Is An Entrepreneur Different?

Check this article out that I wrote on my other site, YourEntrepreneurLife.com.

http://yourentrepreneurlife.com/2015/11/16/are-you-different/

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Don’t Be a Boov

Here’s a post from my other blog: Your Entrepreneur Life

http://yourentrepreneurlife.com/2015/11/12/dont-be-a-boov/

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When It’s All Said and Done…

http://yourentrepreneurlife.com/2015/11/10/when-its-all-said-and-done/

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Doing More of What Makes Me Feel Good.

Your Entrepreneur Life

“If it makes you happy…it can’t be that bad.” or so Sheryl Crow says.

Am I calling forth my inner hedonist?  Steak dinners with my favorite Malbec.  Massages.  Chilling out by the beach.  Celebrating with friends.  Being lazy.  Doing what I feel like.

“If it makes you happy…then why are you so sad?” the song continues.

Do you know what makes you feel good–really?  Maybe you should find out.  I can guarantee that it has very little to do with unbridled self-indulgence–as Ms. Crow also seems to grasp.  And it will never be realized by being lazy and just catering to my whims at any given moment.  I’m not talking about what I feel like doing.  I’m talking about doing what makes me feel good.

What I am talking about is spending more of my time doing those things that lead to personal balance, peace, happiness, and fulfillment.  I think it is easy…

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What is the Definition of an “Entrepreneur?”

Your Entrepreneur Life

According to Dictionary.com, an entrepreneur is: “A person  who organizes and manages any enterprise, especially a business, usually with considerable initiative and risk.”

We see them as visionaries and dreamers, but more than just that.  We see them as people who take their visions and dreams and connect them with plans, resources, and effort and take the risk to transform them from the ethereal into the concrete.  They put themselves, their time, their efforts, and their assets on the line to achieve this vision–without guarantee of reward.  No one has promised them anything.  They believe in themselves and what they see in their minds enough to do this.  They know that most fail, but they are still going to try.  And they do more than just try.  They go beyond what is comfortable and reasonable and do what is necessary, pulling out all the stops.  They believe they can write…

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A Lesson From Fashion

A Lesson From Fashion.

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Deadlines and Pressure, part 2.

I promised a follow up to my previous article about how deadlines work for me.

The truth is that they work well for me.  Having deadlines helps me focus and get jobs done.  If I do not have a deadline, my ideas/projects/whatever just linger out there in the nebulous land of “I will get to that.”  As time goes on, the list of “I will get to that” grows.  When I have deadlines, I accomplish.

I also like challenges.  Deadlines give me that.  In November, 2011, I participated in NaNoWriMo.  This stands for National Novel Writing Month.  It is a contest where people write 50,000 words toward a work of prose during the calendar month of November.  Believe me, cranking out that many words, in addition to fulfilling your daily responsibilities is a challenge!  The challenge heightened my focus, and I got it done.  It was exciting, rising to the challenge.  I am sure that, without the deadline, I would not have just written 50K words in that month.

I do have problems with deadlines.  The problem is simply that I do not hit all of them.  This causes me no small amount of frustration.  I almost always hit the deadlines with my clients.  My company is considered to be extremely reliable because of years and years of this.  My problem comes in with the personal deadlines I set for what I feel is important to accomplish.

Why do I struggle in this area?

My wife has made the observation–one that I am a little hesitant to admit, but one that I think is true never-the-less–that I make sure I look good to those on the outside of me (my clients, my bosses, my teachers, etc.) while I am not so diligent when dealing with myself or my family.  I don’t want to embarrass myself with others, so I break my neck to get it done.  The embarrassment for personal deadlines not being met is more internal and private.  I do not like public failure of any kind.

Another reason I struggle is that I overestimate what I can do.  I have times of intense focus (like writing for NaNoWriMo) where I get an unbelievable amount done in a short period of time.  I then come to believe that this should be the norm.  Other times, I am not so focused or driven.  Honestly, that level of focus is only possible for bursts.  My problem is that I feel that I should be able to duplicate it consistently and at will.

Also, I tend to not properly account for problems and interruptions.  These come up and seriously throw me off my game.  I am always putting out fires.  I am actually pretty good at it, and everyone around me knows I am good at it.  This is a good skill to have, but it can have a way of pushing deadline achievement to the back-burner.

Some problems are not a result of emergencies I can fix and are not affected by my choice.  The weekend after Thanksgiving, I came down with the flu and walking pneumonia at the same time.  This slowed me down severely for the entire month of December.  The frustration (one of several) with this was that I had organizational goals I wanted to hit for MrKleanze (my business) by the end of the year, and my reduced ability to perform made hitting these impossible.  This was most disturbing, but out of my control.  I fatigued easily, and had work for clients that had to be done.  Once I had done that work, I was finished for the day, period.  There was no waking up extra early to get things done.  I was constantly exhausted, and that was all there was to it.

So, what do I do with the deadlines I do not achieve.

1.  I realize that by pursuing them, I am further down the road than I would be if I hadn’t.

2.  I accept that I did not hit my deadlines, re-evaluate where I am, and figure new deadlines that will work.

3.  I get back on the horse and work on it until it is done.

I think the trick is learning what works for you and then doing it.  Deadlines are a part of life and business.  Hitting them can be the difference between success, mediocrity, or abject failure.  Giving up because I don’t hit all of them guarantees abject failure.  Carrying on gives me a chance at success.  I very much want to be in that success category, and I am sure you do to.

Mike

 

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Deadlines and Pressure

I want to pose a question to my readers:  Do deadlines help you, personally, to perform?

Remember, back in the day, when you worked for someone else (perhaps you still do), and you were given deadlines by your boss.  You had to complete whatever project by then, or else . . .

Now, you work for yourself.  You are the boss–I use that term loosely.  Do you give yourself deadlines?  If you do, do you achieve them?  Does it put pressure on you to perform?  And is that pressure helpful, or does it weigh you down?

For me, it is helpful, under certain circumstances.  I will talk about how using deadlines does and does not work for me, but first, I want to hear from you.  What is your experience as an entrepreneurial-minded person?

I look forward to hearing back from you.

Mike

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Staying on F.O.C.U.S.

A friend of mine once shared this as a tool for goal-achievement.  FOCUS stands for

Follow

One

Course

Until

Success

Those of us who have achieved any goals whatsoever in our lives know this to be true.  We have to keep to the path, not quit, and not get distracted off of it, until we get there.  It may take a while, and a lot of effort, but if we do this we are very likely to get where we want to be.  The important thing is to not lose FOCUS on what we want.

If we are honest with ourselves, it is very easy to lose FOCUS, though.  Things come up that knock us off of our path, our FOCUS.  Precious time is lost.  Sometimes we drop the goal altogether–“It wasn’t really achievable”–we say to ourselves.

So what are some of the things that sidetrack us?  I can think of two primarily:

1.  Emergencies.  This is obvious.  Something huge comes up that demands a large portion of our attention and energy.  It may take some time to deal with.  In doing so, we are not pursuing our course.  When it is all over, we have lost time, and we are drained from the effort.

2.  Discouragement.  This is when negative thoughts about the goal you are pursuing kick around in your head, making it harder and harder for you to press on.  These thoughts can come from things other people say and do that you internalize, or they can come from your own personal doubts.  This is also draining of energy and motivation.  In fact, this is far more devastating on your goal-achievement than emergencies.   Sometimes the time and energy lost on emergencies can lead to discouragement:  “Something will always come up to stop me.  I will never get to my goal.”

So, here you are, off course and stuck in the mud.  What do you do?

Well, you can quit.  But that will guarantee you will never get to your goal.

Alternatively, you can get back on course.  Here’s what I recommend:

1.  Revisit your goal.  Why is it worthwhile?  What were you going to get from accomplishing it?   Thinking about these things will help motivate you to try again–assuming your goal was worthy to begin with.

2.  Forgive yourself.  Let go of the guilt and stupidity you feel for having wasted time and gotten off the path.  Shake it off.  Determine that you are not going to let your past failures determine your future success.

3.  Start back on the path.  You may have to adjust your timetables, because you want your goal to be attainable, but get started.  Remember that while it may take a long time to achieve your goal walking down the path, you will NEVER achieve your goal just sitting and thinking about it.

Are you on FOCUS?  Keep there by recognizing the pitfalls, and making allowances for them before they knock you off.

Are you off FOCUS?  It is OK.  Figure out where you got off, follow the above steps, and get back on track.  You will get there.  Be patient, and don’t give up.  You will enjoy the rewards.

Keep FOCUS’ed.

Mike

 

 

 

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Time to Commit

A friend of mine and fellow small business owner, Keith Bass, recently shared the following story on Facebook:

Three people, two men and one woman, were going through assassin training with the CIA.  At the end of their training, their instructor said to them:  “You have one more test to pass.  We need to know that you will follow our instructions, without question, no matter what they are.”  Then, the three were separated.

The first man was given a gun and told his wife was in the next room.  He was to go into the room and shoot her.  The man was furious.  “There is no way I am going to go in there and shoot my wife.”  The instructor nodded with understanding and said that he would not become a CIA assassin.

The second man was given the same scenario.  His head hung down, but he went into the room.  After a period of time, he returned, crying.  “I wanted to do what you asked, but I just could not kill my wife.”  Once again, the instructor said that he could not be an assassin, and dismissed the man.

Finally, the woman was given the same scenario–her husband was in the next room, and she was to go in there and shoot him.  She grabbed the pistol, got up from the table and walked deliberately into the room.  The door had barely closed when she shot the gun repeatedly.  Then, there was a moment of silence, followed by screaming, cussing, and crashing noises.  Once again there was silence as the woman emerged from the room, sweating and disheveled.  “Who knew?” She stated, “The gun was loaded with blanks; I had to beat the sucker to death with his chair.”

 

This story, while humorous, demonstrates one of the key elements to accomplishing a goal:  commitment.

Goals are relatively easy to set–even good goals do not require a whole lot of work.  You have to think about them to set them.  Getting there, however, is an entirely different story.  That requires that you DO very challenging things.  A goal requires you change your behavior–otherwise you would already be there.  That is hard!  You will be tested on your commitment to your goal regularly, even at the end.  Only goals that you have truly determined that you will achieve are realized.

Your ability to commit significantly to a plan has to be connected to something deep inside you, because pursuing one goal may eventually put you in conflict with another goal.  (This actually is part of the hard part of making goals–setting ones that really hit you where you live, ones that you TRULY want.)

This is what happened in our story.

The two men’s desire to become a CIA assassin had gotten them almost there.  They were completing their training.   One problem:  There was another goal that superseded and conflicted with their path.  When that happened, they had to decide.  For one, the choice was clear and easy.  For the other, it was a struggle for whatever reason, but, as the first, he was unwilling to go on.

The woman also faced the same decision, but chose a different outcome.  Her determination to achieve even exceeded her instructions.  She was told to “shoot” her husband.  When that did not work, she went above and beyond.  This is the kind of behavior that gets you there.  She was definitely committed to doing what she was instructed.  One might suspect that the task connected with her on some deeper level–something that is essential for a goal to work for you.

As a married man (who has more than once driven his wife to mind-numbing anger), I cannot condone this woman’s actions; however, it is illustrative of what is necessary for success.

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