to trust. Trust others and trust the process of hiring.

Reverse-Engineer Before You Fall in Love

Q. What is the first step in starting a new business?

Reverse-engineer the process.

You need to know what life looks like if you’re in that business. What does your day-to-day look like? Who are you working with? Where are you going? What are you doing?

It’s not enough to just follow your dream. You need to listen to people and understand exactly what it will take before pursuing the goal.

I know people who love going to the gym, for example, and decide they want to open one. If they knew about all the unglamorous sides of owning a gym, they might reconsider and choose a different side of the fitness business. Instead, they waste loads of time and money because they lack focus.

So before you get all gung-ho and decide no one is going to dissuade you: do the research.