It's a common theme for most people that they do not have enough time. That they are maxed and can't keep up with everything they have going on. They are just too busy.
I've found this is simply not true. Most people have way more productive capacity that they realize - they are just not structured well enough to take advantage of it in their lives. I've written before about how structure = freedom. I know that sounds contradictory, but the more structure you have in your day to day, the more freedom you can create for yourself.
For example, most people go through their day without any real plan just reacting to what comes up in their lives and work. They have all these tasks they think they need to do "in their head" and at the end of the day after all the distractions and things that they let steal their time, they are exhasuted and frustrated because they "worked hard, but feel like they didn't get anything done." This happens because they are have ceded control to everything around them and not taken control and put structure in place to keep them focused and get things done.
Now, imagine if they started the day knowing exactly what they had to, their top priorities and had clear deadlines to get them done. And they knew, if they got them done early, they could take the rest of the day to do whatever they wanted? Sounds pretty good right. They accomplish all their tasks and free themselves up to go enjoy the rest of the day. That is what structure brings.
They are a few key components to have a good structure. First is to set aside time each day where you can focus un-interrupted on your most important tasks. During these times, you eliminate distractions - no meetings, no phone calls, turn off IM, etc. You can also block these times on your calendar if you share it with others to make sure they cannot steal your time. Second, plan your week. Each week before the week starts, take 20 minutes to go through each day for the upcoming week and plan out what needs done. You can list the meetings or events you have and then build in the other tasks you need to do each day in your blocked times. Third, at the end of each day, take 5-10 mins to see if you were able to get your priorities for that day completed and to adjust anything for the next day to make sure you are getting everything done. You may find on many days that you are so productive that you can get ahead and work on the next day's priorities and tasks - and still be done early. That is one of the benefits of having a good structure.
Don't think this will work for you or that you don't have enough time in your schedule for everything? Try this simple exercise. For one week - just one week - track what you do for every hour of each day. If you do this, you will be amazed at how much time is wasted and how much opportunity you have. It will also help you understand where you waste the most time and allow you to make changes so you can be more productive.
As H. Jackson Brown Jr. said, "Don't say you don't have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein."
Remember, structure = freedom!
Most quotes are meaningless. They are good for a thought in a moment and then are forgotten or never really thought about again. But, occasionally there are quotes that stand the test of time and if you take the time to think about them deeply, can have a big impact on your life and how you think. Below are 10 magnificent quotes to help you do just that. Think on them and what they really mean to you - and then act on that meaning!
As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another....
"For every minute you are angry you lose 60 seconds of happiness."
“Don't say you don't have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.”
“Too many people spend money they haven't earned, to buy things they don't want, to impress people that they don't like.”
If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.
"Never do something permanently foolish just because you are temporarily upset."
“There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.”
“Learn to appreciate what you have, before time makes you appreciate what you had.”
“Consider it pure joy… whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
“Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.”
Let's face it. Sometimes you just have bad days in business. Days where things just don't go your way despite everything you do. We've all been there and there will be more days like that in the future. It is part of the journey of entrepreneurship.
The most important thing about bad days is how we respond to them. After all, they are going to happen, right? So, we should do our best not to make them worse.
The first thing to do when a day does not go your way is to recognize it for what it is - one day out of many and it will pass. Not everything is going to go as planned and some things are just going to fail. The most important thing we can do at these times is to separate emotion and logic and not let emotion get the best of us or drive our decisions. We must think logically. By all means take a few minutes to get your emotions out in whatever way is best for you - but don't take actions based on those emotions.
Next, once we have seperated our emotions and have put them in the past, we must focus on the things we can control and maximize our efforts there. It does not good to worry or put thought into things we cannot control. We must cope with those things, but focus our efforts and our actions in the areas that we do have control and can affect outcomes.
Once we have identified the areas we can control and are focused on them, then we must take action and start working toward better outcomes either to resolve the issue(s) or to pivot around them. The key is to get going and build momentum so you get passed the problems of the day and back to business.
As an example, I have a trading business. Not every trade is going to go my way and sometimes, when I am just about to harvest my profits, the market can turn and go the other way putting me into a losing position. As you can imagine, this can be very aggravating and cause a bad trading day. But, I cannot control the markets - I can only take aciton on the things I have control over. This is why I have specific rules that I follow and most of the time, things work out as planned. When they don't, I remove the emotional response by following my rules and working the trade to the best outcome which sometimes is a loss, but not to the level it could have been if I panicked and let emotions dictate my actions. Because I seperate emotions and focus taking action on the things I can control, I am able to achieve better results.
The next time you have a bad day in your business, use this strategy to help you navigate it and come out on top!
I was reading some passages from Proverbs the other day on 7 Deadly Sins. Now, a lot of people hear Proverbs and think religion, the bible, etc. But, I have found Proverbs to be one of the great sources of wisdom for life and business that anyone can read.
Specifically, I was reading about Sloth or laziness and found it very insightful. We think of being lazy as just that, lazy - not doing anything, not taking initiative, etc. And the consequences are that we miss out on opportunities and reaching our potential. While that is absolutely true, this passage shared that the consequences are much worse.
Part of the passage stated that "Laziness brings on deep sleep." It went on to explain, that sloth brings a progressive decline of a person's ability to work hard - not just in the area they are choosing to be lazy, but throughout all areas of their lives. Sort of like a person who loses their physical conditioning can no longer exercise as hard or as long and then finds themselves less healthy, gaining weight, etc. Being lazy in that area brings about unintended consequences that impacts other areas of their lives.
Over time, laziness can slowly erode capability and potential as well as habits needed to excel and succeed being our best. It permiates into all parts of our lives.
If you find yourself being lazy in one area of your life, ask yourself why? And then take a look at other areas of your life and see if they are being impacted as well. In the end, you must "do the work" and push throug the urge to be lazy because if you don't, you will find areas of your life going into "deep sleep."
As entrepreneurs, we are constantly on the go. We bounce from one thing to the next, handle problem after problem, and spend our time making things happen in our business - all in pursuit of our dreams and goals.
It seems like there is a never ending set of things that need done and actioned in our businesses. But, there is one important action that many entrepreneurs overlook and that is this: Many entrepreneurs fail to take time to think strategically each week and determine the most important actions they need to take to be most effective in their business. It is critical that we set aside time, away from the day to day needs of the business, to think deeply on the most important actions that we need to take and plan accordingly for them.
The most important part is to plan accordingly and take action. It does no good to think strategically and determine the actions that need done and then not act on them.
I was reminded of the impact doing this well has recently when I met with one of the Mastermind groups that I run. The group is focused on investing and financial success. We had a spring in-person event where we trained on many incredible topics and the group rated the meeting very well. I asked the group at the end of our time together to write down the action steps they were going to take from what they learned and to plan to implement them into their lives. After a couple months, I did a check and was happy to find that everyone in the group had taken action and could describe concrete results that have happened in their live for implementing their action steps. One person even said that they felt like a completely difference person and their live had improved personally and financially tremendously.
If you don't set aside time to think deeply and strategically each week to determine the most important actions for your business, you are missing out on one of the biggest secrets of successful entrepreneurs. Take action and start doing this in your life!
I listened to a great preacher this past weekend talk about one of the points Jesus made in the Sermon on the Mount.
Jesus said, "Stop storing up for yourselves treasures upon the earth, where moth and rust consume, and where thieves break in and steal. Rather, store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes, and where thieves do not break in and steal.”
As I listened to the message, I thought about a lot of things. First, of course, what "treasures" am I pursuing on storing here on earth and is it wrong to do so? The preacher made a great point in saying that during this part of Jesus's sermon he did not say it was wrong to have money set aside for a rainy day or to have nice things in your life, but most focus on only the stuff they want to accumulate and not on the bigger potential they have to do great things for those around them and their fellow man.
Jesus is right. We cannot take all the stuff with us. The money. The nice home(s). The cars. The material things. We can however make a difference in others lives and for the generations that come after us. And we do that by putting those "treasures" first instead of the material treaures.
If we focus on the treasures we can store in heaven - the things we can do to help others or make things better for those around and strive to live in the best way we can serving those around us, it will do much more for us than the "stuff."
Don't get me wrong. I like the "stuff." I like setting goals and reaching them with the rewards financially and opportunities that they bring. But, I must not make those more important than the things that really matter and make a difference.
As entrepreneurs, we are in a unique position in that we can do a lot to help others and make a difference for them. We can do this with our employees every day. We can do this with our spouses, kids, family, and friends. Each day, we should ask, "What treasure can I store in heaven by making a difference for others today?" It doesn't have to be something huge. It can be a simple as checking in on someone or helping them through a challenge. It can be offering a helping hand to someone who needs it.
The point is that we need to rethink the "treausures" we put first in our lives. Whether you are a follower of Jesus or not, the message is still valid. Prioritize the right things - you can have both, but prioritize the right ones first.
How will you implement this philosophy into your daily life?
You got it all figured out. You've got the product nailed. You know your market. You know how you are going to sell your products. You've got the talent. You maybe even have some backing. Success is just around the corner. Maybe.
You can have everything you think you need to succeed in your business or startup, but without one very specific thing, you will not make it.
What is it? Drive. If you are not driven to the ultimate level, beyond what anyone thinks is neccessary, then your chances of success are small.
After years of interviewing the top entrepreneurs in their fields, the one thing that stands out is that they are driven, almost obsessed with making their dream a reality. It always amazes me how many people have the talent, capability, resources, and even the right connections, but they don't succeed or even try. It has always puzzled me. Why are so many capable, but only a few truly make it in the game of entrepreneurship? It's because the ones that do are driven more than anyone else.
I recently interviewed Jason White, an entrepreneur who created a business that does millions per year in government contracts called the Federal Code.
By all accounts, Jason was destined to be another statistic. He grew up in the hood getting in trouble and didn't graduate high school. In his early 20's, he was working as a gas station attendent when a chance meeting happened that set him on a new path. He learned about the possibility of making money fulfilling government contracts and decided he was going to figure it out and change his life. He didn't know what he was doing or how to do it. He didn't know the first thing about goverment anything - but he was driven as hell. He spent almost 3 years working and figuring out how to win and then outsource the servicing of government contracts. He literally worked day and night for over 2 years getting rejection after rejection making no money until he had his first success. 99% of people would have quit in the first month, let alone be driven enough to go at it over 2 years without success. That is what it takes. And that is why people like Jason change their lives reaching levels no one thought possible for them and then help others to do the same. Be on the lookout for his upcoming episode.
But I think Jason's story illustrates the point well. How far are you willing to go? Do you have even an ounce of drive? I bet you do. It just may not be for the money side or business side of your life. It may be that you are driven to be the biggest fan for your favorite sports team and you won't let anyone outshine you. I think everyone is extremely driven in some area of their life. The trick is to recognize that. To recognize that feeling and harness it to use it in other areas of your life like your business or maybe your relationships.
Whatever it is you want, you must be driven to get it. Find your drive and use it in all areas of your life.
As a entrepreneur, you must get outside of your bubble and seek ideas and thought leadership from other sources. Different sources. These 3 videos will make you think and give you new perspectives and ideas.
This past weekend, I competed in the Ironman World Championships fulfilling a goal I made almost 4 years ago. It was a grueling race on the toughest course on the circuit. As with any race, there are challenges in the moment that must figured out and overcome.
I was a great race overall and the memories will last forever, but I learned some very important lessons that can be used for all areas of life.
Prepare for Adversity
One thing I have learned in racing Ironman for many years is that no matter what, you will face unexpected adversity on the course. You will have to overcome and adjust to it "on the fly." You will not know where it will come from or what it will be until it happens. For example, I was having a very solid race at the World Championships. I had my best swim time ever and put in a really solid bike time on the hardest bike course on the circuit. I nailed my pace on the first half of the marathon. At mile 14, my hamstring started to give me some trouble and I slowed down and walked a little bit. This was also the time of day where the sun was the hottest - 95 degrees in the desert. Seemingly out of nowhere, I was hit with severe de-hydration even though I felt I had hydrated myself better in this race than any other I had ever done. I had to walk most of the back half of the marathon and even had to sit down for a little while to keep my head from spinning. I had prepared myself ahead of time for something like this to happen and to be ready for it. I didn't know if it would happen or what it would be, but mentally, I was ready for it and when it hit, I was able to say, "Ok, we prepared for this. Now, we have to work through it and keep going." Which is what I did to finish.
This type of mentality relates very well to business and entrepreneurship. You must be prepared for adversity and ready to manage it because you don't know where and when it will come. I thought I was going to keep my pace and cruise to a great finish and within about 20 mins, it changed. In business, it could be anything. The loss of a key employee or client. A legal issue. A product flaw that nobody saw. All kinds of things can happen. If you are prepared and ready, you can manage them and get through to success.
Plan Your Race from Beginning to End
One of the things I have gotten better at over the years is taking a lot of time to plan every aspect of my race. I visualize every aspect of the race I can from the time standing in the starting coral, to my transitions, to the different areas of the course itself. I make mental notes and prepare. I plan my nutrition out almost to the exact times I need to take it, etc. In doing this, I can remove most surprises during a race and methodically work my plan as I go. This is how I can finish and do well. Over 3000 people started the race in the World Championship and only about 2200 finished. Some of them had trouble because they didn't plan well enough and were not prepared.
It's the same in business and entrepreneurship. You can never plan for everyting because things just happen- adversity happens. But the more you can plan and prepare, the better chance you have at finishing the race or reaching your goal. Take time each week to think through your business and plan for your success.
You Win in Your Mind
At mile 20 of the marathon, I was at my worse for de-hydration. I could not sweat anymore. Every fluid I tried to take in, came back up. My head was spinning. I had to sit on the side of the road and let myself cool down. I wanted to quit. I did not want to go further. I watched top athletes around me quitting one after another. It was at this time that I had overcome these urges in my mind. I had to will myself to keep going. I had to convince myself that I had more left. With only a few miles to go, I knew it was physically possibly to finish. I had to work through this internal conversation and get my mind to believe. I worked through it and was able to get it up and get going by telling myself, "Just one more step. I'll take one more step." And with one foot in front of the other, I finished.
I've always said that you win in your mind - in just about everything. And sometimes, you have to overcome your mind's limitations. You have to prove to it that it is wrong. This takes sheer will and guts. You will have to do this time and time again in business and entrepreneurship. You are only down and out if you let yourself be down and out. Only you can quit. And people typically quit in their mind before anywhere else. Do the work to develop your mind to overcome the hardest challenges. Be prepared to force you mind to overcome its limitations. If you do this, you will find you are capable of so much more in your life and can keep growing to new levels.
This week marks the 300th episode of the Misfit Entrepreneur! When I started the podcast, I was excited just to do it for my daughter as a passion project. I never expected that I'd be sitting here at 300 episodes writing to all of you who support the show in over 150 countries. I am so grateful for you and want to thank you for all of your support and feedback over the years. 300 episodes is big milestone and it would not be possible without you.
I am also excited because the 300th episode is a Lesson for Hannah episode where I speak directly to my daughter giving her lessons to help her in life. I hope you have been able to take a lot from these episodes as well.
As move on to the next 300 episodes, we will continue to find the best entrepreneurs in their fields and share their best wisdom and success habits with you, but we will also be looking at expanding the impact of the show and doing more with you. So, stay tuned and again, thank you for all of your support!
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