You know that making the shift from your Technician personality (the one who does all the work) to your Entrepreneur personality (the one who has the vision and decides the strategy) starts with shifting your perspective, the way you look at your business, and the way you relate to it. But what often happens is that your Technician tries to put on the Entrepreneur’s hat without relinquishing the Technician’s perspective.
If this is you, maybe you’ve noticed that incredibly uncomfortable feeling you get when you actually make the time to do entrepreneurial work. It might look something like this:
You sit down, clear your desk, and get a blank piece of paper or open up a Word document.
Of course, now you need to go get a glass of water and close your door. But then you decide you should really go back out first to let your employees know you are not to be disturbed. While you’re there, you ask them if they have any questions for you.
Then, you go back to your office and sit down at your desk. You might take a quick glance at your email to ensure there is nothing urgent and then call your spouse.
Finally, you stare at the open Word doc or doodle with your paper and pencil and suddenly remember there’s an important customer call that you really need to make right now.
So you put it off yet again, both relieved and frustrated.
Sound familiar? You’re not alone.
Here are some thoughts to help you get real with your entrepreneurial work and fend off the urge to grab the Technician hat.
The Right Work Won’t Feel Like Real Work
In a nutshell, my clients are so good at checking items off a to-do list that when they try to think strategically, they feel like they’re at sea without a paddle. They feel like they aren’t actually “doing” anything.
The problem is that the “work on your business” to-do item doesn’t behave like other tasks. Working On your business includes a lot of thinking, trying ideas out in your head or on paper, discussing, learning, drafting strategies, and then scrapping them. No one wants to put “think about my vision” as an action item, but that could very well be the thing you need to do during your entrepreneurial time.
To get the most out of your entrepreneurial time, answer these four questions:
- What specific result do you want from this time?
Maybe you want to clarify your thoughts on a topic, put your idea in a format you can communicate to the team, make a decision about a direction for the business, choose the way you want your people to work and act, or change the way your company behaves. Write down what you’re trying to accomplish. For example, if you are working on how you want your people to act, you might decide, “In the next hour, I’m going to write down every behavior I want to see from my people, and every one I don’t want to see ever again.”
If you aren’t sure what the purpose of your “On it” time might be, then use the time just for that: “I’m going to decide what part of my business to work on next.”
- Why is the result you want important?
If you can’t explain to yourself in real, personal terms why you need to write your vision, decide on a budget, work out your organizational chart, or clarify your company values, then every attempt you make to start these activities will feel like a colossal waste of time to your Technician. Ask yourself these questions to move forward:
- What will you gain from the work—for your business and for yourself?
- What will happen if you don’t do it?
- How long can you continue operating without giving it the attention it needs?
- Do you know how to do the work?
Suppose you are putting a budget together or developing your sales process for the first time. If you don’t know how to do the work or which tool to use, or if you need some guidelines, training, or a template—be real about that. It’s OK if you spend entrepreneurial time learning how to make entrepreneurial choices. So your goal may be, “I’ll use this time to learn about budgets” or “I’ll use this time to decide what CRM tool best aligns with my brand.”
- What will you do with your work when it’s done?
Not knowing what to do next can slow anyone to a crawl. So, for example, if you’re writing a vision statement, make sure you consider how it will be used once it’s done. Where will it appear, who will read it, and what do you want them to do as a result? This can help you determine how far you need to go, in what format, and what it should look like when it’s done. When you can see the end, it’s easier to focus on how to get there.
I should add that you may find your Entrepreneur stopped for other reasons. You may have fear about your business, your dreams, or what you might discover if you look too deeply. You may struggle with motivation, or you might feel unwilling to change your approach. If you have answered these four entrepreneurial questions and are still stuck, consider that you may have some type of emotional block you need to address.
Even so, these questions will help you get more specific about what you are working on and see ways to become productive even if you don’t get to check off a single task.
So go ahead! Schedule your time and make a start. As a freebie, try making your first goal “Attend the EMyth Masterclass”—one of the best guidelines I know of for deciding what to work on and why.
What about you? Do you feel guilty, restless, or uncomfortable when you step away to work on your business? What have you done about it? Join the conversation—comment below!