A question for you: When you look back at your business on December 31 of this year, would you rather see a track record of kickass or a track record of getting your ass kicked? Even if you’re a career UFC fighter, I’m betting the answer is “a record of ass kicking”.
There is one thing and one thing only that will put you on the track of ass kicking and keep your ass safe and sound.
Eliminating excuses. They’re the only thing in the world that keeps you from getting shit done.
Excuses are nasty little fuckers. They weasel their way into our lives and businesses and before we know it, they’re on the payroll and eating all of the Pizza Rolls out of the breakroom fridge. They finish the last cup of coffee from the pot (and never can seem to start another one brewing). They leave the naked roll of cardboard hanging on the toilet paper dispenser (even when a fresh roll is within arm’s distance). They’ll steal your customers, your girlfriend, and anything you hold precious.
And it’s all because you keep telling them that they have the most power.
They have the ability to run your business (even though you don’t like how it’s being run).
Today, we’re calling bullshit on these fridge-raiding fuckers and taking back the power that belongs to you and only you when it comes to your business and life. Cue unpopular thoughts and blunt advice.
Excuse #1: I don’t have time.
Frankly, you’re not that busy and you’re not that important. Neither am I. No one is that busy or important. We make time for the things that matter. If your business doesn’t matter, great. Quit. If your family doesn’t matter, wow. (Just…wow) Maybe you can go find a new one. I’ll say it again: we make the time for things that matter and when you say you don’t have time, you’re saying something or someone doesn’t matter.
Fix it. Odds are, that stuff matters and you just hate doing it. Find someone to do it so you don’t have to do it. And if it isn’t worth paying someone to do (note: “it” does not refer to one’s spouse), then it’s time to send it down the sayonara trail. Tell the people who are most important to you that they matter — and then show them. Often.
Excuse #2: I can’t work on my business because I’m too busy with my clients/customers!
Bullshit. That’s because you don’t view yourself as your own customer. Which you are. Having recently dug out from under the Cobbler’s Children syndrome, I know that I was my only excuse.
Fix it. Make yourself your first client every day. Maybe your last client. Regardless, there should be time in your business schedule every day dedicated to working on your business. We owe it to our customers and clients to keep our shit together. It’s the only way we can best serve them and thank them at the highest level for allowing us to do what we love each day.
Excuse #3: It’s too expensive!
Did I already say “bullshit”? In case you missed it, bullshit. If you’re using money as an excuse to get things done, you’re not being creative and thinking about the value of the expenditure as the leading principle.
Fix it. Over the past several years, I’ve been fortunate enough to work with many talented individuals. Most of them, I didn’t pay up front. Installment payments are of an incredible value and allow you to get work done by talented people — at the rate they deserve to be paid combined with the time in which it’s comfortable for you to pay it. ASK. And if installment payments aren’t a reality, make your own installment plan. Move money into a savings account whenever possible until you have enough saved to get it done. The most important thing for your brand and company is to know you’re plugging into the best value for your business. The best value doesn’t always come with a high price tag. And if you need money now, check out resources like Lending Club or Kabbage — money (now) for businesses. We won’t always have the money to get everything done and right now — but using money as an excuse is weaksauce. Make more, find more, budget better, skip the $5 coffees. Make it work.
Excuse #4: I don’t know where to start.
Really? I get it that the blue dot of wonder on Google Maps doesn’t always appear when we need pointing in the right direction. But to use not knowing where to start as an excuse to keep from doing something (anything) is the lamest sauce of all.
Fix it. Your industry, whatever it might be, is filled with talented people who have fucked up long before you ever dreamt of fucking up. Learn from their fuck ups. Visit blogs, explore online courses, and if you’re truly dedicated to starting something, here are two fantastic ideas: (1) do something — ANYTHING. It’s amazing how liberation true motion can be. (2) Ask for help. Hire someone for an hour of their time. I do at least 4 meetings each week like this to help people get UNstuck. When I ask them how they feel at the end of the call or meeting, here’s what they say: relieved, empowered, jazzed, motivated, excited about finally having direction and resources, grateful, like they have permission, energized by learning about resources they never knew existed. If you want to feel like that, see what an hour of someone’s time can do for you.
Excuse #5: It’s not good enough.
Neither were Edison’s first 1600 attempts at creating a filament for the light bulb. If you don’t try something that might not be good enough, you’ll never get the data you need to create inarguable fucking awesome.
Fix it. Got an idea? Try it. See what sticks. The worst that can happen is that it blows up and you end up in traction in the hospital where some hot doctor starts hitting on your fiancée in front of you, knowing full well you can’t do anything because you’re in traction. And since we don’t live in an episode of Days of Our Lives, that shit isn’t going to happen. When you try, one of two things will happen: a glorious success or a failure that gives you data to launch the next version of the idea. And yes, some data tells us to scrap things altogether. But you’ll never know if that “not good enough” idea is good for anything unless you sack up and try some shit.
Excuse #6: I’m not good enough.
With words like that, of course you’re not. I don’t know what makes you think you’re not good enough but here is what I do know:
Michael Phelps didn’t win a gold medal his first time in the pool.
Babe Ruth didn’t hit a homer his first time at bat.
The first version of my TEDxBoulder talk was sheer crap.
Richard Branson has launched companies that have failed.
And I’m nowhere in the league of any of those people I’ve sandwiched myself between. But I am good enough — every day — to take a step towards to be better
Fix it. And here’s the rough one — I can’t fix how you perceive yourself. Only you can do that. But maybe it’s time to break up with some friends and surround yourself with some frontstabbers — people whom you can believe when they say hell yes or hell no. People who want you to be that next better version of themselves and are relying on you to do the same for them. The people we find surrounding us are often toxic — and we’re the only ones giving them permission to stay. Like those excuses.