You’re busy. You probably work a longer day than anyone else you know.
You probably start early and finish late. And every minute is packed: you hit the ground running and don’t stop until bedtime.
So why don’t you feel like you’re getting anywhere?
For most of us, it’s because we’re avoiding the work that will actually grow our business. We’re really good at distracting ourselves, lying to ourselves about what matters most, or falling into the trap of urgency. We’ve become skilled at procrastination. We confuse the pursuit of knowledge with the pursuit of progress. Today, I’m going to tell you how to get over it and actually grow your business.
First, know your enemy: This is what Avoidance looks like.
- Collecting more info before you act. “I need to find one more podcast on firing a bad staff person before I actually do it.”
- Gathering more opinions instead of acting. “I was struggling with paying my staff, so I kept asking opinions on the 4/9 model until I found a guy who said ‘it won’t work in the UK’–that let me off the hook!” We seek confirmation that things won’t work so we don’t have to do them.
- “Checking” stuff – we start our day playing defense. We think we have to respond to emails and social media before we do anything else. Once we get on that ‘urgency’ bus though, we say goodbye to the important stuff. Social Media is literally built to derail your brain and stop you from doing the stuff you had planned to do.
- Doing low-value work – we know we need more clients, but instead we do the “easy-hard” stuff: switching payment processors, building our own CRM, changing our logo, designing tshirts, customizing supplements. We know there are pros out there who do this for almost nothing. But doing it ourselves lets us say “I’m busy!”
- Gathering ideas you don’t need. How many podcasts do you listen to in day? What’s the last one on which you took action? The entrepreneurs who read 50 books in a year don’t impress me anymore.
- Procrastination: “I need to be in a better headspace to do this…” or “I need to wait for the banks to open” or “This isn’t the best time to take my neighbor a coffee.” Yes it is. At least it’s better now than never.
- Looking for the ‘next thing’ instead of repeating the thing that worked before. We all need to be reminded sometimes, but if something’s working, don’t stop doing it.
- Having a “morning routine”. Somehow, we’ve been led down this road to believe you need a 6-step routine around meditation, cold plunges, deep breathing, reading…but really successful people don’t have a complicated morning routine. Here’s mine:
– get up
– walk down the hall and press the ‘on’ button on the Keurig
– walk downstairs and pee
– wash my hands
– walk up the stairs and get the coffee
– walk back downstairs and open my laptop
– open a clean blog page and start typing.
I do this at 5:30 because my dog wants to go out at 6:30.
What’s interesting from this list is that none of these things are BAD. We just employ them at the wrong time, or give them priority over doing the stuff that actually grows our business.
Here’s how I fell into the trap: I started listening to podcasts in the morning. I can’t write a blog post while I’m listening to podcasts, so I’d fire up my kid’s Xbox and play NHL for 40 minutes while I listened to Naval or Alex or Sharran or whoever. I’d tell myself I was learning and I’d do a blog post later.
This lasted almost a year. At the end of the day, I was exhausted from meetings and doing stuff on demand. I was creating content because that’s a big part of my job, but I was stressed, anxious and kinda angry all the time. My businesses were growing because they had good momentum, but the growth was slowing and I didn’t know what would drive them forward.
Worst of all, this was a very addictive rut. It was very easy to tell myself that the 40 minutes of ‘education’ was the most important part of my day: morning peace, coffee, uninterrupted lessons…sounds great, right?
BUT it stopped my business from growing.
I can’t tell you the topic of one single podcast I listened to during that time, let alone how any grew my business.
Here’s how to solve the problem.
1 – Every day, do 1 thing to grow your biz before you do anything else. Maybe you can do this later in the day, but for me – when I open my email, that’s it. My opportunity to grow my business is lost to distraction.
2 – Get up earlier, keep your notifications turned off, and get to work. I like to write to clear my head and organize my thoughts, but these are side effects. Writing grows my business. If you’re not sure what will grow your business, ask your mentor. Work on ONLY that.
3 – At the end of the day, ask yourself, “Did I do one thing to grow my business today?” The size of the action doesn’t matter – the momentum does. If you can look back and say “Yeah, I did a blog post” or “Yeah, I emailed my list” – those might seem small, but they keep up your momentum. That’s a successful day. Don’t dwell on it more than that.
The biggest obstacle to a business’ growth is often between the ears of its founder. This makes the obstacle very hard to overcome, because we don’t see it. Working with a mentor helps–but so does knowing the problem, acknowledging it, and taking action to fix it.