It’s too easy to accept the status quo in your life. Make sure that your routines and techniques actually accomplish what you want them to. Don’t get caught up in assumptions about what you should do. Question the assumptions and focus on making the right moves to live the life you want. That might mean starting a business. Or, it could mean walking away from one.
Look at how you spend your time and ask yourself why you’re doing it. If your best answer is that you’ve always done it, or that an expert said you should, then you need to reassess. Everything you’re doing in your business and in your life needs to tie back to your goals for yourself.
Don’t blog or cold call or email every day because everyone else does. Do the work because it helps you grow your business. If what you’re doing isn’t moving the needle, then let it go or be prepared to make drastic adjustments to find growth.
Don’t work all night because you think its what you’re supposed to do. If you’re working crazy hours because you think that’s what an entrepreneur/founder/leader is supposed to do, then you need to get an assistant, plan a schedule and go home. Exhausting yourself to “look” like a go-getter isn’t going to help you actually grow. Being a go-getter that accomplishes the important tasks will.
Don’t keep unprofitable clients. Sure you need to keep the lights on, but if there’s no margin then you are going to be treading water forever. If you think the money might grow down the line, then make sure you have a plan to make it grow and not just a wish that it will. Wishes won’t give you the capital to invest, hire or retire.
Don’t take advice from anyone as gospel (me, included). The hotshot founder that’s worth billions is no doubt extremely driven and did a great job executing. But that was him and his skills at a specific point in history. Learn from the ones that came before you, but remember that you need to adapt everything to your NOW. If you simply imitate, then you risk chasing opportunities and angles that aren’t there anymore.
Don’t assume everything will keep working. Ask your vendors where they see the market in 5 years. Ask your customers the same thing. Look ahead and start moving toward the new normal before it overtakes you. If you ever find yourself doubting the need to think ahead and adapt, then lookup Blockbuster Video (I think you see my point).
Don’t make your job your life. Work so you can live the life you want. If the work doesn’t let you do that, then it’s time for a change. I know that sounds naive, but do you honestly want to look back in 30 years and realize that you missed birthdays, threesomes, vacations, and great shows because you were too busy doing a job you despised?
I’ve written this in honor of a good friend that is dying. I visited him a couple of weeks ago and it dawned on me how many times I put off visiting him when he was healthy. It struck me that I’d spent a lot of my life running around and doing what I thought needed to be done instead of questioning myself about my goals and focusing on the highest-value tasks to reach them.
I’m a marketer building a business. I know I’ve got a lot of work to do and I’m not afraid of it. What am I afraid of? Wasting days that could be better spent learning and loving because I didn’t know how to turn off my computer and take a break.
Don’t get caught up in routines. Remember what matters. Go after that. Everything else is an obstacle or a distraction.