Entrepreneurship requires that you make choices that sometimes feel like you’re taking a shot in the dark.
You are a pioneer. You haven’t yet charted this territory, and you don’t know exactly what the terrain looks like up ahead.
You can make a good guess about what the future holds, based on what you can surmise from where you are right now, but there’s always going to be some uncertainty.
So how do you know if you’re making the best decisions for the future of your business?
You have to have your own back. But, not just yours, your business’s too! You are two separate things.
People often forget that their business is a living, breathing, evolving entity. It needs care and consideration, just like you do. You are in a symbiotic relationship with your business.
Your business depends on you; and you depend on your business.
Having your back means that you are watching out for and taking care of yourself. And, it’s the same for your business.
Here is a simple, yet powerful exercise to ensure that you have your own back - and your business’s.
Step 1 - Answer the following questions (in writing) with a filter of having your back(s).
What do I need today? What does my business need today?
What do I need this week? What does my business need this week?
What do I need this month? What does my business need this month?
What do I need this quarter? What does my business need this quarter?
What do I need in the next six months? What does my business need in the next six months?
What do I need this year? What does my business need this year?
Step 2 - For each question you just answered, define (again in writing) what must happen in order to provide for those needs. Be detailed. For example, if you need to bill 3 customers for your business today, do you need to delegate the task, clear your schedule of interruptions, or make it the top priority of your day before you move on to other things?
Step 3 - Don’t skip this step, it is important! I give you this warning, because once people have a detailed roadmap of what they need to do, they want to jump right into taking action. And, it makes sense, because your mind is most likely feeling less confused, more clear, and highly motivated. But motivation is often short-lived, and all this great insight you’ve just worked to uncover, will likely end up at the bottom of the pile of papers you mean to go through, but put off over and over.
In order for you to stay committed to having your back and watching out for your best interests, you need to learn how to generate the special fuel that will keep you going.
That fuel is emotion. Emotion is what drives everything we do (or don’t do).
So for each set of actions you defined in Step 2, determine what emotion will best fuel that set of actions to completion. This will be a one word feeling, like determined, focused, committed, clear, etc. You should have 12 one word emotions now.
Step 4 - Find a sentence that generates that emotion. A mantra if you will. If you’re trying to feel focused, you might try the sentence, “I am giving my full concentration to these invoices”. Try different sentences/mantras until you find the one that works for you.
Repeating this sentence before you start, and then periodically throughout the execution of your plan is like putting gas in the tank before you hit the road.
Short trips aren’t going to require as much fuel as longer ones. The longer, or more intense the distance, the more you will need to fill up your gas tank so you have the fuel you need to get where you want.
Practice these four steps regularly to see how much stronger you become at watching out for and taking care of yourself and your business. Say goodbye to confusion, burnout, and wasted time and energy!