by Deborah A Bailey
If you’re a “Type A” person (like I am) then it’s all about being busy and getting results. At the end of the day you want to see what you accomplished. You set goals and expect to achieve them on a regular basis.
The catch is that when you’re in business for yourself, you might not see those results as quickly. When you make a change or introduce a new product, the result may not be as evident until time has passed.
Sure, it’s great to think that you can do something today and see it come to fruition tomorrow, but is that realistic? The overnight success we all seem to crave might take years to show itself. Are you looking at the big picture or do you just want what you want right now?
In corporate, many of us just did what we were told. When I went to my appraisal meetings, I could point to a list of tasks I’d completed and then wait for my (minuscule) reward. But in the entrepreneurial world, things are not that nice and neat. As the CEO, you have to take the long view. It’s not just about getting work done today, then getting a new task tomorrow. It’s about doing work today that will have an impact on what happens tomorrow, and the day after that.
You could say that my work on the job had an impact on the company. True, but how often have you done work on the job (if you’ve been an employee) and you had no idea what your impact was? We might have been told about the short-term goals, and sometimes the longer-term ones, but usually we went from one project to the next. The end result was that we had no idea what our work was worth, and whether or not it served any real purpose.
But when you are the one running the show, you don’t have that luxury. It’s not about being busy for the sake of looking busy or having something to put on your appraisal.
The decisions you make right now about funding, or expansion or hiring may (or may not) have an impact today – but you can bet they will over time. It can be easy to chase that bright shiny thing because you want to see it all happen right now.
And when that bright shiny thing promises you that it will give you everything you want without risk – today, in a week or in 30 days – it’s tempting to be all over it.
The Type A part of me loves stuff like that because I want to be sure…and be in control. I want to complete my task so that I can get my reward right now. I want to skip all the discomfort and go right to success with no side trips.
Would be nice, wouldn’t it? But that’s not how it usually happens.
You will be uncomfortable. You’ll make mistakes and stumble from time to time. Plans will go awry and some people will give you the side-eye because you’re not doing it the way THEY would have.
Getting what you want may take a long while, or it may happen much sooner than you expect. But doing busy work or running after this or that just so you can feel a sense of accomplishment (or quick, effort-less, no-risk success), will usually not lead you anywhere.
Copyright © 2014 Deborah A. Bailey