To be an entrepreneur is to become an expert. An expert in failure. An expert in continual development. An expert at resilience. But expertise doesn’t just happen, it takes practice, refinement and process.
After all, the saying goes that it’s not until you hit 10,000 hours of practice until you become an expert. Just like you would for a marathon it takes preparation and training. Truth is there isn’t a manual on how to be an entrepreneur, in many senses it’s a way of life that you almost throw yourself into and bludgeon your way through.
The five actions below are how I focus my mind and manage my mental well-being. I write them as much as a reminder for myself as a hpe that someone else will find them useful. As always, experiment, everyone has their own methods that work for them:
- Plan each day. It doesn’t have to be a novel, in fact it’s better than it isn’t. It can be digital it can even be a post-it note, but it needs to be a tangible, written plan.Every day I set 3-4 tasks that I’m going to achieve that will help me along your path. Make them meaningful, and most importantly, digestible. There is no point setting a goal of ”become a multi millionaire” if you’re not going to realistically achieve it on this Wednesday.
Instead a more effective goal would be “make 5 cold calls”, “contact 3 suppliers” and so on.
I Religiously set my tasks for the day every day. Any new ideas go into a list and don’t get touched until the tasks of the day are done and dusted.
My Goals for today:
1) Negotiate for a domain that I want for a new web-store.
2) Complete a Cost analysis for a client.
3) 3 articles on a website that I’ve neglected lately.
4) Research and order two new products.
- Have a long term goal. That’s where the big picture comes in.Have One goal, whatever it is you really want. A million Dollars, Freedom, A Porsche. Whatever it is.
Got it? Great. Now Drill down. What will enable that. 3-5 circumstances that will produce that goal.
The aim is to form a short mission statement.
For Example. Goal: Not to have to go into an office every day. Factor 1: $5m Factor 2
- Take some time to reflect. It’s very easy to fall into the trap of thinking that you need to work 20 hours a day and let’s face it, sometimes it’s a necessary evil. But often, it’s the result of paying so much attention to what is essentially ‘noise’. Things that aren’t critical and perhaps are even distracting.
Just as a car will either break down or run out of fuel if you set it off on a road at 150kph and don’t let it stop, so will you if you continually burn at an alarming rate day in day out can and it will destroy you in the long run, be it mentally or physically.
Just as you’d stop, let the car cool down, check fluids and fuel and maybe even give it a tune up, so should you undertake regular maintenance on yourself.
Do something that makes your soul glow. Get some rest. Go for a drive, have a jam, meditate. Whatever works for you, set aside some down time in your week and preferably each day to do it – It doesn’t have to mean going for a long stroll of hours on end.
On a Daily level, generally I spend 15-30 mins in the morning either meditating. It’s not all crossed-legged and ‘ohms’, sometimes it is as simple as reflecting and releasing any accumulated thoughts. I liken it to a build up of paperwork that I take 30 mins a day at 5 each morning to sort. I might have an electronic to do list up, I might jot some notes in my journal, I might simply use the time to take in some news on the TV or listen to music. I sit somewhere dark and comfortable, even if it is in the back of my van, breathing deeply, and logically thinking through things I might have inadvertently chosen let get to me and walking my conscious mind through the activities of the day.
I also recommend doing whatever you choose to do for your, let’s call it “self-therapy”, alone. I love my family immensely but tending to my young daughter or the misses means that my mind is pre-occupied with actively engaging with them rather than having a focused amount of time to deal with and acknowledge your current state.
Of course, family time is important to, so I end each day by literally saying out loud, with a smile, ”that’s work done for the day”. That’s whether I’ve been in meetings, clients offices, my own office or simply checking emails. It’s a symbol that I have achieved all that was required or possible for that day, which sub-consciously lets me know that from thereon in my focus is just on enjoying my family and maybe even relaxing!
- Realise what isn’t actually important.It’s so easy to get side tracked by the little things. Today for example, I missed out on a cheap domain name and no doubt it will pop up for sale by a domain squatter. I was furious as it was just a case of being too distracted to remember.
Stuff can and will go wrong. Daily, Weekly, Monthly. Focus on the wins and ask yourself ‘does it really matter, or was it just a ‘nice to have’ ‘. If the latter, accept that it’s done and move on and if the former, make a plan to fix it rather than dwelling on the emotions of the situation. Shave it down to facts. What are the implications of the issue, what can and can’t you do to address it and is it actually important?
- Don’t forget to live.This is probably the most important. It’s easy to focus on business, work, whatever you call it and before you know it, another year has gone.
Remember you’re doing it for the goals but there needs to be more life too. So plan a holiday with the family. Go for that walk in the sun. Build something that will enable you to not have to constantly be building something so you can live life to its fullest. Take it seriously, but not all the time.
Don’t be so focused that you forget to tell your loved ones that you love them, this time is temporary so spend it wisely!