Chloe has a children’s book titled Milton’s Secret: An Adventure of Discovery through Then, When, and the Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle and Robert S. Friedman, which really simplifies the concept of living in the present moment, and how the practice of that will, for the boy in the story, eliminate fear and worry.
I wanted to explore that as it pertains to your business, with a slightly different slant. I wonder if you, like so many of my clients, and myself as well from time to time, are so hooked into the future that we’re missing the NOW and not fully enjoying the journey?
So how do we unhook from it to allow what we truly want to come to pass without always feeling like we’re striving for it? Here are 5 ideas:
1. Let go of the goals that take you away from the present.
Let me say first that you can have everything you want – and there’s no judgement here on what those things are.
That being said, do you want a mansion, to be the #1 speaker in your market, to be the one with the biggest email list in your market, to be a New York Times bestselling author, to make a million dollars? There’s nothing wrong with any of those lofty (and completely attainable) goals.
And, what happens is when we’re so focused on the sexy dream we tend to get ourselves so riled up about getting there that we miss all the amazing stuff happening NOW.
What I’ve noticed is that people get impatient, sad, frustrated, and even angry when they’re so focused on the future goal that the present seems uninteresting at best, despairing at worst. The antidote? See #2.
2. Polish the present
I want to encourage you to stop striving so hard and thrive in your present. What I mean is that if you make what you already have better, and polish what’s already good and working, you uplevel your life without expending that energy on something that doesn’t exist yet.
Yes, it’s about appreciating what’s already good and right in your world and in your business AND it’s about how you can make what’s already there fulfill you even more. It’s true that if you make the most of what you already have, you’ll get more and better of it with a lot less effort on your part.
3. Don’t plan so much
I’m all about having the big picture plan down to the day-to-day details, and yet I know that most of the time, the plan changes.
One of the reasons we – as business owners – plan so much is because it gives us a sense of control and it helps to alleviate the fears and doubts we have about knowing what we’re doing.
So have the plan and be willing to be flexible with it. Let it be a guide but not the only way. If you get wrapped up in THE PLAN you’ll actually hold yourself and your business back from being able to adapt quickly when things change – and they always do.
Assess if you spend more time planning than doing – and if you do, stop right now. And if you tend to fly by the seat of your pants more often than not, you might want a lightly-built framework around you to give you some sense of stability.
4. Get out of the striver’s club
Stop trying to acquire a better future with others who are striving. It’s just too exhausting. I’m not saying to surround yourself with lazy folks, but to get out of the overdrive club if you want to relax into a currently compelling present instead of an exhausting still ‘out there somewhere’ future.
5. Get off the ‘if/when’ rollercoaster
I admit this is a pet peeve of mine. Not from people who are decisive, but from people who use it as an excuse to not be happy now. When you make ‘if/when’ statements, you’re living in the future. Dreaming and visioning is one thing; otherwise it’s a holding pattern for you but even worse, you’re not enjoying where you’re at right now!
I’d love to know your thoughts on how to unhook from the future so you can enjoy the present – please leave your comments below.
Falling into fear and doubt as you build your business is normal, but there are many things you can do to catch yourself before you fall into what I call the Well of Despair. The Well of Despair is that cold, dark, spinning place filled with fear and doubt like…
“Can I really do this?”
“If this really going to work?”
“I’m putting in so much effort and it feels like I’m not getting anything in return.”
“I’m uncomfortable talking about my business because
I’m not where others think I should be and I feel like a failure.”
First, take heart. We’ve all been there, and back again. And while there are many things you can do to climb out of the Well of Despair or keep from falling into it in the first place, one of the most effective is to simply manage your own expectations about your rate of success. I’m defining success in this case as ‘consistent cash flow’ so here’s a time-tested (over 10 years) timeline to cash flow for your online business.
Knowing this timeline will allow you to manage your expectations, relieving fear and doubt that you’re doing things wrong or that you’re not doing enough. It also allows you to plan ahead so you can move faster through each of the phases OR pace yourself as best fits your lifestyle. The timeline also tells you what to focus on now or what to focus on next.
If you’re implementing the relationship model of building your business, it’s important to be prepared for the time it takes to build your business (this is not a get-rich-quick model, but a potentially highly profitable one with sustainability) and to set realistic expectations of when you’ll start to see a profit from your offerings.
Phase 1: Market and Message
You’ll move through Phase 1 typically within the first 3 months in your building your business. This is when you’re focusing on the problems you solve for your market. This includes discovering and defining the biggest challenges your market struggles with, and researching and/or creating the solutions.
Phase 2: Building Your List
Once you’re clear on who your market is and what solutions you offer to them, you’ll move into Phase 2, which is all about building your list. Currently, we’re striving to attract 500-1500 people to our email list by offering them a free sample of what we do. We start this process right after Phase 1 and focus on building the list as part of our on-going marketing efforts.
Phase 3. Making Offers
This is when you start focusing on how to generate an income with your multiple streams. This is typically done from month 7 onward.
This timeline will give you a sense of how long it can take to get to consistent (or even any) cash flow in your business, as well as stave off any frustration and overwhelm you may feel as you get your online business off the ground or continue to build it. Remember, it takes twice as much fuel for a jet to take off as it does to cruise at altitude. It’s the same in your business. You’re putting in more effort in the beginning but you’ll be cruising later.
Of course this is just a typical timeline. You can always move through it faster or slower, depending on your time and efforts.
I go into this Timeline in a lot more detail with my private clients as well as in our L.E.A.P.™ programs, so if you’d like to learn more, go here.
Where are you in the timeline and what’s your next step? I’d love to know so feel free to leave share your thoughts below…
I’ve personally invested over $100k in my own business education (not including my MBA) and I’ve leveraged that investment into well over a half-million dollars in the last few years.
I’ve said before that I will make my million – in my time and on my terms. And because I’m sensing this strong undercurrent of desperation in many business owners about making 6 or 7 figures, I wanted to invite you to take a different tact:
Ask yourself, what’s the least income you can make right now and still live a happy life?
Not ‘I want to make a million dollars by the time I’m 40’ and you’re 39 now and the most you’ve ever made is $50k. Not ‘I want to make 6 figures by the end of 2013’ and your current monthly revenue is $2k.
So, what’s the least you can make that will take you to that very next step in your vision – not the BIG vision – but just the next bump up?
What’s the least amount of money you can bring in that will give your current lifestyle the boost that will make you smile, that will make you feel and know you’re moving forward, and that will continue to motivate you onward?
You see, I’ve been asking myself the same question lately. And the reason is because I’ve been starting to feel really stressed in my business and frankly I’m not having as much fun as I used to in it either.
And because of a few other things that are attributing to this feeling of heaviness that are outside my business, I’ve been feeling a need to shift things. Just small shifts for now, while allowing the bigger shifts to more fully form without pushing them into fruition until next year.
So here’s my answer to this question and how you can figure it out for your own business too:
Step 1: Get cash clear
Get crystal clear on how much money you really need to live the lifestyle that you’re happy with, not the one you’re striving for (I guarantee when you give up this grip, money will flow more abundantly to you).
This may mean having a conversation with a spouse or partner. Do it. Especially if you are in a financial partnership with someone else, you’re likely not the only one feeling the push and the pressure for more. Do yourselves both a favor and figure out what’s the minimum level for you. You may be able to give up or put aside one or more of your current income streams so you can have more of the time freedom you crave, knowing you still have enough to enjoy your life.
Step 2: Be sure all your eggs aren’t in one basket
If you’re relying on high-end pricing and programs to carry your business, you may be setting yourself up for a financial fall. Your clients and customers are being more and more discriminating about where they’re spending their money – and that’s not going to change anytime in the near future, not while our economic outlook is still bleak.
Be sure to have different ways in which you can serve your market, not just one-on-one. Offer lower priced programs and products to help more people as well as to diversify your cash flow.
Step 3: Build your business around your life
This is a mindset shift for many people. But if you’re in business for yourself, isn’t it so you can design the life you want to live? Not so you can work more, but so you can work less, and still enjoy a great life with the income to support it?
In order to do that, you have to schedule your life first, then your business-building activities around that. This is how I’ve been able to take off almost 3 months every summer for the last 7 years. My business doesn’t suffer; in fact, it grows because of my commitment to this principle.
Figure out how to make the money you want for the next level of your business (again, not the BIG vision, just the next bump up) in the time that is left after you’ve planned the life you want to live first. Then ask for the support or hire the team you need to help you make this happen.
When you put your life first, the time towards what makes you happy, the focus on just the next bump while you tend to LIVING, all the ‘more’ you want (which we all want, by the way – we are all here to grow and to be, do, and have more) will come. This I know for sure.
I’d love to know your thoughts on this – please leave your comments below.