By Mark Creedon
Is it okay to question your path
Have you ever had one of those days where you just question everything?
Well there must have been something in the air last week. I was speaking with a client and he sounded really flat. These are uncertain times, so I imagine many of us are feeling a little deflated.
When I asked him about it, he told me that lately he had begun to question his choices and the direction he was taking with his business and why he was doing what he does.
Only a few hours later, I was speaking with another client who also told me that she just wasn’t sure about what she wanted to do with her business from this point on.
Both of these business owners are amazing. They have been in their businesses for quite some time, they are exceptionally good at what they do and they have good reputations in their industries.
I decided to offer them some input by reminding them that it’s actually okay from time to time to question why we do what we do.
Taking the time to remind ourselves of the value of our work and the rewards that we obtain from it is actually a healthy way to maintain incentive and motivation for what we do in life.
One of the things we do in our Mastermind group each month is to look not only at the wins we have had in the past 30 days but the lessons we have learned from those wins (and the losses!).
By looking at the lessons we can critically assess what we have done, what we have achieved and it’s a simple way of checking the GPS for the business.
Here’s the thing I heard from both of these amazing business owners. Their language was full of ‘shoulds’ and ‘shouldn’ts’.
They kept saying that they knew they ‘should’ be staying focussed and that they shouldn’t be wasting time questioning themselves and their direction.
One of them kept saying that she ‘should’ just get on with it and do what had to be done.
That reminded me of how much I hated the word should. When I have clients say to me that they should be doing this or they should be doing that, I always pose the question, “Who says so?”
Who is it that says that we should do this or that? I always prefer to take the view that we either do something or we don’t.
We do it because there is a reason for it, because it is part of a plan or because it’s something spontaneous but attaching the word should to what we do for a living turns our career or business into a task or a chore.
Have a think about banning the word should from your vocabulary particularly if you are looking to maintain motivation for what you are doing.
Viewing what you do as something you really should do as opposed to something you want to do is a sure-fire way to take the motivation, incentive and quite possibly even the enjoyment out of what you are doing.
Let’s get back to the questioning of where you are and what you are doing. Comments like that always remind me of the Sunscreen Song.
I love the lyrics from that song and have tortured my poor children with them for years, at times when they were questioning choices and their future.
The song is actually called “Everybody’s Free to Wear Sunscreen” by Mary Schmich. The song in fact started as a newspaper column and was turned into a narrative song by Australian Film Director Baz Luhrmann.
The line I always love from it is this “Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what to do with your life. The most interesting people I know didn’t know at twenty-two what they wanted to do with their lives. Some of the most interesting forty-year old’s I know still don’t.”
The point is that it’s okay sometimes to stop, take stock and ask questions.
Don’t get me wrong, planning is essential in business but it’s also important to remember that plans don’t have to be cast in stone and the very best plan should always leave the option to keep an eye out for opportunities.
Questioning where you are now and where you want to be is a great way of simply reassessing the plan and re-examining your goals and once you’ve done that and decided your goals are still fine then you can get back on track and keep heading in the direction that you seek.
Or, maybe that questioning will allow you to take advantage of another opportunity, to reposition you and your business or to avert a disaster.
It would be crazy to follow the GPS if it was leading you off the edge of a cliff. So every now and then, stop, take a breath, check the coordinates and reassess if you are in the right position for your ultimate goals.
I’m pleased to say that both clients took the time to do exactly that. They assessed where they were at, decided that their goals were still the same and jumped straight back into the plan.
Reviewing your progress and reassessing your aims and strategies is an invaluable part of the goal setting. Taking stock and questioning is not just healthy but essential.
Oh, and take a look at The Sunscreen Song. There are so many messages well worth the time to listen. Regards, Mark
Mark Creedon is the founder of Business Accelerator mastermind by Metropole and business coach to some of Australia’s leading entrepreneurs – helping them build a true business, not a job.
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