So many people believe that having to do things you don’t enjoy is simply a part of life. They’ve bought into a message that life isn’t about having everything the way you want it to be.
But the reason you became an entrepreneur is to have things the way you want them to be. You didn’t become an entrepreneur so you could spend the rest of your life putting up with things you don’t like.
Being an entrepreneur means having the freedom to do what you love. But even still, business owners will make excuses for doing energy-draining activities by claiming that it’s just the nature of the business or the marketplace.
While it may very well have been that way in the 20th century, in the 21st century, with all the talent available either through relationship networks or electronic networks, you can find ways to extract yourself from situations and relationships that are irritating by finding the right person or system to take them over.
The point of being an entrepreneur is having the freedom to do what you love.Click To Tweet
Tell the truth.
Some people can numb themselves to the fact that an activity is irritating. The biggest obstacle that has to be overcome to eliminate your irritating, energy-draining activities is to tell the truth about what irritates you.
Once you’re honest with yourself about the activities you’re doing in your business that you find irritating, boring, and energy-draining, you can make a commitment to stop doing them. All the help in the world that you need to do that is available to you, but not until you tell the truth about it. The first person you have to sell on getting rid of the irritations in your life is yourself.
Identify your “irritating activities.”
When one of my clients first joined The Strategic Coach Program, he had a very fast growing business with an almost unlimited amount of opportunity, but he was doing an activity he didn’t like. One of his responsibilities was to do bidding on all of the jobs, and as they were growing so quickly, this used up an enormous amount of his time.
When I shared my model about the three types of activities that take up our time—Irritating, Okay, and Fascinating—there was a sudden realization on his part that this activity of doing the bidding, which he would do late at night and on weekends, was one he found really irritating and energy-draining. It was a breakthrough.
He told the truth about it and then he calculated how many hours he would get back if he stopped doing the bidding, and it was a huge incentive to eliminate this activity.
Gaining back time.
He put together a job description and, within the next 90 days, he had an applicant whose passion was the technique and technology of bidding.
At the end of the first year in the Program, he stood up and said, “I kept track of how much I got freed up from having someone take over this irritating activity, and in the first year, it was 1,000 hours.”
He said, “I felt totally freed up to have really great scouting missions out in the world and meet new people. Our whole planning for the expansion of our company jumped because I wasn’t tired. Every expansion before was forcing me into an activity that was more and more irritating. I didn’t know how much more of it I could take.”
In addition to improving his work life, his home life also improved—instead of working late, he was spending time with his family and friends. And everybody at the company found that he was so much more excited and pleasant to be around.
Not only is it not necessary to continue doing activities that drain your energy, but eliminating irritating activities from your life benefits you, your business, and everyone around you.
STOP DOING ACTIVITIES THAT IRRITATE YOU.
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The end of the year is a natural time to try to integrate your past, present, and future. As always, though, it’s important to use these three time frames in a way that fills you with confidence and excitement instead of stressing you out.
That’s why we all love and hate New Year’s resolutions: They fill us with resolve and determination, but if we don’t stick to their high ideals, they end up feeling like embarrassing failures.
The problem with resolutions is that they get the time frames all wrong: They’re about trying to fix something from your past out in your future.
Instead, try approaching your goals for the new year this way:
Look back over the past year and celebrate your progress. How far did you come? Why is this a triumph? We often forget to recognize and acknowledge our wins, but this celebration fills you up with morale.
Look at the projects and relationships in your life you’re most excited about and want to carry forward. This great foundation gives you momentum.
Ask yourself what you want—the things you have a desire to experience and achieve in the future, which might be completely new, unprecedented, with no ties to the past. This charges up your motivation.
Always make your future bigger than your past.Click To Tweet
This thinking turns your past, present, and future into useful tools rather than another “stick” to punish yourself with. The “stick” method is discouraging, guilt-inducing, and doesn’t work anyway. Just ask anyone who makes hifalutin resolutions on New Year’s Day—usually to correct what they did the night before!
May your new year be the biggest and best ever, full of challenging and exciting goals that make you grow.
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I was in born in the United States, and I think that the American experiment is one of the most extraordinary things that’s happened in human history.
But there’s something I’ve always questioned, and that’s the part of the Declaration of Independence that states that all people have the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
I totally agree with the life and liberty part, but it’s the idea of pursuing happiness that troubles me. “Pursuit of happiness” implies that you’re not currently happy. It means your happiness lies sometime in the future. And my feeling is, the moment that you pursue happiness, it’s always going to be a make-believe game. It’s not going to be an actual goal. It’s an ideal.
Goals are specific, measurable, and attainable, while ideals are abstract and always out of reach. Aiming for something as vague as “happiness” means you’re never going to achieve it—because you’re never going to know when you’ve reached it.
Expand your happiness.
Instead, I encourage the expansion of happiness. This means starting with happiness and building on it rather than pursuing happiness.
Before setting a new goal, take the time to recognize and appreciate the progress and achievements you’ve made so far. You’ll see how you’ve raised your levels of capability and confidence with your past progress. What you then want to do is take these things that are true and expand them outward. You’re not trying to get anywhere. You’re just trying to get bigger.
Happiness is your starting point, and you’ve expanded on it by achieving the goal. So, it’s a constant outward expansion of happiness.
Happiness is internal. It doesn’t come as a function of competitive achievement. Pursuing happiness isn’t possible. What you need to do is start off positive and just keep making it bigger.
Start with happiness.
It’s an enormous burden to be in the mindset that happiness is something you need to go out and get.
Rather than “pursuing” happiness, start with happiness. If you take the time to think about it, you’ll find things you’re happy about. Acknowledge those, and use that positive energy to build on and enhance your happiness.
I don’t think we set and achieve goals in an effort to become happy. We do it because we are happy and want to expand our happiness.
The harder you try to pursue an ideal, thinking it will make you happy, the further away you’ll find that hypothetical happiness to be once your work is done.
“Start with happiness.” —Dan SullivanClick To Tweet
Achieving real happiness.
Happiness must be based on reaching achievable, measurable goals. This way, it’s not idealistic happiness. It comes as a result of the specific measurements of progress you make, so it’s also a grounded happiness: You’ll know exactly why you’re happy, and you’ll be able to see how to replicate the happiness and expand it.
By expanding on your happiness and setting tangible goals, you have a far better chance of actually being happy than if you were to pursue an ideal called “happiness.”
I believe the history of America might be different if the Declaration of Independence had used the term “expansion” instead of “pursuit.” But the next stage can begin now. During the first 250 years, we pursued happiness, but from this point forward, we’re going to master the ability to start with happiness and continually expand it.
GET OUT OF “THE GAP.”
You can be successful and happy or successful and unhappy. The difference is in how you measure your progress.
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