Persistence is a funny concept. On one hand, it is a glorious, motivating being who propels you forward into previously unimagined consequences. On the other hand, it sometimes drags you down in the bowels of despair thinking, “is this all that will ever be?”
This is year is a pivotal year for me. I have been plugging along, building bits of my business up and letting some other bits fall by the wayside. I have had brainstorms that amounted to less than a shower and crackpot ideas that blossomed into full downpours. What I can say is that through it all, the main reason I am so excited for the year is that I have never stopped. Losing momentum is the biggest dream killer there is…keep going forward whether you know where you are going or not, at least along the way you will have produced something.
My Top 10 Thoughts About Persistence (in a somewhat top to bottom order)
1. No excuses
Okay, this is not my thought, it is Chris Brogan's thought. He has dubbed this the year of #noexcuses. Check out his post My Goals Don't Care
2. Alchemy and getting to do what you love
This next one is probably one of the coolest things I have ever heard. If you are not a writer, substitute your industry for writing. Pressed for time, start at minute 22 (the link for the podcast is at the bottom of the page). The Rocking Self Publishing Podcast
Big hairy audacious goals. This one is a tripper-upper. You need to have specific tasks that break down your goals and make sure that you have enough bandwidth to accomplish them. Our BHAG this year is to publish a book a week. I just did my calendar and accomplishing that means that some other things that I have had as pet projects have to go away (for now).
You cannot be successful if you are flopping all around, doing what feels right at any given moment. We are planners starting at monthly (what our monthly theme is to accomplish) then moving down to daily. If you have BHAGs but have not put time into your calendar, they will not magically get accomplished. Figure out what you want to accomplish this year or month or even week and set up your calendar making that a priority.
5. What You Like To Do
I KNOW, there are bits of your business you HAVE to do (banking is one of those for me). That said, you need to whittle the things that you hate to do out of your life. I am not talking about “outsourcing everything” as that rarely works (except for Tim Ferris). Get the horrible things contained in one day a month or do 5 minutes of them every day, whichever you work best at. Find a partner or team member that is good at what you are not and share. When you dread doing something it takes on HUGE proportions that are way out of sink with reality.
Then you will free up time to do what you love. If you are a small business owner, you should be spending most of your time loving life!
6. Make A Plan
Now that you have freed up time for your favorite bits, make a rock solid plan for what you are trying to accomplish. Put EVERYTHING you would like to do on a big giant list, brainstorm with your friends and business contacts to get a REALLY BIG LIST. Now, figure out what your major goal is…could be to make money, could be a building year, could be anything, depends on you! Now, figure out which of those things fit into your major goal. Do those things until you are done and don't do anything else that is not vital in the meantime. Crap will always try to creep in…to succeed you HAVE to put on your crap deflectors.
7. Stop Yelling At Yourself
That voice in your head will be FREAKING out right now. She will tell you that you are dumb for thinking that this can work. She will tell you how you have failed in the past and that you are currently the biggest loser on the planet. She will run through a list of your failures, starting with the fact that you quit band in 10th grade and move forward with a highlight reel of all your shortcomings. The cool thing about having a major plan and LOTS to do is that she doesn't get to talk all that much because you are busy. When she does pipe up, tell her to shut up and review what you have to do today to accomplish your BHAGs!
8. Stop Reliving Past Failures
This is a big one for me! We are getting ready to launch another pretty big project and it is something that I semi, sorta, kinda, tried before. I got dragged there kicking and screaming and it failed (go figure). So this time, that stupid voice is jingling back there, you aren't good at this, you tried this already and it didn't work. Well, to be honest, I didn't actually try. I did the limp handshake thing and did the absolute minimum required. If you have something on your goals that you did try before, be honest with yourself…if you tried your hardest and it failed, maybe you need to pivot and do something similar but not exactly the same, if you didn't try and failed, imagine what would happen if you gave it your all!
9. Learn Something
You can't do amazing things alone. You need a team to help like coaches, mastermind partners, brainstorm friends AND people who know what to do! I spend all my time not working listening to smart people. I have books on tape and podcasts downloaded. I read articles and watch YouTube videos that fill me with hope and help explain things. The people I see who are stuck, honestly believe that there is no time to educate themselves. They are in a rut and just churning down there, never looking up to see the light at the top. If you are “too busy” to learn things, you are probably busy at the wrong bits.
10. Living The Dream
Every one of us who owns our own business needs to take a moment and consider what that means. Want a raise, work harder. Want a bigger raise, work smarter. Want to take a day off? Take it, just work harder the next day. If you are self employed, get down on your knees right now and thank goodness you are not working for the man, that you are master of your own destiny and that this year is going to be the best one ever!