In the last blog post, I talked about the #1 threat to small business owners’ and franchisees' success, which is everything that exists in the “I don't know what I don't know” void.
However, just when you think you’ve overcome the biggest threat, there’s another threat that pops up. And that is time.
There seems to never be enough time to complete all the tasks that need to be done in order to grow and scale a business. Whether that’s true or not, that's how it feels anyway.
Of course, we know that we all have the exact same amount of time. And how we spend our time, really depends on our own priorities.
What's important to you is what you’ll focus on and make time for throughout the day. Which most likely will be different for every other business owner out there.
So why is it that important tasks take the back burner for most business owners? Such as scaling the business, participating in growth activities, and prioritizing freetime, for instance.
One of the reasons this is a struggle is because of the “I don't know what I don't know” Factor.
See how these two threats intertwine? Most business owners come into business, programmed thinking the way to get ahead is to hustle. As a society, we've all been trained to believe this and have the subconscious beliefs and habits reinforcing the belief. The pathway to success is working harder and putting in more hours.
We have been wired this way for years. Let's go all the way back to when the traditional school was established. When I say “traditional school”, I mean showing up at 8am, staying all day, sitting through classes, (in the seat you were assigned), and following the rules - completing assignments in the timeframe you were given and achieving a grade partially based upon if you met that assignment’s deadline and how well the quality of work was.
The reason that school was originally formatted in this way was to prepare children to become factory workers, not to prepare children to become entrepreneurs, executives, or billionaires who are running the country. No, no, no, it was to prepare children to become doers who get menial tasks done. When a task is done well, you get a pat on the head and when you do a bad job, you get scolded. If you continue to do bad, then an even worse outcome will happen.
Our whole lives we have been programmed to be an employee and to buy into this idea of working more hours + produce more at a higher quality more often = success. Because of this programming, our subconscious has been subscribed to that as our default.
Once you break free from employment and become a business owner, subconsciously, you’re still in the mindset of an employee. Just now you're an “employee” of your own company - an employee aware that the only way to success is to do more.
In fact, a client recently said to me, “Well, I know I have to be in the business for the first two years. I'm going to be working like 60 to 80 hours a week for that amount of time. Then I can start to experience the freedom I wanted when I became a business owner.”
I said, “Why do you believe that that's true?” They said, “Because that's what other business owners are telling me. That you really need to be in the business for the first two years.”
Being an outsider, in the conversation I can see they are perpetuating that belief amongst each other.
When vetting which franchise to join, all you hear from the other franchisees is “to be successful, you have to be in the business for the first two years, working 60 to 80 hours a week.”
Well, guess what, the newbie comes in and follows the advice and grinds away for two years. The two year mark comes and what happens?
They don't know how to stop grinding away in the business! They don't know how to spend their time differently. Because “how to stop the grind” exists in the “I don't know what I don't know” void. As does the belief that it doesn't have to be that way.
If you have the right strategies, it doesn't have to be that way. But you have to take the time to learn them, and start filling in the void. This is where the immediate struggle comes into play.
I see this all the time. Ask April Porter offers all kinds of free resources to teach the aspects of business that fill in “I don't know what I don't know”. What we hear people say most often is “I don't think I have time to attend.” Sometimes we’ll inquire about why they wouldn’t have the time and the answer many times is “I’m so busy, I have to work in the business.”
They have the belief that somehow spending an hour working in the business is moving the needle forward more than an hour spent learning how to move the needle forward effectively.
When choosing how we spend our time, the decision isn’t based on logic. It's based on emotion.
As the saying goes, “you'll spend your time on what you prioritize.” How we prioritize really isn’t through logic, it's through emotion. Any kind of emotion at that. Here are a few examples:
I have a friend who walked around for months with a very obvious hernia and didn't go to the doctor. Why?
It wasn't because she couldn't make the time to make the doctor's appointment. It was because of the emotions behind it.
“Well, I already know what the doctor is going to say. He's going to say I need to have surgery which will take me out of work, which means I can't earn money and provide for my family.”
All of the fears around not being able to provide for her family led backwards to I don't have time for a doctor's appointment for this obvious hernia. This decision was based on fear.
Making a decision could be based on the emotion of guilt or love. It could be turning down a girls trip weekend because your son has a baseball tournament that weekend. For some mothers they would feel guilty, their son expected her to be there. For other mothers they love every minute of watching their son play and don't want to miss a minute of his childhood.
When we’re in business, and choosing to prioritize the hustle and grind, over learning, what we're really prioritizing is certainty.
That certainty of working more hours + producing more at a higher quality more often = success. We’ve been taught that our whole life, and we’ve had success with that equation from an early age.
But taking “time off” to attend an hour class that will teach secrets to scaling a business faster? Doubts start creeping in. Doubt such as,
- It's not just going to be an hour. I'm going to learn something, and then I'm still gonna have to implement it.
- This deadline is coming up and I could get XYZ done toward that deadline during that time.
- How much could that free resource really help me?
- I’m sure they’ll offer it again, I could attend it another time.
Whatever the reason, all those reasons were based on the emotion of certainty.
I'm certain if I keep doing this, I'll get to where I want to go. And I don't know if I spend my time doing that, if it's going to take me where I want to go.
That's a falsity, because working harder, and spending more hours grinding away is actually not going to get you to your ultimate vision.
You made the choice to stop being an employee for someone else and realized you didn't want that life of hustle and grind and, do, do, do. You wanted a life of time freedom, you wanted to make your own choices, you wanted a life of unlimited income.
The biggest mistake I see people make is that they fool themselves into thinking, they don't have time to fill in the void of the “I don't know what I don't know.” And the most foolish belief I see business owners have is that somehow, one day, by grinding away in the business, it's going to open up their schedule to allow them to learn new strategies and fill in the “I don't know what I don't know” void.
So since we know that most of our decisions and how we choose to prioritize our time is based on emotions.
Take a deep breath, close your eyes and ask yourself “Do I really want to grind away to get to where I want to go or do I want to fill the ‘I don’t know what I don’t know’ void?”
If you want the latter, you've got to set aside time to fill the void and you have to protect it. That is the highest priority. This is the time that nothing else can interrupt. If you have to lock yourself in a closet, turn off your phone, and sometimes you’ll have to remind yourself that your business will not crash and burn when spending one hour completely unplugged in order to learn upper-level strategies to grow the business.
If you want to have that SWAG™ vision you have - a life of Sanity, Wealth and Gratitude™, instead of a life of grind, then you have to make the time.
In order to make the time we have to
- Deny the programming that our subconscious wants us to default to.
- Acknowledge the emotions behind our priorities.
- Ask ourselves, what is another way that we could serve those emotions? i.e. In the hernia surgery example, they were afraid they wouldn’t be able to provide for their family. How could they ensure they can provide for their family? And make time for the surgery?
This will help you realize the reasons behind what you’re doing. So if you catch yourself in the business and you have the feeling that you can't take the time to go to these business building events, this networking group, this conference, or even to go on a girls weekend trip that you need for your own mental health.
Ask yourself “why am I prioritizing hustling in the business?” The answer will be something like… “Well, because I want to be successful and I want to earn my freedom of time, and earn the wealth that I believe comes with business ownership.”
Then ask yourself, “How can I honor the emotion of earning? Earning more, earning success, earning more freedom of time, and earning more wealth from my business?”
We are not going to get into all the different implications that the word earn has in this blog, but how can I serve that emotion without hustling?
Every single day, center in on which emotion you are wanting to accomplish. An example of this is wanting to create freedom of time and freedom of wealth, which will allow my family to feel secure and experience many things in life. Then find the best thing to work on to get that result.
When you take a moment, ground yourself, and ask yourself which emotion you are wanting to accomplish that day it's very easy to say I want to do the things that are going to move me ahead faster. I want to work on those growth strategies. I don't want to grind away on those little employee tasks that keep us where we are. When you have that desire, that eliminates procrastination, and it will open up the time for you to focus on growing the business.
We are hosting a free bootcamp Release Your Business Beast - helping you unleash the power you have to grow your business taking you where you want to be, instead of keeping you trapped in that programming that you've had.
The Bootcamp is three days, only an hour a day. So three hours total.
When you apply the time lesson in this blog, you’ll easily be able to carve out an hour of your day to learn the strategies that will take you to your SWAG™ vision faster.
Learn more about the Bootcamp here. I hope that you join us.