As a business coach, I spend many hours with entrepreneurs and there are big themes that come up on a regular basis. Today I'm sharing five themes that stop business owners from truly enjoying their businesses and living the life they want to have.
1) Doing things because they can
"Just because you CAN do a thing doesn’t mean you have to do a thing."
I’ll say it again.
Just because you CAN do a thing doesn’t mean you have to do a thing.
Have you ever taken on a contract or task you really didn't want to do? Something that you were not only perfectly able to do, but that you could probably do really well, but just don’t really like doing?
Why did you take the job if you don’t really like doing it?
Because you’re building a business... and you need to make money... and you want people to be happy with you and… and… and…
Start thinking about what you WANT to do. Make a list and keep it at hand, you need to be doing more of that.
Start thinking about what you don’t actually like doing. Make a list and start saying no to those tasks. The more intentional you are about getting the work you DO WANT, that’s what you’ll start to get. You’ll be happier doing it, and probably make more money doing it because you won’t be wasting your time, procrastinating and being bitter that you’re working on a project that you hate.
2) Doing things because they should
The amount of times people tell me what they should be doing when I ask them what they could be doing to make their business more successful or to make them happier in their life or their business might really surprise you.
We get stuck in our 'shoulds' ...
We should be eating healthy
We should be out networking
We should be on Twitter
We should be trying to make 6 figures
You CAN do all of those things, but don’t do them because that’s what you SHOULD do, do it because that’s what you want to do. Don't let someone else decide how you should be living your life and running your business.
3) Doing things because that’s what "one does”
What does success look like to you? Have you really thought about it? How much money do you want to earn? Why?
I see business owners all the time who are caught up in the quest for “more.”
More is better. More is success. More money. More business. More sales. More things.
I’m not going to lie, I like more too. :) What I think is key is to decide what you actually want. What do you want your life to look like and why? What does success actually look like to you?
You can have it look like anything you want--but you need to take the time to decide what you want and not just let your next steps be dictated by what you think other people would do. I have a worksheet to help you do that and you can grab it for free here.
4) Doing things without a baseline measure
Do you suffer from shiny object syndrome? I do.
I love new ideas, projects and heading in new directions at the drop of the hat. It’s a big reason I’m an entrepreneur--so I can do that!
But not every good idea should be implemented (bummer, right?).
Not every idea makes sense for you. For your family. For what you want in the long run. For what you want your business to look like in the long run.
That life plan I mentioned in point three gives you something to hold up next to your new idea and to help you decide one of three things:
* This fits perfectly. I’m doing it!
* This doesn’t really fit with my life plan and that life plan is actually more important. I choose that plan and will let this idea go for now.
* This doesn’t really fit with the plan, but it’s a REALLY good idea, and I think it’s worth sacrificing some of the things that I thought I wanted to make this happen.
Any of those decisions are great, but if you didn’t have the plan to hold up next to the new idea, you wouldn’t have anything to measure the new idea by to make sure it’s a good fit. Trust me… this is how you end up running a store in a mall, working crazy long hours into the nights and weekends when you meant to be quitting your corporate job to be spending MORE time with your kids. I really wish I'd gone through this exercise back then.
5) Doing things without a destination
Are you doing what you thought you were going to be doing when you started your business? Have you veered left or right at some point and you're not sure how you got to be doing what you’re doing now?
If you are, trust me - you're not alone. So many business owners start a business to do a thing - “graphic design,” “sleep consulting,” “lawyer,” “coach," and don’t think through the plan. They don't know what kind of work they want to be doing, who they want to be doing it with, how they want to deliver their services, what kind of hours they want to be working, etc That’s like saying you know you want to go to the United States from Canada (or vice versa) and not knowing where in the United States you want to go. You can start heading south, but where you end up is a pretty big gamble.
If you pick a specific state or a specific city, you can pick your route - then there's a lot more certainty you'll end up in the right place.
Instead (my car analogy goes on a while here, stay with me) most of the entrepreneurs I talk to are driving down the highway with the pedal to the floor going as fast as they can. When I ask them where they’re going they yell, “I don’t know!” and when I suggest they stop and figure it out they yell “I can’t! There’s nowhere to stop!”
You need to stop the car and pick a destination and a route. It’s going to make it so much easier to know if you’re heading in the right direction if you have a destination. And if 100 miles down the road you decide you want to stop and stay right where you are, or you decide you want to go west instead, you totally can, but at least you’ll know you’re making that decision intentionally and not just letting it happen by accident.
You may have noticed a theme here - it’s all about thinking about what you want. You CAN be choosy. You CAN be specific. You CAN decide what you want your fate to be.
Not only CAN you, but making all those intentional choices has a magical effect. It has you loving what you do more. And when you love what you’re doing, you attract more of what you want.
The first step is choosing - what do YOU want?