"I know I need to …, but…." is one of the most common and annoying saying heard from an entrepreneur.
That's like saying "I'm too busy to make progress in my business or life".
Being an entrepreneur is all about progress. If this doesn't appeal to you, then maybe a job is better suited for you.
Some Common Stuff You May Hear From An Entrepreneur
"I know I need to…":
- Be a better leader but look how cool I look in my fancy car.
- Measure what's happening in my business but I'm making tons of money anyway, plus I can't add.
- Spend more time with my family but they probably don't want to spend time with me anyways.
- Hold my team more accountable but I like complaining about how all my business challenges are because of those dickheads.
- Go out there and sell but I'd rather pretend like my products/services are so awesome that people will come running to me.
- Beef up my game but social media is making my business look so good right now.
- Provide a better experience for my customers but who the hell cares about them.
- Get help but hold up one sec, I can't get my head through this door.
- Be more accountable but that means that I have to clean up the 80 lbs of shit I've piled up.
- Try new things but I'm making money and my business will last forever, like the stench of my arrogance.
The Harsh Reality Of Being An Entrepreneur
Businesses are closing shop like never seen before. What took decades, now takes months. Startups can be up and running within no time and established businesses can go out of business just as fast.
There are no "buts" allowed in business anymore. You might as well line up a bunch of people and have them moon you. That should be enough "buts" for you. If it's a part of your vocabulary, get rid of it.
What To Do Instead
Instead, explore new ways of doing things using the lean startup method. Most people think things need to be ideal before they try something. This is old school mentality. It doesn't need to be perfect. If you know that you need to do something, just do it! Yes, Nike should be sponsoring this blog.
It's easier said than done, isn't it. Being an entrepreneur isn't easy and then you throw your personal challenges on top of it. It's a never ending list of things that bog you down. Add in shrinking attention spans with the way society is going these days. Is it really true that goldfish have longer attention spans than the average human? If this is true, then we should have goldfish running our businesses.
Screw multitasking! Random tip. It doesn't work unless one of the tasks is a low brainer, meaning it's a memorized task like walking. If you're trying to answer a text, write a blog, and plan out your evening at the same time, you're screwed. I know, I just did it!
Studies show that productivity doesn't increase when you multitask, it actually decreases. And there is no evidence that taking work home with you increases your level of productivity either.
So what's the point? Slow your life down a little bit so you can focus on the things that will really make a difference. Here is one of the most important things you can ever do in business and in life, be present and prioritize.
What "But" Should You Focus On
There will always be more things on your plate than you wish for as an entrepreneur. The key is to identify the ones that will make the biggest impact. Spending time with leadership at Toyota, Nissan and Honda in Japan during my quest to find the secret to operational excellence, I realized something that blew me away. Any fool can find a solution, but it's the genius that finds the solution to the right problem.
We all like to think that we are creative. In fact we spend more time being creative than anything else. But the secret is to be a good investigator and find the root cause of the issue. When you find the root cause and solve it, it's like blowing a hole in a dam. Things will start flowing, even faster than you may want them to.
These dams are the chokeholds of your business. They slow your progress or stop you completely. Most of the time, entrepreneurs aren't even looking at the right dam. They think their problem is one thing, when it's something completely different.
When the chokeholds start piling up, so do the "buts". So the best thing to do is find the biggest chokeholds in your business and remove or minimize them. You'll find that the some of the other "buts" just magically disappear as result.
We Only Live This Life Once
If you're going to do it, you might as well do it now! Never know when the day comes that our winged friends come knocking for a companion. I'm a firm believer that we are given this unique life to make the most of it, regardless of what others think or say. Who gives a crap, we're all going to end up at the same place one day anyways.
If someone told you that you have a 100-meter dash and that is it. This is the only race you are going to have as the person you are now, would you really care what others expect of you? Would you enjoy ever step knowing that you will never be able to turn back around and gets those steps back? I would!
WTF is happening to society? People are stressing over the littlest things. I've seen people freak out about forgetting their smartphone at home. Like it's their child or left kidney. I see my friends struggle with trying to get pregnant, even when nothing is physically wrong. I hear about people having sleepless nights and suffer from anxiety even though their outfit alone is worth as much as my truck.
Stress is becoming one of the worst plagues in our society. And stress can cause an entrepreneur to make excuses for the stuff that we know we need to do.
What's The Answer
I have no clue! I just know that I went through something recently that totally shifted my perspective. I normally don't share my personal health challenges on blogs but this was the first time that I really evaluated my life and future. I sat back and asked myself "Purdeep, what are all the excuses that I am finally going to get rid of". Man was it ever liberating. I am a fairly stress-free person as it is but I never knew, until this moment, how much crap I was carrying around with me.
Forget about the shit that doesn't matter and focus on the stuff that does! If you know you need to do something, just get up and try it. What's the worst that can happen? And don't be a drama queen and make the consequences bigger than they are.
Being an entrepreneur is a gift and a privilege. You set the standards for everyone else around you. The world is drowning in "buts" so time to get rid of yours!
Go rock you life!
Purdeep Sangha – Founder, Better Bigger Faster