Tired of Throwing Spaghetti Against The Wall And Hoping Something Will Stick For Your Daily Routine?
I've found myself coming back to a simple philosophy over and over. I've debated etching it into my forearm as a reminder – your business only grows as much as you do. If you are in the business of selling ideas (which is all of us) you can often be your biggest obstacle. You can't help but get lost in a spiral of constant busyness because it feels like a race without a finish line. If you're aiming to run a successful business where you're not sleeping on a couch like Elon Musk, because there are not enough hours in the day, you need to get your daily routine on lock.
I'm glad there are people like Elon Musk out there. People who are willing to sacrifice everything to see their mission through. The world is a better place because of his obsession. But it's a slippery slope that often ends in disaster.
We're not all designed or even have a willingness to operate at such breakneck speeds. There's a huge trade-off for what you're doing. Think of good ol' Clark Griswold greasing up his saucer for supersonic speeds, skidding across pavement, sparks igniting him into flames as a bus careens towards his imminent death. You might be able to hold on for dear life while your blood is pumping, but a similar fate awaits most entrepreneurs sucked into the vacuum of the hustle and grind movement.
If you spend any amount of time on social media, you've had the pleasure of playing the comparison game. It does a great job of not leaving anyone out. Everyone is a loser in the end. That's why I pulled the plug earlier this year.
I prefer to make time for a fourth run through of The Office with Lindsey, go to the gym, grab coffee with friends, enjoy breakfast out with my parents, go for walks with my plump little Pug, or read a David Sedaris book.
The hustle and grind mentality pushed by Gary Vaynerchuck and others, may as well be a PSA for burn out. Taking a stance as I have opens you up to the risk of being burned at the stake for having an unwillingness to sacrifice your sanity. It's an ass-backwards approach to creating a business and life.
The sheer number of tasks you jam into a day has no correlation to the quality of what you produce.
One right idea in clarity can do the work of a hundred different actions done in overwhelm.
Having clarity to know which one right action is best is only available to you when things are clear. Cause when you're in overwhelm you can't see clearly.
We so often think we must do something in order to improve ourselves, when very often all that's required is a simple non-doing and letting go of unhelpful habits, behaviours and thoughts. A daily to-do list that resembles a wish list to Santa is about as useful as a clip for half-eaten bags of potato chips in my house.
Maybe you find yourself in a situation where perhaps you're overwhelmed or have experienced something in your mind you don't really like – a thought, an emotion, a pattern of thinking or a behaviour that just won’t stop replaying. The temptation is to think you need to actively do something, to add something in order to change that. But the more closely you look at the dynamic, the more you see that it's actually not about adding something, it's about putting something down. About letting something go.
Think of the movie Wild with Reese Witherspoon. There's a scene where she talks to a fellow hiker and his first words to her are, "Your pack is insane. We need to do a little pruning." He helps her pick out all the things that are useless for where she's going. He gives her the option to leave things behind unless she can give him a good reason as to why she needs to bring it along. Everything you do has to have a purpose. As he joked, "Are you burning what you read? Don't worry you're not going to become a Nazi, but you are going to make your pack a lot lighter."
Do you know where you're going? I sure as hell didn't when I started my business. But answering this question helps you figure out what tools you need to get where you want to go. Now, I know exactly where I'm going and what I need in my pack to get there.
Ever eaten ice cream out of a bowl beside someone in a frenzy to devour their cone in mid-July because they can't keep up with the lick-to-melt ratio? That's what it feels like to have control over your daily life as an entrepreneur. You still get to enjoy the ice cream, but at your own pace. It's not going anywhere. It's contained in a bowl that's manageable. That's what creating a daily routine does for your sanity. You have a big picture of where you're going, but you have the ability to slow down and acknowledge the smaller things that happen every day, so you can find a more stable feeling of appreciation and gratefulness. These are what give you momentum in where you're going and allow you to enjoy the pleasures of life.
Be forewarned, if you adopt the philosophy I'm talking about, you'll be excluded from using the hashtags #hustlelife and #grindneverstops. But you'll gain something much more valuable. You'll discover that despite what you might feel in the moment about your behaviours and routine – feeling like you're stuck with them since they've become habituated, maybe even finding yourself compelled towards those behaviours– you still have a choice that will set you free.
Don't get stuck by thinking you have to add something in order to counteract that feeling of busy = hard work. If you can see your behaviour clearly in the moment and choose to let it go, to take a different path, you actually find what it was you were looking for (clarity). So focus less on adding something and more on the idea of letting go. It's worth repeating what clarity can do for you and your business. One right idea in clarity can do the work of a hundred different actions done in overwhelm.
When you hire someone to do some handy work, you don't hire one person that comes with a hammer and the next day somebody who comes with a saw. They show up with a toolbox based on the project you need help with. If you want to be a successful entrepreneur, you need to figure out what your project is (where you're going/who you want to become), what tools you need (skills to learn) and how you're going to put it together (your daily routine). Master these three things and I promise you, you will be unstoppable.