In our business, getting an intended result can be difficult regardless of consistent and determined effort on our part. You can sit there and write the emails, brainstorm the campaigns, make the phone calls…but you’re just not seeing the result you want/need.
Other times it feels like we get everything with very little effort.
This is tough for me to understand as someone who was trained as an employee over 6+ years working for various companies.
What I’m learning is that work is less about being in a specific place and “working” or at least appearing to work, and more about the actual product that is created as result of the work effort. That product is what carries the value and ultimately makes the business happen.
What this means is that it’s ok to spend time thinking about the work product – directly or indirectly – even if you’re not in a traditional work setting.
For me, this primarily looks like walking my dog or running.
When I’m physically moving, it becomes easier for me to generate creative ideas that can propel our (or our clients’) business forward. This does not normally happen for me when sitting at a desk or pretending to work while in a meeting.
On the flip side, there has to be a volume of ideas/strategies generated in order to find the ones that “hit.” In other words, I can’t only spend 15 minutes walking my dog in the morning, and then expect that a business will miraculously pay us for some hair-brain campaign that I thought of when a branch moved a certain way during our walk. The ideas generated during this time might be a spark, but there is a ton of leg work that has to be done to validate and execute strategies for real clients.
Then there is the admin work that is entailed to run a business. Things like email, invoicing, phone calls, meetings, meetings about meetings, post-meeting notes…you get it. So, while there is inherent flexibility when prioritizing the work product over all else, there is obviously still a significant time commitment required to create something of value. As Crossfit legend Josh Bridges regularly says, you’ve got to “Pay the Man.”
Bottom line. When you’re building a business, it’s going to take more time and more energy than you originally anticipated to be “successful.” Or at least it has for me.
But, that time and energy can look very different than what it might look like for someone else. It may look like sitting at a desk coding for 12 hours. It may look like being in meetings all day. Or, it may look like squeezing a run in mid-morning to stimulate some creativity.
You (talking to myself here) have to get comfortable with the fact that it may look different for you than what others are doing. Sitting in the same spot and being on the #grind may work for some, but it doesn’t work for you. At least not when you’re creating the type of work product that generates progress for the clients and revenue for the business.
Perfect. Now you know. So continue iterating and brainstorming on what does work, and leave the guilt of not measuring up to others’ behaviors and expectations behind you.
Future you (and your business) will thank you.