Overcommitted. Busy, but struggling to make real progress. Unhappy.
These are common problems for leaders, business owners, and entrepreneurs that are just starting in their respective roles and ventures. The desire to be helpful to others can cloud your judgment and lead you to make decisions that do not advance your true potential.
A prospect emailed: “Hey Steven, could you come to our company and talk with our leaders about improving their performance evaluation skills and conversations?”
“Sure, I’d be glad to.”
Another client called and asked, “Steven, we’re looking for someone to facilitate training on the subject of color-coordinating the filing system in our accounting department with the color of socks that our sales representatives wear. Can you do that?”
“Of course, I can. When do you need me to come?”
The Murky Underwater Basket-Weaving Association meeting planner called and asked if I’d be available to speak at their next conference.
“I’d be delighted. Count me in!”
Here was my problem: I can’t stand the subject of performance evaluations, I didn’t care about what color of socks people wore, and I knew nothing about basket-weaving. But, I had just started my business and was desperate for any opportunity. Ok, full disclosure – I was desperate to get paid. So, I agreed to speak on whatever they wanted.
That brings me to the other BIG Problem. I expended hundreds of hours researching, preparing, and delivering on subjects that I would never do again and did not fit within my strengths and focus. Yes, I filled the calendar with work; but I did not work on the essential things that would help me reach my potential and ultimate goals.
People tell me all the time: “Well, I chose to do this because I needed the work.” I get that. But, was it the right work? Slow down and make sure that what you are being asked to do aligns with your overall goals. Make a commitment to yourself to only make commitments that advance your career, not simply fill the calendar.
Two Lessons Learned:
1) When we dabble in many things, we live distracted and come far short of our potential.
2) When we dedicate ourselves to one or two priorities, we discover our potential and live more fulfilled lives.
Do a dabble dump and focus on what really matters.
~ Steven Iwersen, CSP
Copyright 2019, Steven Iwersen. Steven is the author of Porcupine Philosophy: 365 Leadership Points to Ponder and The Porcupine Principles: How to Move Prickly People to Preferred Outcomes.