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Ability to Decide

If you have trouble making decisions, running a business is not for you. Ditto if you're the type of person who needs to know everything and then needs time to ponder everything before finally, grudgingly making a decision.

There's even a name for this: analysis paralysis. 

Running a business is hard. Leadership is just as hard (and sometimes harder). Both often require quick decisions, which may mean following your gut and making the best decision you can, with the information you have at the moment.

Yes, you may make a mistake but not making a decision is a decision in itself. Think of it this way: Let's say you have an option between two vendors and can only choose one. You need the services they offer but are not sure which one to go with. While you're undecided, the issue you need them to solve is going unsolved (and may be getting worst), whereas if you had decided on one of them—even the wrong one—you'd have learned something and made a step forward.

So much in …

You Are What You Surround Yourself With

Years ago, when I was still single and dating, a man told me that I was too smart for him (wasn't sure how to take that). Since then, I've been told that I was overqualied for a job or two.

Jack Welch wrote in one of his books that ensuring he's the dumbest person on his team is a key to his success. This surprised me when I first read it, but I've tried to emulate it since.

As a CEO or founder, it's even more important to surround yourself with smart and competent people. Chances are they don't want your job, but either way, if you don't hire competent and smart people, you'll need to do their jobs for them and therefore won't get to your job (i.e., you'll fail the delegation test). 

And just like you are what you eat, I think that your intelligence and competence rises or falls based on who you surround yourself with. If you're around ambitious, go-getters, you'll be motivated to get off your arse and get things done (or will stop hanging…

Small Steps and Wins

Do you like checking things off on your to-do list? Whether digital or with pen, there's an amazing feeling of accomplishment when you can check something off, cross it out, tear it up...or however you indicate that it's done. 

The problem arises when you have something large or overwhelming that you need to accomplish. You can't even imagine getting it done since you don't know where to start.
That's when it's critical to break things down into small steps, or even sub-projects. David Allen's Getting Things Done (GTD®) system differentiates between projects and tasks: projects are made up of many steps or tasks, but each task is a stand-alone next step. 
And sometimes that's all it takes: taking that small next step. 
I've been reading a lot about habits and how one can build them, and many of the experts and books recommend making it easy to take that first step, because once you do, it's a lot easier to keep going.
And even that first step is a wi…

The Power of One

Being able to choose and focus on one thing at a time is a superpower. 

I will write about the ability to decide at a future point, but narrowing your options down to one—one goal, one priority, or one whatever—is harder than just making a yes/no decision, but equally important.

I recently got introduced to the concept of choosing a new word each year instead of a New Year's resolution: it's meant to be gentler and more inspiring. (If you're curious, you can read an article about it or sign-up for a free five-day email course to help you discover your word for the year.)

It took me three days to narrow my possible words down to three (build, simplify, and balance), and then a fourth day to realize "optimize" covered the other three and was just what I needed for 2020. Interestingly, having that one word as my mantra for 2020 has already brought me clarity and focus.

This method can be applied to the rest of your life and business too. 

Want to get healthier, sleep mor…

Embrace the Forced Down-Time or Time Off

When you're forced to take a day off, such as the upcoming Christmas Day or New Year's, what's your first reaction? Is it dread because you have too much to already do and this will just make you more behind and overwhelmed?

Or is it worry about the lost income or a combination of the two?

All of these are legitimate (although there are ways to help you be less overwhelmed; message me and we can talk). But since there's not much you can do to change the holidays (nor should you try to), why not make the best of the slow times? 

I will admit that I wasn't looking forward to these two weeks, in part because I'm actively looking for new clients and work. But after feeling sorry for myself for a few days, I decided to embrace the free time and make it into a mini vacation: I sleep later every day and don't begin work until noon. 

I'm also doing an online course with my son and letting myself be lazier than usual otherwise. 

My hope is that this quiet time will n…

Hack the "Shoulds"

I know that I recently told you to get off of autopilot, and I meant it, but shortcuts—or hacks—are not the same. 

To me a hack is a way to achieve the end goal with less effort, time, or money, so it's a win-win. And the areas of your life ideal for hacking are the ones you do because you "should." 

Similar to the Delegation Test, ask yourself what is the end goal of the thing you "should" be doing? Then ask yourself if there's a quicker or easier way to get to that goal.

Here's a personal example that I've only just accepted.

You've probably figured out that I love to read books. I do read fiction too, and work and do improv, so there is never enough time to read all the business books I want to. And there are many books I feel that I should read—either because of reviews or who the author is or what the topic is—but I just can't get into them. Since I refuse to force myself to read something I'm not enjoying, I used to skim these books to…

Get out of Autopilot and Slow Down

I'm a fan of automation and streamlining. I also am a strong believer in not taxing our limited mental bandwidth by trying to keep things in my head or by making needless decisions on what to wear. (Those are both their own topics, but if you're curious, reach out and I'll fill you in.)

But habits and autopilot have their downside too, especially when it comes to people and making strategic decisions. 

If a customer or employee has a simple request, there should be a standardized answer. But if that initial response isn't enough to resolve the situation, a human being needs to get involved—and not follow a script. And if a customer or employee are unhappy, I'd recommend a human being get involved right away.

Autopilot can also be dangerous when you're tired and overwhelmed, since you may do things without really thinking them through. A good practise is to "audit" your habits and routines once a month to see if they still add value or are needless or eve…