We All Dream of Someday

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What Does Your Someday Look Like?

Someday. It’s the best day ever.

When are you going to quit that job you hate? Someday.

When will you will start taking better care of yourself? Someday.

When will you start doing what you always dreamed of doing? Someday.

When will you stop putting yourself last? Someday.

Someday is beautiful.

Full of promise, untouched by reality.

Someday is mythical.

It exists in our hopes, our dreams, and even, unfortunately, our best intentions.

One of the inescapable outcomes of suffering a loss is realizing just how ethereal someday is.

Planning for someday is a pleasurable indulgence, but a dangerous addiction. Constantly deferring today’s action to tomorrow’s promise tends to have a predictable and sad outcome. Plans never actioned, dreams never realized.

If I had waited until someday to start my own business, I’d still be working for someone else. I’d still be slaving away to make someone else’s dreams come true.

Sometimes we need some motivation to get started, and sometimes life gives us just the kick in the ass that we need. Other times, we need to find that motivation for ourselves. And the best way to so is to take a hard look at someday. Not just what it is, but when it is.

I’ve touched on this in a previous post (If Time Were Diamonds). Every now and then it’s good to reconcile your someday self with your current self. Take stock. Get real. And nothing is more real than realizing exactly how little time you have to get from here to there.

Don’t stop dreaming, and hoping, and planning. But stop waiting. Start doing. What do you want? Figure that out first. Sure, it could change in five years, but as of this moment in time, what do you want?

Now go get it.

 

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3 Signs You Should Start A Business Today

Startup, Self-Employed, Business Owners

Lots of people are quite content to work for someone else.  To show up every day, put in their hours, collect their paycheque.  But many of us fall into one of two other buckets.  We either want to climb our way up that staggeringly tall corporate ladder of success, regardless of who owns the corporation, or we want to scratch and claw our way through those corporate walls to that mythical space beyond, where legend has it that it’s possible to be free, report to no one but yourself, and yet still make a sustainable living.

That last group?  Those are my people.  Those are the ones who are just aching to make a break for it.  If you’re not immediately sure whether you fall into that group, pay attention to the subtle cues around you.  More importantly, pay attention to the subtle cues within you.  Here’s my take on at least 3 character flaws that can help you be a successful business owner.

3 Signs You’re Ready to Start a Business

1. You challenge authority. Business owners challenge the status quo.

Look around you.  Listen.

Count how many times in the run of a day your colleagues say yes to things they should say no to.

Or simply remain silent rather than take the terrifying risk of walking out on that limb of being the only one to dissent.

To have a different opinion.

A unique opinion.

But it’s not enough just to *think* outside of the box, you also have to live there.  Do you constantly raise questions in an attempt to find real meaning in your work?  Are you always inventing a way to work around the rules, because you know you can get it done faster, better, or simpler?  Rules have a purpose, I know this.  But many organizations follow an unfortunate inversely proportionate application of invoking rules that make sense versus rules that ensure dominance and control.  Most organizational rules serve the organization.  Some of us want better answers than that.

Thinking of every angle, examining every perspective, seeing patterns and connections that others don’t helps you to persevere through the ups and downs of running a business.

2. When you want it done right, you do it yourself.  Business owners can rely on themselves.

If this is you, it’s both a blessing and a curse.  It’s impossible to survive long-term in any organization trying to take on all of its problems by yourself.  You need to trust your team, and you need to delegate.  But this type of passion stems from deeper within than any simple control issues.

It’s not that you believe other people can’t get the job done, it’s just that you know that you can get it doe and you can get it done NOW.  Why wait?  Why hesitate?

Patience is a work-in-progress to you.

You know that you can accomplish your goals, and you dive in and get it done.  The constant need to achieve and move forward, and the confidence to know that you can, gives you the drive and commitment you need to keep on going when the going gets tough.  This is an essential ingredient for anyone who thinks that may be ready to start a business.

3.  You get bored (really bored) really easily.  Business owners embrace change.

You change plans as frequently as you make plans.

You constantly have ideas and see opportunities everywhere, and it’s not enough to just dream about it, you actually wnat to go out and try it.

One of the most rewarding aspects of working for yourself is that every day is unique.

New challenges, new opportunities, new customers, new readers, changes in direction, zigging, zagging, and everything in between.

You never know what can happen.  And you like it that way.

And who decides how to act, react, hustle, slow down, and respond to all of these events?  You.  Just you.

If any of this resonates, then I just have one last question…what are you waiting for?

How To Take Time Off When You Work For Yourself

How to Vacation When You Work For Yourself

At first glance, you’d think it should be the easiest thing in the world. Taking time off when you work for yourself? Of course! Who approves your time off? You do! What could be simpler?

Well the reality is far from that simple. When you work for yourself, you also generate your own pay check. Your business revenue is all that you have, and it’s totally dependent on your drive, commitment, and hard work. If you take some time off for yourself, what happens to your business? What happen when you ARE your business?

Even though it presents a challenge, taking time to re-charge is essential to staying motivated and productive. When you work for yourself, you just have to put in a little more effort even to take time to rest!

Prepare, Prepare, Prepare

The key to taking some time off when you work for yourself is to plan and prepare well in advance.

  • Look at your calendar and make sure you can deliver anything mission critical in advance of vacation, and if possible, reschedule less critical items.
  • Do as much as you reasonably can in advance, which often means putting in some extra effort weeks beforehand. It may seem counterintuitive to work harder so you can take some time off, but being able to have some concentrated “non-work” time is well worth it.

Be Transparent

Don’t try to pretend that it’s business as usual while you’re on vacation. It isn’t. Even with all of the tools and technologies we have at our disposal, if you spend your entire vacation working, you’ve defeated its very purpose.

  • Let your colleagues, customers, clients, partners know that you’ll be taking some time off. Establish appropriate expectations. Let them know whether you’ll be handling urgent requests or not, and if not, let them know who will be handling things on your behalf (the world doesn’t stop because you take a few days off!).
  • When travelling with family or friends, set their expectations as well. Tell them in advance that you will undoubtedly have some work matters that will require your attention, but that you will keep it to a minimum. Employees have the luxury, usually, of being out of touch with work while on vacation. Business owners do not.
  • If you’re handling urgent requests yourself, but you’re travelling to a different time zone, let your contacts know this and how it may impact your responsiveness.
  • And, lastly, let them know all of this well in advance. No one wants to hear on Friday that someone they depend on isn’t available for the next week.

Let It Go

In addition to careful planning and preparation, the other key to successfully managing to take time off when you work for yourself is to know how to properly prioritize work. Don’t let your work life consume your vacation. Learn what to let go, and what to action.

  • Determine in advance what types of activities you’ll action or respond to.
  • Lowest priority items are easily moved to later in the schedule. But what happens when something is important, though perhaps not urgent? Having someone to delegate these items to can be a lifesaver, but it’s also not necessarily a reasonable alternative in all cases.  Sometimes you have to deal with both the important and the urgent.
  • When you have to deal with things that are “merely” important, sometimes it’s best to deal with them directly, but honestly. Acknowledge the importance of the item, by responding to the request. But also recognize the lack of urgency of the item by providing a target action date (after your vacation) at which point you’ll fully address the need.

Be Methodical

When you’re finally enjoying that time off, and putting your plan into action (“vacation plan”), remember this:

  • Don’t take any work related phone calls that aren’t planned in advance (i.e. don’t take any work related phone calls)
  • Turn work related email notifications off
  • Provide an alternative email address to a trusted delegate or colleague, to have immediate access to truly urgent items without needing to filter through the rest of the work noise which can raise your stress level
  • Check your regular work account once or twice a day – respond quickly to any truly urgent emails, and service important emails by responding with suggested post-vacation follow-ups, and/or provide quick direction to a delegate or colleague, asking them to handle the matter
  • Servcie messages at specific times of the day if possible (early mornings, evenings, once per afternoon), so that you consistently feel more detached from work than tethered to it

Relax and Enjoy

The most significant benefits of proper planning and preparation are that they truly allow you to relax and disconnect for a while. Can you go completely dark on vacation when you work for yourself? No, nor should you expect to.

But if you manage your time on vacation as effectively as you manage your business, you can be just as successful at taking time off!