The year is fresh and there is so much potential for 2018.
Maybe this is the year you finally start that business.
Or maybe it’s the year you’re going to really take your business seriously so you can maximize it’s potential and make more money.
Regardless of your current situation or goals, it’s easy to be optimistic during this time of year. You’ve got almost a full 12 months ahead of you after all.
And that’s great, optimism is a good thing. It makes you happier and being happy can boost creativity, productivity, and lead to more money and even a longer life.
Unfortunately, the optimism also creeps into our minds in another area – our motivation. Since we are so motivated right now about achieving our goals, and they all seem so doable, we tend to think that we’ll always be this motivated.
“This year’s going to be different” we tell ourselves, “I can feel it.”
But is it really? If so, why? What are you actually going to do differently this year that will lead to different results? Seriously, stop and answer that question.
I don’t mean to be a downer, but let’s get real for second, because until we do, NOTHING IS GOING TO CHANGE.
If we’re going to get big results in our life and business, first we have to realize the truth: that we are human, and even if we like to think we’re different, we’ve got the same mental hardware as everybody else. We all get distracted. We all lose motivation over time. We all have trouble resisting the temptation to give up when things get hard. We are all creatures of habit and we can’t just change direction like a hummingbird. Changing our lives and growing our business is more like steering an oil tanker, and it requires consistent effort and focus over a long duration of time.
Basically, our brains aren’t designed to just naturally achieve big complex goals like growing a business, especially in todays world of endless distractions and potential opportunities. If it was, we’d all be billionaires.
If we want to make big things happen, we need to be more strategic than simply setting a resolution. We must design our environment so achieving our goals is a natural result of that environment.
Relying on willpower doesn’t work beyond a couple of days. Relying on motivation only works if you’re in serious pain – and even then the pain must be greater than the pain of taking action.
So, without further ado, here are three challenges that keep most people from ever achieving their goals, and how to solve them so you can move quickly and confidently toward a better, more profitable business.
Challenge #1 – Finding the time to grow your business.
If we want something, we usually must trade some time to get it. But what if your schedule is already packed? What if you’re already working 6 or 7 days per week?
No, you can’t add more time to the day. And no, sleeping less is NOT a good idea. Lack of sleep makes you dumber and less resilient. Don’t dull your most powerful tool.
So, that means one of two things. You’ll either have to stop doing something else or do things more efficiently. There are several scheduling tricks you can use as a pro handyman to save time. If you’re an employee, you’ll have to get creative.
And there’s often a tradeoff here. In order to spend time building your business, you have to give up time spent elsewhere. This is the hard part, and it’s certainly worth thinking about what you’re going to stop doing as well as what you’re going to start doing.
Don’t try to do more in a day, do different. That could mean dropping other projects or goals so you can focus on the main one.
Either way, you must schedule chunks of time to work toward your goals, and the bigger chunks the better. More time is never just going to suddenly appear one day. Make the decisions necessary to create the time you need.
Challenge #2 – Staying Focused and Avoiding “Shiny Objects”
Have you ever noticed how whenever you commit to being at a customer’s home to fix something, you almost always show up and get it done, but when you schedule something like work on your website or anything else that will grow your business, you find some reason not to do it? Something else pops up or you find something more interesting to do?
If you’re nodding your head right now, then you could seriously benefit from some external accountability. The power of having somebody else hold you accountable for following through is one of the greatest productivity hacks of all time.
It took me a long time to accept this reality. I always thought I was different and that I could keep myself motivated. “I’m disciplined” I thought. Every time I set a goal I think the same motivation I’m feeling in that moment will last for months (HINT: it doesn’t).
I’m always getting distracted by new ideas that I have. Or, my motivation shifts from one day to the next, and what I was excited about yesterday seems to have lost it’s appeal today. I’ve wasted a lot of productive time because of this.
The solution? External accountability. I finally hired an accountability coach. Now I have somebody that I have to report my progress to and it’s been a huge help.
It’s just the little nudge I need to stay focused long enough to get shit done. Sure, I still get distracted and have new ideas, but I get right back on track knowing that I’ve set those goals.
For me, just having somebody to check in with me is enough to keep me (mostly) on track. If you need a little more motivation than that, you’ll probably want to setup some negative stakes.
But either way, having some sort of negative impact for not doing what you said you would do is essential.
Challenge #3 – Working On the Business Instead of In the Business
If you haven’t yet read the “E-myth,” you should go pick up a copy right now. In this famous business book, Michael Gerber talks about the difference between working “in” your business and working “on” your business.
As a handyman, fixing stuff and communicating with customers are the tasks that pay the bills. However, just doing those tasks alone will rarely grow a business. Doing these tasks is called working “in” the business. For most people, this is pretty easy, even enjoyable.
However, working “on” the business is much harder for a number of reasons. First, you may not know the next steps that will yield growth. Second, you don’t get paid immediately for working on your business. It’s more of an investment into the future. And third, it’s usually more challenging and even boring work. Things like refining your marketing, creating a new pricing strategy, analyzing your expenses, and systemizing repetitive processes.
Working on your business requires you to work for free now so you can reap the benefits later, and it’s the key to increasing freedom and income. But, it’s hard to do.
So what’s the solution?
The ideal solution is to work with a coach. Somebody who both understands the intricacies of your business, and is going to hold your feet to the fire to make sure you follow through. This way you get the guidance you need and the motivation to follow through, two things that are essential to making big gains in any aspect of life.
Can’t afford a coach? The next best thing is to find a proven system and simply follow it. Sure, you won’t get the direct feedback and customized approach as you would with a coach, but at least you’ll have a framework to follow instead of just trying shit willy nilly.
Either way, it’s essential to seek guidance for challenging tasks so you can conserve your mental resources for implementation. I hate this saying, but don’t re-invent the wheel.
Let’s Sum It Up
Growing a business takes consistent effort and focus over a long period of time.
Our brains aren’t wired to focus and apply consistent effort over a long period of time.
We need to craft our environment so it will “trick” us into applying consistent effort and focus over a long period of time.
If you want to achieve your goals, don’t work against your own nature. Leverage the tools at your disposal to craft an environment that leads you naturally toward your desired outcome.
- Set a goal.
- Find expert guidance.
- Schedule time for focused work.
- “Force” your follow-through with accountability or negative stakes.
Do these four things and you’ll be 1,000x more likely to succeed.