Work Like You

It’s Monday. You’re full of good intentions. (You know where this is going, right?) This week you’re going to write a blog post, reach out to three new prospects, write the outline of your new program, and attend a local networking event.

Tuesday morning, your kid gets sent home from school for projectile vomiting. Your partner has a huge presentation due at work and simply cannot stay home, and you can cover it, right? You hadn’t done laundry last weekend because you were fixing the broken spot in the fence where the dog keeps breaking out.

Then the fridge quits.

Three weeks later you surface – groggy and undershowered – and gradually you remember those shiny business tasks on your list. With mounting horror you realize you haven’t touched your business in three whole weeks.

Your head hits the counter with a hollow thump. You feel like such a failure. How are you ever going to make this work?!?

Here’s your magic word: regroup.

There are a million voices in your head that will tell you this is not allowed. These voices will put enormous effort into convincing you that you are utterly unfit to have your own business, that all you are fit for is to be hung up and flogged until you give up and slink away like the loser that you really are. These voices will sandblast you with scorn, explaining that real business owners don’t let laundry and sick kids “interfere” with their business.

You must give those voices a large dose of horse tranquilizers and a Netflix subscription.

Then, you regroup.

First and foremost, you forgive yourself. This is the hardest part, but it comes first because without this you are done. You will spend all your energy on the flogging, and none will go into the business, thereby giving you more grounds for flogging, and you will spiral down into fiery doom.

I hear you saying, “Yes, but…” which is totally understandable – I know how hard this is.

How do I know?

I do it on a daily basis.

I’m building my coaching practice on my own, this tech setup business with my team, and holding down a contract side hustle while I do both of those. Meanwhile, my “personal life” (why is this still a thing? Life is life, people) blew up like drunk Kanye West at the Grammys about six months ago and it hasn’t really come down yet. So I’m working three self-directed jobs while the structure of my daily life looks like the centerpiece of America’s Greatest Disasters.

My work means the world to me. I have big dreams for these businesses, and I know that big dreams come true by doing the work to bring them to life. I set my intentions with fierce devotion, as often as once a week. (It varies.) And then…life happens. Sometimes I get most of them done. A lot of times three weeks goes by and I come out of a daze and I want to cry when I realize I did none of it.

But this I know – if I then go straight to “Punishment Central, 24/7”, that’s when I am truly screwed.

Instead, I do the harder thing – I forgive myself.

And I regroup.

I don’t even bother with those three weeks, and all the whys. That’s a decoy – it’s you justi-splaining yourself. It feels really sexy and accomplishes nothing you actually need. Sometimes you need to examine repetitive patterns behind these times, if it’s really a trend – but don’t do that until you’re moving forward again.

Understand the wisdom of the Buddhist saying, “You must start where you are.” Indeed – how can you start anywhere else?

So shake off the daze. Look around you, even if what you see hurts to look at. DO NOT THINK ABOUT HOW YOU GOT HERE. Just figure out where you are right this minute, and ask yourself, “What can I do from here?”

And then do it.

It will probably be tiny. The voices will need more tranquilizers, and even then they don’t shut up – they just slur a lot, which makes them easier to ignore.

But you will have taken action. Not when or how you thought you would – but this is the un-secret of this phase of business, my dears. It’s never going to be what you think it will be. And you have to keep regrouping and doing what you can, from where you are, with what you have, ANYWAY. (Thank you Teddy Roosevelt.)

And then you will find that what you did, from where you were, with what you had, got you somewhere you only dreamed of. It’s not instant. There’s a lot of wash-rinse-repeat. But if you can master this – forgive yourself, start where you are, and do what you can with what you have – you WILL get there.

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