Give It a Rest!

Have you ever found yourself feeling like you just need a break?  Does it constantly feel like there are never enough hours in the day to get everything done?

I’ve been there.  It’s not a peaceful place.

I’ve also experienced great peace while juggling 20 different things.

In the beginning, you probably took time to outline business goals and a plan.  How are you doing on that?  How often to you take time really contemplate what you need to do more or do less?

Before GPS driven auto-pilots, mariners would take navigational readings several times a day to determine if they were on course.  It’s about 3000 miles from London to Boston.  If a ship leaving either port were off by even a couple of degrees at the start, it would miss its destination by over 100 miles!  Because these mariners knew they could not control the winds or ocean currents, they knew they had to determine where they were frequently or risk missing their destination or, even worse, being lost at sea.

If you are inclined as I am to lead by example, it is very easy to spend so much time in your business that you have no time to spend on your business.  It is very easy to just blame it on trying to be a shrewd leader and keep labor costs low.  However, you are doing yourself, your employees, and your customers a huge dis-service if you are not regularly and intentionally taking time to reflect upon the state of your business.

Without this time to back off the day-to-day and look at your business from a higher altitude, it is easy to lose perspective and focus.  Most businesses do not fail in a single glorious moment.  They fail slowly, through a series of poor choices due to lack of focus and knowledge.

By scheduling time to spend on your business, you give yourself the opportunity to re-evaluate your goals, the marketplace, and what you need to do to stay on course.

Because It’s the Right Thing

John Maxwell’s word of the day is “duty”.  As he points out, this is not a very sexy word.  In fact it has a slightly negative connotation to most people.  However, there is much honor in duty.

In this day when you can have it now and make no payments for a year, we often lose site that success in most things comes down to hard work.  Duty – doing something just because it’s the right thing to do and it’s your responsibility to do it.

Things like being an honorable spouse while away on business, setting a good example for your children, and treating people the way you want to be treated.  Often in business, duty is doing those things that seem menial, but are absolutely critical to keep the gears of progress turning.

So today, think about what duties you are responsible for.  Do them with a renewed sense of importance.  As we are seeing with the NFL playoffs, it’s the basics done consistently and well that creates a champion.

Are You Investing In Your #1 Asset?

All businesses that have been around any amount of time get there.  They hit a wall.

While we often think more customers or capital are what is needed, more often this is simply a symptom.  A business cannot sustain itself beyond its leadership.

So, when was the last time you made an investment in yourself?  What was the last non-fiction book you read?  Been to any leadership or professional development workshops lately?  What peer or mentor groups are you a part of?

A wise man once told me, “Success leaves clues.”

It’s absolutely true.  While there are a bunch of junk business books out there, there are many that are written about or by people with actual fruit on the tree.  People who have done what you are trying to do in the same or another industry with similar circumstances.

You will also find quality leadership workshops.  Workshops not by professional speakers, but by people that succeeded in their field before they started sharing the story.

Peer or mentor groups are great too.  This is typically difficult for leaders, but a good business coach or mentor can be your second best asset.  Leadership can be a lonely place.  If you don’t have a board member you can lean on for advice, encouragement, or just an ear, you owe it to yourself to find a mentor or business coach.

Too often as leaders, we allow ourselves to get comfortable.  It has been my experience that a person is either growing or getting left behind.

So, go get you a good book.  Register for that leadership workshop.  Join a peer group or get a business coach or mentor.

Then apply it.

I think you’ll be surprised how surmountable that wall becomes.