Caught up in the day to day business of trying to make a living, it is easy to forget the purpose behind doing what you do – or even whether you still have a purpose anymore. The bright eyed enthusiasm of youth may have even given way to a hint of cynicism about how things have worked out! Don’t despair - you’re not alone. Everyone goes through this from time to time. But if it has happened you need to get yourself back on track.
Do the following “mental moments” happen to you?
- Lately the number of times where you are enjoying your job are less than the times that you don’t.
- You’ve worked out your hourly rate and discovered that you’d get better money taking over your son’s after school job.
- There are too many days where the store is so quiet you feel certain an invisible force field has been built by your competitors across your front door.
- You wistfully wonder about how things would have turned out if you’d taken your other career option of radio announcer/fireman/circus juggler.
It’s quite normal to feel like this from time to time. But if it has become a permanent state then you need to take a serious look at your business... and yourself.
The key question here is “What do you want?” Have you ever really asked yourself? Life has a habit of throwing up what you ask for but sadly, many people simply don’t ask.
At the risk of getting deep and meaningful the question probably starts with what you really want out of life. Your working life is a means to an end and if you don’t know what that end is then your chances of getting there are quite slim. Do you want more money? Do you want more time off? What would you do with either of these if you had more of them?
Getting away from it all is the best way to see things in a different perspective. You can’t see the answers when you are sitting at home or at the store. That’s why you often seem to ask yourself deeper questions when you go on holiday. Book yourself 2 or 3 days away alone with nothing more than a pad of paper and a pen – ideally a cabin in the woods away from television, and other distractions.
- What do I want more of in my life and in my store?
- What do I want less of?
- What do I need to start doing that I don’t currently do?
- What needs to stop happening, in my life and in my store, that is currently happening?
These four questions, answered for both yourself and your store, will form the basis for the direction in which you need to go. Armed with these answers, you can then start to make plans. The plans will be apparent when the questions are answered – it will be obvious what you need to do.
Life has a habit of giving you exactly what you ask for. The trick is to ask.
What’s a budget at the end of the day? It’s simply a means of asking. If you don’t have a budget then you aren’t asking for any more than you got last year... and that’s the best you will probably get.
Decide what you want then set the plan that will take you there. And don’t worry if you go off course sometimes – an airliner spends most of it’s time off course, but still gets there in the end. It monitors its direction under autopilot then makes small alterations, that are barely noticeable, when it recognizes it is off course. It doesn’t waste energy heading too far off track and then have to make a major change in direction to compensate. You need to do the same, recognizing every day if you aren’t achieving your goals, and making the subtle little changes to put things back on track before it is too late.
Start today to work through this process. In time those “mental moments” will become much less frequent.