Entrepreneurs typically get into business because they see a different way of doing things and a different way of being. They are often fuelled by a passion that must have an outlet, or a desire to be in charge of their own destiny. Despite the dream, entrepreneurship and business ownership are not for the faint-hearted.
After the initial excitement, the reality sets in and many entrepreneurs find themselves wondering where the fun has gone. What happened to the ideal lifestyle; working from a stylish coffee shop, time with the family and challenging stimulating client projects? Suddenly ‘having-it-all’ seems impossible.
Happily, there is a way to create the dream lifestyle & business you had in mind. It will require you to take a step back, reassess and then plan to move forward. Using the 7 steps below, within a few weeks you should see yourself living and working, just the way you desire.
1. Get Clear About What You (Really) Want
The first step to creating anything is deciding what you want to create.
The reality is that until you are clear about what you want, it will never happen. And by clear I mean really clear, defining what you want in a very precise manner.
How do I find out what I (really) want?
Firstly; ask yourself these questions and write down all the answers that come up;
- What one thing do I value most?
- If I were free to choose any way of spending my time what would I do?
- If I were granted three wishes, what would I wish for?
Don’t second-guess yourself, simply write down everything that comes to mind, play with your imagination. Then take the top three and become very precise about what it is that you want, describing them in detail.
At the end of this step, you should have a very detailed list of at least three things that are deeply important to you, that you are willing to commit to creating for yourself.
Expert Tip: When you write these things down, write them in the present tense using ‘I Am’ statements. The subconscious mind cannot distinguish between the vision you create and the reality that is here today. If the statements are written in the current present tense the mind looks for confirmation of the statement and focusses on all that resonates with it thus creating a feedback system that generates the creative momentum required for you to achieve your desires.
2. Commit To A Time Frame
In the absence of a commitment to a time frame, nothing gets done.
Whilst setting a clear time frame won’t automatically guarantee success, failing to set the time frame will guarantee a lack of success. For each item on your list put a date by when you commit to having these things in place.
A good rule of thumb is to have some long-term e.g. 5 years, medium-term e.g. 1 year and then others in three month or 90 day spaces. Once you have the 90 day commitments written down they can be broken down into smaller strategic milestones that must be achieved in order to ensure your success at 90 days. Using this process will remove the overwhelming nature of the big commitments and put you in a position to experience and celebrate (more about that later) a series of small victories on your way to the big prize.
Expert Tip: Use a visual medium such as a timeline and write each committed milestone on the timeline using present tense language e.g. “First draft is complete”. Hang the timeline where it is visible to you throughout the day. This will act as a constant reminder to your subconscious mind which will subtly ensure that your behaviour stays on track to create the committed outcome.
3. Know Your Terrorists
Silence that inner critic who whispers the many reasons it can’t be done.
The minute we get really serious about creating change, our inner terrorists start to plot the sabotage of the new order. We all have them; emotional blocks, fixed belief systems, unhealthy thinking patterns, all the gremlins that apparently come out of nowhere, causing us to procrastinate, renege on commitments or do exactly the opposite of what we had agreed. Our terrorists also come in the form of relationships, well-meaning friends or family who, trying to be helpful, caution us against the pitfalls and enumerate reasons why we should play it safe. Have you ever fallen ill or twisted an ankle 3 days into your new exercise regime…your terrorists!
Since we all have them, what is important is to be able to identify them. When we identify them, we are able to prevent the sabotage or at the very least recover quickly from it and pick ourselves up again. To do this ask yourself the following questions;
- What could stop me from achieving this?
- What could delay me achieving it on time?
- What can I put in place to protect me from each of these?
List any and all the things that may sabotage you along the way. The more you can name, the more you can put in place preventative steps.
Expert Tip: Like all terrorists, our personal terrorists are opportunists and will strike when we are vulnerable. Commit to taking care of yourself by staying mentally and physically healthy; if we allow ourselves to become overtired, hungry or flustered those terrorists will grab hold of us.
4. Get Into Action
There will never be a more perfect time to begin than now; you are ready!
Many people fail to act because they are unsure of all the steps. Waiting for all the pieces to fall into place is a sure way to never get started. Start with whatever you have available right now and commit to doing one thing every day that will take you closer to the lifestyle that you desire.
Set weekly outcomes to be achieved. These weekly outcomes are the building blocks to your big overall outcomes. At the end of the week have a check-in with yourself to determine your progress. If it turns out that you didn’t meet the milestone in any week, it is not the end of the world. Silence that inner critic who is telling you how useless and inconsistent you are, simply start again the next day with some fresh commitments and milestones for the week while keeping the main goal in mind.
Expert Tip: Create an hour in your diary at the same time every week for a ‘Board Meeting’ with yourself. By scheduling this as a set time in your diary, you will be less likely to forget and more likely to hold yourself accountable to the weekly goals.
5. Break the DIY Mind-set
It may be possible to have it all; it is certainly not possible to do it all!
Entrepreneurs often try to do everything themselves from marketing to administration and everything in between. It is not possible for one person to do everything, nor should you try to. Entrepreneurs who have great time management, great careers and happy families outsource and delegate certain tasks. In today’s world, there is no shortage of support for busy people from technological aids to human beings. Moreover, these people are experts in their niches, as you are in yours. Concentrate on your niche and you will be able to afford to hire people to do the rest!
Expert Tip: Feeling overwhelmed and don’t know where or how to start looking for help? Start with a Business/Life Coach. An experienced Business/Life Coach will work with you to shift your mind-set into the place it needs to be in order to reach your full potential. Investing in your own development with a Coach will pay dividends long after you have concluded your coaching program. All the elite performers in the world whether in sports, arts or business were once novices who achieved their successes thanks to the assistance of great coaches. If you want to play at the next level, you must invest in your development!
6. Take Care of You
Self-care is not a luxury; it is a duty we owe to ourselves & those we love.
The air-stewardess cautions travellers, in the case of an emergency, to place the oxygen mask on themselves before trying to assist any other passengers (including their own children). There is a very good reason for this; you aren’t going to be helping anyone if you are dead! The same principle applies in life; we cannot give that which we do not have inside ourselves.
Entrepreneurs are reluctant to give themselves the self-care they need, often feeling guilty about taking time off or pampering themselves. Failing to give ourselves the care we need leaves us depleted, overwhelmed and resentful. I have seen entrepreneurs work themselves into illness because they stubbornly refuse to care for themselves.
The body, mind and spirit are not indestructible; they require maintenance, rest and good care. You wouldn’t drive your car year after year without caring for it, yet we expect our bodies & minds to do our bidding without respite.
Expert Tip: Schedule a playdate with yourself once a week, every week and diarise it. Find out what soothes and restores your soul and make a commitment to doing it; even if you don’t feel like it. It may be a walk on the beach, reading a good book for half an hour or soaking in a bubble bath, or even just a pajama day where you don’t leave the house. Whatever it is, build it into your life. You will find that this simple ritual will cause you to be more effective and happier in all areas of your life.
What we are really doing when we celebrate is pausing to express gratitude.
Celebrating even small successes is not a ‘nice to have’ if you are an entrepreneur; it is a necessity. It is in reality, a critical link in the energetic feedback loop that will keep you motivated and excited about your business. There are some very important reasons why this step must never be left out.
Firstly, acknowledging the small victories will boost your confidence. Running your business can be challenging and filled with obstacles. Celebrating success serves as a reminder that you are making progress even when it looks and feels like you are trudging uphill all the time.
Secondly, celebrations are good for staff morale. Most staff members don’t have access to your financials and often have no way of knowing whether their efforts are making a difference or not. Randomly catch your staff out doing something well and make a big deal of it. A celebration communicates to staff that they are doing things right!
Expert Tip: Find The Fun! After all, if it’s not fun – why are you doing it? Losing sight of the successes; however small they are will simply turn something that was once filled with passion and excitement, into just another job. You got into this business to have a different way of life. Celebrating keeps things fun and upbeat and will keep you in tune with the real reasons you jumped on this roller coaster ride!
Having it all is possible, doing it all is not. With smart commitments and good processes, you do have the power to create precisely the lifestyle and business that you most desire. Now that you have the recipe, what are you waiting for? Go get it all!!