Text on picture of cute hiding cat: How do you tell when you're avoiding things and when it's something to put your heart and business into?

How do you tell when you’re avoiding things, and when it’s something to put your heart and business into?

Last week I shared details of the pattern of avoiding something with an exciting new project.

It can sidetrack you from doing the work in your business that you need to be doing.

This week I said I’d share how to recognize this pattern.

Sidenote: a project can be almost anything you do in your business that is multiple steps. It might be a marketing plan, program, class, or any number of things.

So, how do you tell when it’s a project or idea that allows you to avoid other things, and when it’s something that you really should be putting your heart and business into?

It can be difficult to differentiate because it can feel the same at the beginning of both types of projects.

One question to ask yourself is, “Why do you want to do this new project/idea?”

One answer to look more into is, “I want it to be easier” (your it might be any number of things).

Sometimes making things easier is a legitimate reason. 

You might be adding a needed system to your business to make it run smoother, or you recognize you’re spending more time and energy on something than you need to be.

Sometimes making things easier is legitimate, but isn’t actually a priority.

Moving your email marketing system from your current system to a more expensive and robust system might be something you’ll need to do when you get to a certain point. Still, if you’re not going to be using even half of the features, it’s probably best to wait a bit.

Other times making things easier is a way of avoiding something in your business.

If things are falling through the cracks and lots of important tasks don’t get completed, you can decide you’ll only focus on that one big project for a while. However, without the skill of knowing how to keep track of the things you want to accomplish in your business (this is a skill, most of us aren’t born knowing how to do these things), you’ll feel even farther behind after the project is over and you still have all that other stuff to do.

This is the pattern for most answers to “Why do you want to do this new project/idea?”

Some of the reasons are legitimate, some are legitimate but not a priority, and other reasons allow you to avoid things.

At one pivotal point in my business, I realized that I was hopping from one great idea to another to avoid learning essential business skills by telling myself that this new thing would quickly bring in money. It never did.

I needed income, and it felt like nothing was working.

I did what I tell my clients to do; I took a step back and evaluated what worked and what hadn’t worked.

The good news was some things worked that I didn’t realize.

The bad news was that skill that I was avoiding was holding me back in almost everything else.

I created a new project for myself that made learning and using that skill a priority. I knew it wasn’t going to make me immediate money, but not learning and being comfortable with that skill was costing me a lot (and later, I invested in a program build on that knowledge).

I still found myself evaluating this project periodically because I kept wondering if this was my new distraction. It wasn’t.

Here’s why I knew the new project wasn’t a distraction:

  1. It helped me build and exercise a skill that I needed to move forward in my business. 
  2. I knew it wasn’t prudent to move forward with any other projects until I completed this one.
  3. I had clear goals and tracking metrics created to track my progress.
  4. I gave myself more time to set it up and do it. This didn’t mean I waited months. In reality, it meant instead of going from idea to release in 2-3 weeks, I did it in a little over four weeks (in this case, that extra week really did make a big difference).

If these things had been present, it might have been a distraction:

  1. If I do this, it will make all my other problems disappear (the magic pill or magic wand type of solution).
  2. The feeling of I must do this thing now, while the idea and motivation are fresh. If it’s a good idea, it will continue to be a good idea even when the idea/motivation is no longer fresh.
  3. I’m ignoring a skill I know I need to learn.

Doing the project was uncomfortable. It pushed against my comfort zone, I was learning something that doesn’t come naturally to me, and many days I was not motivated to keep going. 

Next week I’ll share what I did that allowed me to complete the project despite the uncomfortableness and lack of motivation.

Are you wondering if your new idea or project is a distraction or not? Bring it to the Your Productivity Break meeting on Wednesdays at 1pm Central (join the FB group, Productivity for Women Entrepreneurs, for the details) or send me a private message.

Picture of a map with the text: The roads weren't on her map

The roads weren’t on her map! (A cute story about being lost)

Scene: My sweet aunt-in-law has an appointment with a new-to-her specialist in the neighboring town.

​Armed with the address and a map, she leaves extra early to find the office. But she can’t find it and misses her appointment.

Later, my lovely mother-in-law (her sister) tries to help her find it.

Neither woman has a smartphone; what they do have is their trusty paper map.

Together they attempt to find the office using their map.

They fail two more times and miss another appointment.

Nate (my husband) and I visit later that week, and they tell their frustrating story.

Nate pulls up Google Maps on his laptop and pops in the address. My MIL is confused; some roads aren’t on her map!

The problem?

The trusty paper map that has served them well for many years was dated 2007. It didn’t show the redevelopment that happened for a new Walmart that went in around 2012. 

The office they were looking for was in an older building that is BEHIND the Walmart.

I love these ladies and their can-do attitudes dearly. 

They were determined to figure it out by themselves and didn’t hesitate to ask for help after their attempts failed.

What does this cute little story have to do with you?

Are there areas of your business that aren’t working as well as they used to?

Maybe things that used to be easy or go like clockwork don’t anymore. 

It might be time to take a step back and reevaluate the situation.

And, in some cases, ask a trusted outsider for help or perspective.

I invite you to join me next week (Thursday, July 23 at 4 pm CT) for my webinar, 3 Keys to Getting The Right Things Done Each Day. The three keys I’ll share will also help you take a step back and evaluate where you are and what might need to be updated. Click here for the details and to register to join me.

The Business Bunny Hop

I’ve heard some version of “I feel like for every two steps forward I take, I also take a step back” over the past couple of weeks.

It makes me think of the bunny hop (forward, backward, hop, hop, hop, and then a little dance).

It’s not always forward movement, but overall, you are making progress.

Sometimes, it can feel like you’re not moving forward, despite all the work you’re doing.

Other times you move forward and then find yourself back where you started.

Then there are those times where it feels like you made significant progress.

Where ever you find yourself, know that you’re on the dance floor. It’s all part of the business bunny hop.

If you’re ready for more consistent forward movement in your business, let me know, because I can help you with this! Comment below or send me a message letting me know you want to set up a Strategy Session with me.

When it’s not fair

why-do-we-get-so-stressed-outI was driving home and was at a point where two lanes merged into one shortly after an intersection. The cars ahead of me nicely merged together like a zipper, well before the lane ended. I left space to allow the car slightly ahead of me in the other lane to merge into.

That’s what you do, right?

Well, he didn’t merge. Instead, he attempted to get two cars ahead by speeding up past the cars ahead of me.

No one let him in. The car directly ahead of me actually sped up to make sure he couldn’t get in. So, he ended up directly in front of me anyway.

I don’t know what was going through the minds of the people ahead of me, but I imagined it was along the lines of “it’s not your turn you have to wait” or “Nope, no way you’re getting ahead of me.”

And I was struck by the fairness of it all. He had to wait his turn, it was only fair.

I laughed when he had to merge in front of me, but maybe not for the reason you think.

I laughed because none of it actually mattered. It wasn’t going to make any difference in how quickly any of us reached our destinations.

In fact, about half a mile later, the car that sped up to block the merge turned onto a side street! It wouldn’t have cost him any time to let someone merge ahead of him.

Why do we get so stressed out about these things?

In the above example, there was a commitment to fairness playing out – you have to wait your turn, that’s what’s fair.

It made me think of where I’m committed to fairness and where other people might be.

But how might a commitment to fairness show up in your business?

  • Someone with a similar product/service comes to the networking group that you’ve been attending for a while and everyone is raving about how great their product/service is – but no one has done that for you and you’re annoyed or frustrated. After all, you’ve been there much longer than she has.
  • You’re in a group program and you find out one of the other members is getting something you’re not and instead of asking about it, you compare notes with everyone else and stew on it.
  • Everyone gets x amount of time to talk about their business at your favorite networking group and you’re really annoyed when someone takes more time, after all, you didn’t get to talk that long.
  • Someone just started a business similar to yours and is having more success than you are, but you started first! You should be having that success!

Here’s the thing, being fair isn’t necessarily a bad thing. And fairness is taught to us from a very young age (stand in line and wait your turn).

So, it’s completely natural to find yourself miffed when you perceive something isn’t fair.

But here’s an important question to consider: Does being upset about the unfairness serve you or your business?

In the examples above, the answer is no. Being upset about unfairness only wastes your time and energy.

One of the other things happening in all the above examples is comparison. You compared yourself to them and it led to a feeling of unfairness, a thought that tells you they got something you didn’t and that’s not fair. As a result, there’s an underlying “me vs them” mentality.

What if instead of getting upset about it, you did one or both of these things below?

  1. Notice what you’re feeling and get curious about where that’s coming from for you.
  2. Get curious about the other person.
    If they’re more successful than you are, get curious about what they’re doing differently.
    If someone received an extra or bonus in a program you both participate in, get curious and ask (without judgment of them or you) how/why they received that bonus.

Opportunities to learn and connect are lost when you’re worried about fairness or comparing yourself to others.

Where do you notice yourself worried about fairness or comparing yourself to others? How does it show up for you?

If you’re feeling brave, share in the comments below.

Days that start badly

Early in this blog’s history, I shared Stop that Bad Day. The gist of it is that my day started with a shattered glass full of orange juice and make-up on my shirt. I think I left the house in my third shirt of the day (and there weren’t any kids involved, just me).

I could have assumed that these things meant the rest of my day was going to only get worse from there.

Instead, I decided that the worst of the day was behind me. It would be clear sailing from there!

I’ll admit that I don’t remember the specifics of the day (it was almost 6 years ago).

However, we all have days like that. Days that start badly.

What do you do when that happens?

How do you react?

  • I should have just stayed in bed – these things always seem to happen to me.
  • The day would have been good if these things hadn’t happened. I wonder what else will go wrong today?
  • Oops, well, I know not to do that that way again.
  • I’m glad no one else was affected!
  • That was an interesting morning! Let’s clean it up!
None of the reactions are bad. But I bet there’s one that is how you immediately react and another that’s how you’d like to respond.

Our responses are interesting because they happen so quickly. Most the time we’re well into it before we even notice what’s happening.

And that doesn’t go just for days that have bad starts.

It goes for everything.

And other’s pick up on that energy – even when we don’t notice it.

So, what can you do about it? How can you shift your default reaction?

It starts with noticing how you currently react. That’s it. You don’t have to do anything about it right away, just start noticing it.

Then think about how you’d like to respond. What would that look like? feel like?

And if you’d like some help with that – I’m hosting a free interactive webinar on June 15 at 1pm CT. I’d love it if you joined me. You can find all the details here.