Learn to Say No
During the initial phase of your business, you many have a very strong urge to adopt a “Jack of all trades,” mentality. This can show that you’re flexible and adaptive, and you feel your company will benefit from the much-needed work that has to be done -- in all areas -- possibly for free.
However, by always saying yes you may take on too many small projects that, cash flow aside, can take away time and energy from focusing on the bigger picture of your business goals.
Focus and structure are two critical ingredients of entrepreneurial success. Success rarely comes when you’re a “jack of all trades,” but a master of none. Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. Time isn’t scaleable. Focus.
Understand & Respect Parkinson’s Law
C. Northcote Parkinson, the author of Parkinson’s Law or The Pursuit of Progress, coined the adage:
“Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.”
For example, I want you to choose a task that you find difficult or stressful. Got it? If I give you two weeks to complete that hard task, you’ll likely wait 13 days and then scramble at the last minute to get it finished. Most times humans will naturally avoid things with which they’re unfamiliar, things that scare them, or things they’re not good at.
Don’t create a mountain out of a molehill.
Focus on the task you find the hardest or most challenging first thing in the morning. Your brain is working at peak performance and you’re not yet being bombarded by calls, emails, and other distractions so you can focus on completing the project quickly. This way, the task that may be uncomfortable or daunting won’t be lurking over you all day and you won’t find ways to keep busy to avoid it.
Don’t be Paralyzed by Perfection
You will be more successful by getting more tasks accomplished at 90% than stressing about making each and every one 100% perfect. While attention to detail is very important, there are many tasks that don’t require a huge level of scrutiny and perfection. Save your energy to focus on the tasks that truly must be perfect and get the others off your plate quickly.
Effort and intention will many times overshadow any small errors or imperfections. Focus on providing consistent value and authentic relationships and watch your success skyrocket.
Accept That Failure Is Guaranteed
Failure is inevitable.
Successful entrepreneurs allow themselves to take small, frequent risks, that if eventually fail, will have a minimal impact on the overall success of a project.
Then, when the same entrepreneur is faced with a large decision that could have a significant impact on an entire project, they’ll feel more confident in their ability to make a decision because they’ve learned from all of their previous experiences. Failure is one of the fastest ways to solve a problem.
The sooner you accept that failure is not only an option but an eventual certainty, the faster you stop using it as a crutch to your success. Charles Swindoll once said,
“I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it.”
Self-awareness can be a key part of your entrepreneurial success, but if unchecked it can also be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. Millionaire entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk speaks regularly about self-awareness and its impact on one’s ability to achieve success as an entrepreneur. Watch his video below.
When it comes to self-awareness, the ability to be honest with yourself and truly understand and go all in on your strengths is challenging for many. Our society has spent years and made trillions on the concept of self-help books, classes, online training, groups, etc… all designed to help you become a more rounded person.
Successful entrepreneurs -- heck even regular 9-5’ers -- should tackle their weaknesses a bit differently. Instead of focusing so much attention on their weaknesses, they can place more effort and focus on their strengths.
For example, you know you’re bad design but amazing at presenting/speaking. Are you going to kill yourself trying to design an amazing presentation deck or are you going to hire a bad-ass designer to knock it out in a quarter of the time?
This concept applies in many similar situations, especially when it comes to the challenges of being an entrepreneur. Focus more of your time on the things you’re naturally gifted at and surround yourself with the support needed to pick up the slack in the areas you’re weak.
“Self-awareness isn’t only just betting on your strengths, it’s accepting all your shortcomings.” - Gary Vaynerchuk
While focusing on your strengths is important, I’m not saying that you should completely forget about the areas in which you are weak. Your goal should be to put yourself in situations that allow you to be successful by focusing your efforts and time spent on activities in which you excel.
As your success is achieved you should enable to hire the “yin” to your “yang” whose strengths are your weaknesses, allowing you both to be infinitely more happy and likely more successful.