I’m on my way round to take coffee with a very devout Roman Catholic friend and I know she’ll tell me what she’s given up for Lent. Here’s a post I wrote a year ago about what we entrepreneurs might profitably give up for forty days or so, or for life. Sorry, I’m a little bit late in posting this in 2014, should have shared this two weeks ago, which means you’ll have fewer than the forty days to make your own changes… but still plenty of time. There’s always plenty of time.
If yesterday was Pancake Day, then today must be the first day of Lent. And that gives us a handy excuse to give something up for forty days and create some new habits at the same time, or raise some money for charity perhaps if you get a sponsor.
I got to thinking what might we entrepreneurs give up for Lent which would help us to live happier, healthier more productive lives? Here are some ideas. Which will you pick?
1. Juggling multiple projects or business ideas. Pick one. Stick to it for the 40 days in entirety. Bat away all offers and opportunities which are not part of your Main Thing. Bring all your attention to your main project, complete it, then tell the world about it, take orders, fulfil them, bank the money (not necessarily in that order!), celebrate. Repeat. You may not be able to do all of this in 40 days, but focusing on just one main project will take you a lot closer to it.
2. Diddling about all day, pretending to work. Facebook. Emails. Admin. Fake work. What’s the most important thing which needs doing which might risk earning you some money today? Do it. Get it done. Now.
3. Thinking we need to be able to see the whole journey before we take the first step. We don’t. Just start to take action on any ideas that you have. Talk to people about your skills and services and get commissioned to do some paid work. Experiment with what you like and discover what the market will pay you for. Action is attractive, so is momentum. We can fine tune this later. Just for now? Ask for the business.
4. Undercharging. Resolve that just for these next 40 days you will charge what you are really worth. See if your hallucination that people will not buy at that price is really true.
5. Tolerations and distractions. Write a hit list of all the things which are getting in your way and tick one off a day. Get the proper plugs on things, fix what’s broken, replace light bulbs, reduce clutter, do the filing, create a system, repair the wobbly leg, move that stuff out of the way you keep stepping over or stubbing your toe on, get a decent desk. You’ve got just over a month to become a toleration-free zone and watch your productivity soar.
6. Low Self-Esteem – let’s raise it. Choose for now to be the time you give up being under confident. Look at all those who rate you and choose to believe and reinforce what they say about you. Ask for feedback and focus on what’s good, just for now. How can you do more of that? What makes you feel good? For me it’s being of service and knowing I made a difference. Any day when I get a chance to do that is a good day. Decide to make every day in the next forty a good one. Put yourself in the way of opportunities to do that. Grow your confidence and quit the negative self-talk.
7. Perfectionism – can it, no-one can afford to pay for perfectionism. Aim for Good Enough. In my book, you are more than good enough already.
8. Procrastination – perfectionism’s close cousin. In the shortly to become immortal words of my client in Spain “just get it out the door and keep moving”.
9. Self-sabotage in all forms. Only you know what you do to put blocks and barriers in the way of your own progress and success and keep the good stuff at bay. Why not experiment with surrendering those for the 40 days until Easter? You can go back to doing them afterwards if you really prefer your life that way. Who’ll know except you?
10. Anything you don’t love. What about not doing those things for 40 days and focusing instead on the stuff you do love and seeing what a difference it makes to your equilibrium and to your outcomes?
I am not recommending you need to give up either anything for Lent or all of these ten, just that perhaps there’s something your business might benefit from a little less of. In your own case, what might that be?