To get what you want in business, first you clarify what you want and set meaningful goals, and then you’ve turned those goals into an action plan, the next step is creating your system and being accountable for following it.
That’s what we’re diving into now. This is where the rubber hits the road as you come face-to-face with your stories, discover your many and varied flavours of procrastination, and challenge yourself to do difficult things.
For getting what you want isn’t easy, make no mistake.
Those people you admire, who do bold things? Rest assured they’ve endured sleepless nights, asked themselves “how dare I?!” and met with financial flops, crippling criticism, or the demons of self-doubt.
All these things can be overcome, but it takes faith and commitment to the path – the path that Momentum program members set for themselves every quarter in our quarterly action plans.
When doing something new – such as prioriting your business development tasks ahead of paid client work – you’re going to provoke your ego.
Your ego wants to keep you comfortable and will spin some very sophisticated stories to stay there. It’s easy to say, “make time to work on your business”. But this will feel like a radical act.
In the cold light of Monday, you’ll be thinking it’s nuts to ignore that client email to instead focus on the tasks that you’ve chunked down that will take you closer towards your big goals. You’ll want to revert to your old ways. And your ego, crafty bugger that it is, will want you to keep on keeping on with ‘the way we’ve always done things’. Paid client work gives you an immediate hormonal gratification of doing a task and pleasing someone. And you’re paid! This is what business is all about, surely?
It is helpful, ‘can do’ type people who tend to start businesses and it pleases us – and profits us – to help our clients out. But as the years pile up and still, the big thing that you swore black-and-blue that you were absolutely, definitely going to do, doesn’t get done. And so your stories start to reinforce themselves and you dig yourself deeper into your comfort zone.
“I don’t know how” is a frequent lament of the ambitious. Fear not! Thanks to this nifty invention called Google, and the many helping hands within Facebook groups, you can learn.
But careful! Don’t get bogged down canvassing endless opinions like it’s your full-time role. “Research” is not a task – the outcome of your research is.
Don’t go confusing procrasti-research for the real deal: researching just enough, and then making a decision based on what you’ve learnt.
Learning how to distinguish between small and big decisions is essential in business, and most decisions are far smaller than you may think. Come up with a clearly defined research topic (eg: “Calendly versus Acuity Scheduling”), set a timer, and stop treating every little thing like a PhD. Make a decision. Move on.
Being resourceful includes understanding – and taking action on – creating your optimum conditions with which to do your best work.
That might mean early mornings or late starts. It might mean coworking, or perfect quiet. It could be renovating your workspace to make it more comfortable. It may mean teaching your kids to cook and passing over the responsibility for evening meals to them. It could mean working Sunday afternoons and taking Mondays off. Creating your optimum conditions for your work greatly increases the likelihood that you’ll do your best work.
Momentum program members need to be coachable. Even the simple act of sharing and declaring one’s top three tasks in our group can provoke all kinds of weird reactions.
- “Maybe my task isn’t mature enough?”
- “Maybe my ambitions aren’t big enough?”
- “I don’t want anyone knowing my business.”
Being open-minded enough to share your progress with others is crucial. The world is not watching that closely – it’s you that’s going to self-correct when you see yourself postponing the same task week-on-week.
Being coachable means taking a mature equal-to-equal relationship with your coach and peer group. You’re neither feeling superior over others, nor putting yourself in a submissive position, but meeting eye-to-eye, respectful of the diversity of our experiences, opinions and skillsets. Being coachable means being proactive in your own development – knowing your strengths and weaknesses, following your curiousity, and being willing to experiment on the daily.
Being accountable means being truthful. It means valuing your work and staying true to your word. The more accountable you are, the more your self-esteem flourishes, as you demonstrate to yourself the value you place in your desires as well as your labour. Being accountable is not about looking for opportunities for self-flagellation.
It’s about integrity – doing what you say you’re going to do, not because you’ll risk embarrassment, humiliation or shame, but because you have external witnesses and, as social animals, we don’t want to let the team down.
Taking pleasure in celebrating
We are at a flexion point in history, stuck between the industrial revolution and the information age.
We are still, to a large extent, operating under the drivers of the last 500 years of history:
- You earn rest after hard labour
- Work is dirge
- You earn more by working harder
If we want to change the dominant narrative, shift our culture and subcultures, and earn more in our businesses, we need to embody a new way of work.
We need to treat time differently and stop shoehorning every tasks into every minute of every hour. We need to unhook our hours from our dollars and create assets to leverage. We need to recognise that getting paid to do what you love isn’t cheating – it’s winning.
And, perhaps most importantly, we need to demonstrate that rest isn’t radical and not something that’s earned after putting in “a hard day” – it is a human right. The better we take care of ourselves, the better we can play to our strengths.
Covid-19 has changed everything. We need to keep going, keep pushing back, dismantle our identities and the work structures which are rotten and broken, and rebuild ourselves and our work lives from the inside out. That’s something to celebrate, yes?