I met with a woman this week who feels desperate to bring more income into her business.She is a hard worker, but the money she has in hand to show for her constant activity is not enough to cover the bills.The stress and pressure she feels right now is extreme.
Our conversation led to a pretty clear picture of someone who is smart, has her heart in her business, and truly wants to have her business succeed.As I listened to her, though, I also saw that her business is failing because she doesn’t stay focused throughout her day, making consistent choices that support her business.
Entrepreneurs are active and energetic.We have a tendency to say yes to too many activities, though, and this waters down our effectiveness, energy, and success.Here is what I noticed about this woman:
·She has no uninterrupted focus time each day, but rather she lurches from crisis to crisis throughout her day.
·This behavior exhausts her and leaves her little brain power or energy to give to work that supports future income.
·She sits on boards that she has been on for many years, left over from a volunteer position she held over 15 years ago.Much of the energy for that volunteer group is gone, and she is the only active participant.
·She makes choices that keep her rushed, tense, and lacking in time to invest in herself.
·She has no awareness at all that she continually makes choices that leave her pressed for time, and unwilling then to invest in the time it will take to pull herself out of her misery.
Sometimes we have to make tough choices to pull ourselves out of the mud we’ve gotten ourselves into.I wondered if this woman would see how her own choices are making her unsuccessful and miserable.By the end of our meeting she had decided to attend an upcoming half day workshop that would give her time to focus on what she truly wanted, and she had asked for an available appointment time.But within 24 hours of making these choices, she cancelled them both.The workshop disappeared, giving way to a volunteer opportunity at her church on the same day.The consulting time disappeared into packing for an upcoming trip, because her other activities had pushed her to having to pack only a few hours before she actually had to catch her plane.
The truth is, this woman’s business will not succeed unless she consistently and persistently says no to most activities that take her focus and time onto something else.She’s in a crisis.While volunteering at her church is admirable, it isn’t admirable to lose focus on what amounts to saving her business.She cannot see that she has a choice, and that lack of vision is what will kill her business in the end.She feels she “has” to volunteer because she always has.
Her two-step process for saving herself before she spends time saving someone else is to admit that she has choices and start to exercise them in support of the business she is desperate to have.I don’t know if this woman will see her path.As with most entrepreneurs, she is strong-willed and thinks that because she wants to do something it is the right thing to do.
Even entrepreneurs have to work at being humble.We can only do so much and be effective and successful.Knowing when to make the choice to say no, and committing to doing what our businesses need at this moment in time to survive are behaviors we can’t go without.These are two critical skills to make your business thrive.
© Sue Painter