Where are you in relation to those New Year’s goals you set six months ago? Did you even set ’em?
As the saying goes, hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard. Of course, some people aren’t talented and won’t work hard. Double whammy. Kinda like being stupid AND ugly. Lotsa luck in life, bubba. The other day a member came to me whining about not having time for marketing, to which I asked ONE question—a new question I’m going to start asking EVERYBODY who comes to me with the same complaint. This question is so powerful that I don’t even need to wait for the response to know the answer because I can instantly see a sheepish, wilting response in their demeanor once I ask it. Their face reveals all. You ready for it?
Here goes: What time do you get up and go to work in the morning? In this particular guy’s case, 8:30 a.m. Eight-thirty! Can you guess what my advice to him was about fixing his “no time for marketing” problem? A BIG-ass alarm clock set for 5:00 a.m. with a built-in taser that gives you exactly 30 seconds to get your ass out of bed or it shocks your coin purse. Like many failing to achieve any significant success, he’s got other priorities that are more important to him, namely sleeping in.
If you haven’t seen it, go to www.toolkitlive.com/videoblog and check out my brief interview with Mr. Wonderful, Kevin O’Leary from Shark Tank, on how to achieve work-life balance (his topic suggestion). From it I received a flood of responses, many hot ‘n’ angry, that his comments about entrepreneurs choosing to focus on their business over their family is “disgusting” and “wrong.” I disagree. Strongly. First, I know of a lot of people who DO NOT work long hours and weekends who have rotten relationships with their family, poor health and a considerable amount of general dissatisfaction in their lives; so you can’t argue that taking time off from work to have more “balance” is the key to all our joy and happiness. Second, I also know that money stress destroys families and marriages. As a kid, I was subject to watching my mother mentally crumble, with nightly crying jags lasting for hours, over my father divorcing her for another woman, leaving us homeless and stressing daily about how to pay the rent, electric, etc. SHE spent PLENTY of time with us since she didn’t work, but there was no relationship there. She worried about money until the day she died and would have been living in abject poverty had I not had the money to support her. Moreover, my father at 67 years old is continuing to work and will have to continue to work long into retirement, at a job he doesn’t particularly like in a location away from his home, which is draining his happiness. Where’s the balance there? And how many people do you know in a normal “9-5” who are truly happy, truly feel they have a “balanced” life? Personally, I think the whole concept is a crock designed by lazy people who want the rest of us to slow down and stop making them look bad. What does “balance” mean anyway? And who can possibly maintain that at all times?
Everyone’s life has seasons when certain areas have to take a hit—be it your health, friendships, “me” time and, yes, even sometimes your family. Right now, the season of my life has very little relaxation. I’m running a growth business with two very young and needy children. I won’t sit and complain that I “don’t have time” to relax, watch a movie, spend the weekend lounging at the coffee shop. I have goals. I can’t remember the last time I sat on my deck reading a book, uninterrupted, for leisure. I do have time if I choose to take it, but I don’t because I choose to work. It’s a season. I decided to have the emotional maturity to suck it up and not complain. To be grateful for the opportunity. To just do the work, push the limits and have zero guilt over working long hours and weekends because I’m striving for complete financial freedom for us. I pray for more strength, not less work. And here’s the most important thing: I know for sure that I won’t regret one damn minute of it at the end of my days. I will not look back and say, “Geez, I wish I’d spent less time at work” like the urban-myth deathbed nurses claim everyone says in their final hours. I will look back with pride at my work ethic. I might even wish I had put a little more effort in.
Far too many people are WAAAAY out of balance due to not working, not because they’re overworking. They’re WASTING enormous buckets of time on unimportant, petty things. Facebook. Twitter. Texting. Screwing around at the coffee shop. Surfing online. Starting each day without goals and specific objectives, wandering through the day, checking e-mail every five seconds because they don’t have a clear agenda for what’s MOST important to get done at every moment of their day, “putting in hours” but accomplishing very little. THOSE people should NEVER lament about being “out of balance” or having “no time” to do anything. Bull. How about cutting the sloth and waste first? PLENTY of time freed up. Want to be in the top 5% of the IT business? The top 1%?
Here’s the deal: FOCUS and invest your time on growth- and profit-producing activities, not just “running the shop.” Set your alarm clock EARLY. Outwork everybody else. 95% won’t. So for the serious 5%, I’ve got another issue jam-packed with money- and profit-boosting strategies and ideas that you can EASILY get done if you redirect your focus, cut the waste in your day and actually BE productive. What a concept!