A client of mine makes everything hard. Instead of just going after the job she wants, she maps out a 10 year plan the requires 15 key skill development efforts, seven essential relationships to be built, and a critical mass of completed projects. Then she decides it’s not doable, and settles for less, for MUCH less. We all do this. You should see me agonizing over every word of an article. Absurdity! This month’s article is on making things easy, instead.
- Brief peek into the future
- Article: Making things easy (especially during the holidays!)
- Please send questions!
========== Brief peek into the future
Starting in January, I will be developing and launching CDs on leadership, management, and entrepreneurial topics. Stay tuned!
========== Article: Making things easy (especially during the holidays)
Make it Easy!
Have you ever noticed how hard we make things for ourselves? A client of mine was holding back on her dream of working in pro sports. â€œI donâ€™t have the background,â€ she said, â€œso Iâ€™ll settle for banking.â€ (Not as my client, you wonâ€™t!) We picked up the phone. Five minutes later, she had an interview with the CEO of a major sports franchise. It wasnâ€™t so hard after all; we just had to call and ask.
We all make things hard. Itâ€™s weird. Weâ€™re scared to let things be easy. We have lots of reasons. If something is easy, we tell ourselves it must not be worth much. My job canâ€™t be easy … how would I justify my salary?
Itâ€™s easier to believe something is hard than face our real motivations, like fear of failure. If somethingâ€™s easy, we have no excuse but to try. If we try and fail at something easy, that says bad things about us. Better to make things hard, so if we ever try and fail, we can blame the task, not ourselves.
Lastly, we make things hard so we have jobs! Weâ€™ve created huge corporations and bureaucracies in part to employ people. If things were simple, we might be out of a job. (My favorite is receipts. How much of our economy is devote to nothing more than tracking receipts and expenses, for tax and accounting purposes?)
So how do we make things easy again?
Stop solving the solution! We often start solving a problem and the solution becomes worse than the problem. A startupâ€™s IT department needed a new laser printer. Concerned about costs, the management team met to discuss the purchase. They met three times, for an hour each time. By the time they decided not to buy the $500 printer, they had wasted thousands of dollars of management time, and distracted the managers from really moving the company forward.
Settle for 80% quality. This is my Achilles heel. A perfectionist, I like things to be perfect. But that last 20% towards perfection often takes as much work as the first 80%. When you find yourself worrying about whether the font on your weekly status report uses small capitals correctly, youâ€™ve traveled far into the land of absurdity. Let yourself settle for 80%, youâ€™ll be happier when you do.
At the end of the day, â€œhardâ€ is our story, itâ€™s not the truth. We can make something hard in our minds, or we can let it be easy.
The experiment for the holiday season:
Youâ€™ll have lots to do in the next week. Make it easy. When you catch yourself thinking, â€œThis will be a hassle,â€ stop and chuckle. Then decide youâ€™ll make it easy, and do it. Stop solving the problem. Settle for less. Youâ€™ll be surprised how much you get done. And when you discover you have more free time than you thought, donâ€™t tell anybody. Just give it to yourself as a Holiday present.
See you in the New Year![Send your questions to Stever at: inquire@SteverRobbins.com]
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