I had epiphany this week! I have spent years at different events and trainings hearing people ask me to come up with a Big “Why”. Come to find out what I really needed was a Big WHAT!
A Big Why
Choosing a “Big Why” is supposed to be motivating. In theory, you pick something like a new car or your kids or some other carrot to hang out in front of yourself that will motivate you to do better work.
Well, I am not motivated by increasing my income. I would like to of course, but when distractions come up, just thinking that I could make more money by ignoring them does not give me any special motivation to stay on track.
Additionally, while I love my kids, just thinking of them is not a great predictor that I will be doing what is the highest and best use of my time for my business at any given moment.
There are just way too many interesting things to read about and learn. There are emails and Facebooks and problems that come up during the week that need to be addressed. Having a Big Why never put a real dent in any of this. I just worked longer and harder on the hampster wheel, trying to get everything done.
A Big What
Like most entrepreneurs, I have spent years having lots on my plates, juggling them and trying to keep them in the air all at the same time. I have tried and succeed at a lot, but spent most of my time feeling like whatever I was working on at any given moment was probably not what I should be doing right then.
Until this January when, wah wah, I found my Big What! This January I decided to write an Ebook a week for a year with my Marketing and Media Monsters partner, Rebekah Welch.
The best thing about having a Big What is the clarity it gives your life. Should we keep doing every other week networking sessions? Nope, not helping to write a book a week. Should we move that to bi-monthly because we can sell some books at them…sure!
Just that decision freed up at least 15 hours a month that can be used for writing and publishing books! YAY!
So does that mean that all we are doing is writing books? Heck no! Just all the things that are put on a priority list have to be a benefit to that…here is what my week looks like with that as my top priority:
Monday – write main content of the book of the week and send to Rebekah to proof and add content. This schedule just got finalized, so this week we have a consult on Monday and a talky-talk thing after the kids get home. My assistant now knows that Mondays are for book writing exclusively. SOOO not the end of the world, but it does mean I have to write on Sunday instead of being able to keep on schedule.
Tuesday – social media and blogging, obsessing over book sales from the weekend and some research into paid marketing opportunities. Meet with Rebekah to go over the content and outline for the following week's book.
Wednesday – work on client work, make graphics for this week's book and promote last week's book. There are very few writers who have the luxury of working on their books full time and I am in that category right now. Also, because we write about marketing, it is good to keep working on client work so I stay up on what is going on in the marketing world by helping them.
Thursday – publish last week's book, more client work, more blogging to keep our numbers strong and think about next week's content.
Friday – send Non Fiction Marketing Newsletter (new), client work and more blogging. Scheduling the following week and doing some research to see if there are any specific book titles we should be considering writing.
Weekends – should be off but since we are effectively a startup right now, blogging and writing next week's book.
Pooh Bear and Why This Works
Most of how I live my life has been formed by reading Pooh during my childhood. This is a great quote to describe my life before a Big Why….
“When you are a Bear of Very Little Brain, and you Think of Things, you find sometimes that a Thing which seemed very Thingish inside you is quite different when it gets out into the open and has other people looking at it.”
― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh
My problem with work has never been a lack of effort. My problem with work centered exclusively on knowing what the highest and best use of my time was at any given moment. By having our big Book Writing Why, I can effectively ignore anything that is not book writing or sales related. I don't care how cool your WordPress plugin is, I need to get this blog post done so I can keep my stats up and sell books in the sidebar.
Want to have a one-on-one with me? Unless you are a book seller or publisher, hanging out with you is a luxury that I cannot afford at this time. Now, that doesn't mean that I won't be doing some really neat consults with coaching clients, but just “getting together for coffee” or “hanging with the girls” is over for a while at least.
Note: if your Big What is to meet 1,000 new people this year then one-on-ones and fun lunches ARE on the table for you…it is all about knowing what matters to you!
Some Other Big Whats
I just spent the other day talking to a gal who is going to be putting 500 people a month into her database. WHOO WHOO..that is a big what. Because she knows that is important, she can safely assume that these activities would be beneficial:
- Blogging (to get more traffic for her email signup form)
- Making her newsletter AMAZING
- Attending events where she can meet more people who might like her newsletter
- Developing white papers and courses to use as free give-aways
- Going to industry events where she can meet more people who might like her
Now, all those sound nice, but how does she make money?
- First off, she does consults so some of the people on that list will want to hire her
- Secondly, when she has a big list people will want her to promote their products
- Lastly there is a huge swell of momentum that comes with having a Big Why, there are definitely things that are going to happen which we can't even conceive of right now!
Picking a Big Why feels like jumping off of a cliff. We don't know if we will make more than a couple of bucks from our books, but we think we can.
Taking time away from “real work” feels like a luxury we can't afford right now. But, based on just the things we have been able to eliminate, that time is just being used more specifically now.
Plus we have already gotten some amazing opportunities that would not have come to pass without having published our books!
As entrepreneurs, it can sometimes feel like everything you do is a failure. You have tried a million things half way and nothing has worked. If you are this far down and still reading, PLEASE, you are looking for a goal, a plan or a reason for being. Pick a Big What and start today!