What Matters Most

Have you heard that quote, what you do with your days is what you do with your life? It is so true and I’ve been reflecting on this for the past few days. As I’ve shared, I’m a goal setter. Meaning I love goals! All kinds of goals. I set goals for everything in my life. And it’s helped me accomplish many things. The way I look at it, you really fill your day with what matters most to you, right? Regardless of your goals, what you do is what matters. However, I’ve found that often I’m like a kid in a candy store when it comes to goals and what and who I want to be. Can you relate? I want it all! These are things I want to do in no particular order:

Have a clean house
Have a trendy and up to date wardrobe
Cook fabulous leisurely meals for my family each night with locally sourced, sugar and chemical free products
Workout daily
Read my bible from cover to cover annually
Pray without ceasing
Be a fabulously hot wife who is always willing to spend countless hours with my husband
Be available and loving to my children always
Have a clean house (I put this on the list twice- hum does that say something about my desire for a clean house!)
Be a groundbreaking entrepreneur
Be a published author
Have 10 best friends
Be well read
Be gracious to all
Meditate for 20 minutes a day
Hike weekly
Be an accomplished painter
Read to my children for an hour a night
Be a source of inspiration
Have a well designed beautiful home
Set my daily goals the night before
Go to bed with a washed and moisturized face and flossed teeth
Sleep 7 hours a night
Stick to my schedule for ultimum productivity
Volunteer in my son and daughters classes
Volunteer on the PTA
Volunteer at Girl Scouts
Serve at church
Plan monthly girls night outs
Feel calm and collected

I’m guessing it’s not shocker to you that I’m not able to do all of those things. I do try and some days I feel like the victory is mine and other days I just feel like a total failure. In For the Love by Jen Hatmaker she says,

“Decide which parts are draining you dry. What do you dread? What are you including for all the wrong reasons? Which parts are for approval? Is there anything you could delegate or hand off? Could you sacrifice a Good for a Best? Throw out every should or should not and make ruthless cuts. Go ahead. Your beam is too crowded. I know it.”

I just love that quote. You can not be and do it all. If anyone says you can, they are lying. Each day we have to decide what really matters most. I can’t do all of the things on my list, and need to delegate, pare down, simplify and let go. I have to decide what truly matters and what I’ve discovered is that can change. One day you might really feel the need to meditate and the next a walk on the beach is what does the trick. The next day you might feel really inspired to make a beautiful dinner for your family and still the next night a frozen pizza might do the trick. I tend to be a very black and white person (not something I’m proud of). For me it often is all or nothing. If you aren’t going to be able to read classical literature to your children for an hour a night then you really must not love your children. What? Where in the world did I come up with that?

As we walk through this journey of life and entrepreneurship we must realize that our lives are like a block of granite and we’re being chipped and chiseled away. Parts of us stay and parts of us are swept away. What we choose to spend our days doing is the makeup of our lives. What choices are you making the will sculpt and shape who you are and the impact you make on those around you?

Find the Push to Persevere

I love working out. Have I mentioned that? I wake up at 5:40, well 5:38 AM to be exact, I throw on my workout clothes and head to the gym. I work out in at a small local gym that is committed to each member and whose mission it is to make sure you’re actually performing the movements correctly. It’s called circuit training and there’s normally 5-10 people in each of my classes. I love it, did I mention that.

I love it because it’s hard. I know every time I go I’m going to get a really good workout. I’m going to do something I would never, not in a million years do if I were by myself and at the end of the workout I feel more accomplished than I do often for the rest of the day. I wonder sometimes why it took me so many years to realize that working out is really one of the best things in life.

I’ve been working out hard for two years now. The first year I went 3 days a week and last year I went 4 days a week so my new goal for 2016 is 5 days a week. I’m four weeks in and I’ve been going strong with my new 5 day a week schedule. However, the last few weeks, my shins have been hurting and it’s getting worse. This morning after I worked out I could hardly walk. This is not good. So where do I go from here? I’ve finally found something I love to do, that makes me feel alive, gives me energy, is positive for my body and a great connection for my husband and I (because he works out too). I think I may be getting shin splints. Now what?

Has this ever happened to you in business? You finally find a sweet spot. A place where you are thriving. You’ve finally landed on a great product, things are selling, your marketing strategy is working and then boom, something unexpected happens and the flow you thought you were finally in is taken from you. Where do you go from here?

In the Lean Startup Eric Ries talks about how and when to pivot your business. He talks about building, measuring and learning. Basically build a minimal viable product- the base model or in other words test the market and see what kind of traction you get. Measure that traction. Are people actually buying your product? And then learn from that. The message I got from his book, was create, learn, modify.

In business you always need to be moving forward. If you’re standing still you’re really going backward. Approach your business with the mentality that you want to be two steps ahead. You must be forward thinking so you can do your best to circumnavigate issues. I didn’t ever even think about shin splints. I didn’t suspect I would get them, or even know really how a person would get them. As I sit in pain, my first reaction is to say, “Well, that was fun while it lasted.” I’m not going to be able to workout any more. Too bad. However, my love for working out has been surmounted by fear of the pain. I don’t want the pain to increase. I don’t want to injure myself for life, but I also have a love that I can’t give up. I can’t walk away from this desire in me to workout.

And you can’t walk away from your business. Just because a roadblock has presented itself you must persevere. On January 1st minimum wage in California jumped to $9 per hour. This resulted in about a $15,000 increase in expenses for our business. It felt like a swift kick in the gut. It sometimes seems like just as you are starting to really succeed, something comes along to take you down a notch. Adversity is the stuff of life and it’s the stuff of business. Our reaction to adversity, our respond to trials is what separate us from the rest.

If you love business, your business in particular, you must stick with it. You must wake up each day and say, “I could stay in bed today, but if I did I’d miss the thing I love most and that thing is my business.” When you love your business too much to walk away that’s the moment you know you must stick with it. You might need to change courses, you might need a new product or a new concept, or heck maybe even an entirely new business, but if you love entrepreneurship you’ll stick it out, just as I’m going to stick through these shin splints. I’m not ready to throw my hands up and walk away and my guess is you shouldn’t walk away from you business either!

To Find the Push You Must:

    • Keep Moving Forward
    • Always be Forward thinking
    • Don’t Walk Away
    • Push through Adversity
    • Bring the Love
6 Steps to Stay Focused on Business

6 Steps to Stay Focused on Business

When you work a job you have a few basic structural pieces that make a world of difference. The first is you’re generally assigned times that you’re required to be at work, and next you’re given specific tasks to do while you’re at work. You also have a very charming person that keeps a close eye on your performance called a boss. These three common features of a job usually lead to some sort of progress, output or production. The company is also usually very clear about what it is that they do and who it is that they perform that service for. They typically have revenue goals and most often have a track record of some sort of success.

In walks the entrepreneur and in often they do not have any of the above. No schedule, no accountability, no clear path on what they are creating or for whom they are creating it and they often have goals that are so vague they’re difficult to pin down. So how does the entrepreneur stay focused to get the results they desire? Here are a few tips:

Energy goes where focus flows.

Create an energy map of your life. This could be done mentally or physically, but take a look at where you are putting your effects and energy. What I mean by energy is your thoughts and actions. What are you thinking about all of the time? What are you doing with your time? This energy will create or destroy your business. Examine how you are handling your calendar and to do lists. I like to use Google Keep for my to do lists. It is easy to use and is on my computer and mobile device.

Be accountable for your time.

If you aren’t employed and are working in your business it is easy to become distracted with life’s hassles. A doctor’s appointment, a trip to the grocery store. A stop at the post office or a workout that went a bit longer that you’d intended. Perhaps a child who needs care, or a pet that needs walking, even a load of laundry or the dishes. All of these things are life’s distractions and they can have a big impact on the success of your company. I do not believe that you must work 40 hours 8-5 Monday through Friday, but you have to be committed to putting in the time. Businesses do not grow by magic. They grow for time and focus.

Get clear on what you’re creating.

Often businesses are all over the map. When starting they want to be all things to all people and turn out having nothing to offer to anyone. Know your business. Know what service or product you produce and who is purchasing that product.

What’s holding you back.

As entrepreneurs we do what we want to do and often not what we need to do. There is no one there telling us we have to do certain things and certain times especially if you’re a solopreneur. When you aren’t doing something or keep procrastinating on an item you know you should tackle consider what is truly holding you back. Is it that you are afraid you don’t have that skill? Are you concerned about how it will appear or do you genuinely not have any idea how to do this procrastinated task. Find out what is hold you back and take the steps you need to talk to push through.

Have a sales and marketing strategy that you work and revisit daily.

If you aren’t selling you aren’t in business. You must have a clear strategy for reaching customers and closing sales. If you’re struggling in this area revisit your strategy frequently until you have a plan that works. And even when you’ve got a working plan pay close attention. Companies fail because they aren’t focus for the long haul on sales and marketing.

Find accountability and inspiration partners.

Don’t try to do it all on your own. Find other entrepreneurs who are colleague that can identify with your challenges and struggles and spend time talking with them and being open about your journey. This accountability will help keep you on track.

6 Steps to Stay Focused on your Business

  • Watch where you put your energy
  • Be accountable for your time
  • Get clear on what you’re creating
  • Discover what’s holding you back
  • Have a sales and marketing strategy
  • Find accountability and inspiration partners

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