This has been a big topic around here lately, and I’ve gotten lots of feedback about it. There are so many things we stay busy doing – that grab our attention, the things we do instead of ‘getting the job done’. Instead of engaging in the activities that will actually make you money, do you spend time reading and writing email, attending trainings, knowing that you’re going to get that one pearl of wisdom that will turn things around and help you achieve the success you really long for? Reading and listening to endless accounts of other people’s success?
The last few weeks I’ve really had to reign in my mind and my business. I’ve been in a state of overwhelm about all that I have to do/want to do and since a number of these things are new to me, the amount I need to do to get up to speed feels really overwhelming. How do you sort out what part of learning and studying and tweaking things is productive and when is it time to just get out of your own way and get the job done? Accepting that you don’t need to learn more, you just need to do more.
Training and learning, while incredibly important can lead us to fool ourselves into thinking we’re working and accomplishing something (well, we probably are, but it is the thing that we need to be accomplishing?). Are we hiding behind the training and the learning and the email and the ebooks and the newsletters and the blogs and the RSS feeds to avoid the scary task of actually putting ourselves out there and building business?
I got so off track last month that I needed to sit down with someone else for two hours and talk it all through and have her help me come up with a way to systematize my work and my work life. I’ve worked for myself for more than 20 years, and I’m not a slacker, I’m pretty driven and usually pretty focused. Right now, I’m doing several things, they bleed over into one another, but some are long-term money drivers, some are short term and I’ve been tripping all over myself not knowing how much effort to put into what, how to prioritize and it was causing me some real anxiety. I’d go to sleep with everything all settled and feeling clear and purposeful and I’d wake up feeling lost and sometimes frightened.
OK – so what to do about it all? How to figure out what’s important, what’s not – cut through the clutter and figure out what you’re really committed to and what you’re going to do about it? How do you streamline your life and work? One thing that’s helpful is accepting that some days it’s just going to scare the crap out of you. Just accepting that can be a relief. It doesn’t give you permission to stop producing, it just means it’s freakin’ scary…end of story. Stop measuring yourself by other peoples’ standards or accomplishments. Just look at you and fix you. Everyone else is scared too – the ones you admire are just better and more experienced at dealing with their fear and getting the job done in spite of it.
For most of us in business, time is our most precious resource and we squander it way too easily – admit it – you do, I do…Last week, after making a list of all projects and all the tasks I needed to get done every day or every week for each, I actually made a schedule and timed my activities. I found out how long it really takes to do certain things. I found out that in some cases, I’ve spent more time thinking about some things than they actually take to do…
I actually believe that we mostly know what we need to do, but we trick ourselves into thinking that the ‘other things’ are productive. After all, learning a new method or technique, or finding out how Terry does it will help me to do it better and be as successful as Terry is. Yes, but you’ve got to find a way to integrate the learning, training and studying into YOUR life and YOUR business to make it pay off for YOU.
It seems to me that men are sometimes better at stopping the mental noise and just getting the job done. Women seem to procrastinate because we don’t think what we do or produce will be good enough – if we just learn one more thing, get a little better, we’ll be there. But the thing that really gets you there is doing the job and getting better at it. Nothing will build your confidence like creating goals – even really small ones, and then achieving them. Nothing will erode your confidence like procrastinating and putting off doing the thing you know you need to be doing over and over again. Then time goes by and the people you admire are doing better, and you’re not and you think it’s your fault – you’re not good enough and you perpetuate the cycle.
Years ago something I heard a presenter (in yet another training) say really stuck with me. He was talking about getting a new story. So, here you are today – wherever you are with your business – whatever level of success, however long you’ve been at it. You can decide today to approach it differently and tell yourself and the world your new story. For example: I rewrote my story last week when I decided that I wasn’t going to hide behind the learning, and I was just going to get out there and get the job done, move my life and my business forward, and I was going to do it by getting focused, getting clear on what I want to accomplish, and getting rid of all the things in my day that don’t move me closer to my goals.
That translates into a story like: up until now (great phrase for letting your tricky mind know that it ain’t gonna be like that going forward) I was confused about what I needed to do to achieve my goals and really build me business. I got clear, I changed my habits (I’m doing this – it’s NOT easy – I’ll keep you posted), and I’m determined to take my business to another level in the next 90 days. That’s the story and for me what it looks like is actually DOING the things I know (now) that I must do to make this happen. It’s totally up to me, and I’m no longer willing to NOT do what it takes, because I want the results. OK – now I’ve said it publicly – so watch me!!!