The seduction of possibilities
So when was the last time you were seduced?
No, no, no – not by that stunning neighbor, but by those intriguing business possibilities that you come across?
Let’s face it: There’s no shortage of business-building options out there. Part of the massive information overload facing all entrepreneurs is offers of the latest and greatest way to build your mailing list, your revenues, your bottom line, your productivity, your self-image…You name it, there’s a product out there to help you get more of it.
It’s a classic case of “too much of a good thing.”
If you succumb to the lure of every well-designed marketing campaign that finds its way to your inbox, the chances are excellent that you’ll lose focus, drastically decrease your effectiveness, and sabotage your success.
Do you flail or do you focus?
So the question becomes, how exactly do you decide how to distinguish between tempting distractions and golden opportunities? Start by using the following strategies to become profitably discriminating in your choice of actions.
Define your overarching goal with crystalline focus.
It can be challenging to state your goals in terms of desired outcomes rather than methods for achieving those goals. However, it’s well worth the effort to do just that.
By focusing on outcomes rather than methods, you’ll find it easier to remember your big “why”, the ultimate reason you’re doing the work you do. On the other hand, by getting caught up in methods, you’re likely to get paralyzed by what Mike Dooley calls “the cursed hows”.
For example, someone may state her goal as to “Replace 75% or more of my paycheck income with revenues from my business by MM/DD/YY.” This clearly stated goal implicitly reminds her why she’s building this business: to enable her to leave a (potentially) toxic work environment to directly serve her ideal clients on her own terms.
While the overall goal is clearly stated, she has left the methods open. This means that she’s less likely to insist that there’s only one way to build those revenues. This keeps her mind open to possibilities that are genuine opportunities for reaching her goal. She can earn revenues through product sales, one-on-one consulting, teaching classes in her area of expertise through a local college’s continuing education program, creating a high-value membership program, becoming an affiliate marketer for a program she herself has found to be of value…By not insisting on a particular method of earning money, she creates for herself a greater chance of actually doing so.
Clearly identify the criteria that must be met by a new possible course of action in order for it to be worthy of you devoting your scarce resources to it.
Easy-to-apply criteria will enable you to ruthlessly assess whether a new possibility that presents itself contributes to your goal or distracts from it.
You’ll be readily able to answer a key question with well-designed criteria: “Why am I considering doing this?” In other words, how do you expect this activity to propel you closer to your goal? If you can’t come up with a clear, compelling answer, then the possibility is a distraction, not an opportunity, and you get to confidently pass it by.
This is one of the many action steps that’s easier said than done for many entrepreneurs. To remind yourself that it’s absolutely essential not to waste your time on activities that don’t demonstrably contribute to your success, consider posting on your computer a sticky note that asks, “What do I expect to get out of this activity?”
Respond thoughtfully rather than react impulsively.
When a possibility presents itself, start your thoughtful evaluation of it by taking a deep breath and reviewing your overarching goal. This will help keep you from getting swept along by enthusiasm for an activity which may not be in your long-term best interests. (It’s also a good way to deal with resistance.)
When you approach your choices strategically, intentionally, and consciously, you’re far more likely to make effective and profitable choices than you would be if you simply reacted and jumped into action without thinking. Also, this approach will make it easier for you to apply the next strategy for effective business building.
Stay focused yet flexible.
This can be a tricky one.
While you don’t want to be distracted from your thoughtfully chosen course of action by the latest and greatest marketing idea, neither do you want to ignore an option that genuinely fits into your strategic plan for achieving your desired outcomes.
Once again, if you’re clear on what you want to accomplish, you’re far more likely to be committed to the most effective path possible without becoming rigidly locked into it.
So what strategies have you found that make it easier to stay faithful to your vision of what you want your business to be? How do you avoid being seduced by those tempting offers that bombard you daily?
Or are you still at the stage where you still haven’t figured out what the hell your overarching goal is, much less how to go about achieving it? If that sounds all too familiar, maybe I can help.
One of my best things is showing my entrepreneurial clients how to toss aside the extraneous and focus on the important. In other words, they get clear, confident, and focused about what needs doing and why.
Is that something you can benefit from? Definitely. Am I the right person to work with you on it? Maybe.
One way to find out if we’d suit each other is to get acquainted by phone. By asking and answering some questions, we’ll both get a good sense of whether we’d work well together…or not.
It’s easy to arrange for this nobody’s-committed-to-nothin’ get-acquainted call. Just contact me directly at 319-270-1214 to set up a time to talk. You can also email me; just put “Seduction isn’t all it’s cracked up to be” in the subject line. We’ll spend some time on the phone and come to a mutually comfortable decision about whether we start work yesterday, wish each other well and say good-bye, or re-explore the possibility at a future date. Whichever option we choose, we’ll both feel good about it.
(By the way, thanks to WayTru for posting the image of the wine cork in the Creative Commons section of Flickr.)This entry was posted in business development, choice and tagged effectiveness, focus. Bookmark the permalink.