by Paula on January 4, 2012

I’m not going to complain that the recent rain is getting to me, or tell you of the times where there was so much water running down my street I thought of calling Noah. I am going to tell you though that, while doing a little internet research, I came across this post on how to build a wooden boat…

According to the article there are multiple reasons why people don’t build a wooden boat, including:

  • They don’t feel they have the knowledge needed to craft a wooden boat.
  • They feel they don’t have enough DIY experience for the simplest of tasks, let alone a task like boat building.
  • They believe that it will take far too long, and don’t feel they have the time to complete such a project.

(I would like to add an important 4th one to this which is: “They don’t feel they need to or want to build a wooden boat” but that’s a minor point.)

The fact is, whatever the subject or whatever the project, it is a very natural human trait to form a list of reasons why you can’t achieve something. In fact it’s very easy. Throw any suggestion at me and I am sure within minutes I can think of 3 reasons why I probably couldn’t do it. However, if we all took this approach very little progress in life or business would be made.

As I referred to in my recent blog “8 things I learnt in 2011”, when I started my business there were a number of things which seemed impossible or difficult and I could easily have been sat here with that list still looking at it and still knowing I couldn’t achieve it. The list might have gone something like this:

  1. I’ve never run my own business before I wouldn’t know what to do.
  2. Don’t you have to do things like your own tax return – I’ve heard that’s complicated.
  3. I’ve never been to a networking event before, how would I know what to do?
  4. I might not earn as much money as I do in my employed work.

These seem like very good reasons to me to put that project on the shelf and say, “Not for me” or “Maybe another time”. But instead I turned them into things I needed to do, set time-scales, and then took the first step. For me this list turned into:

  1. Talk to friends and family who are running their own businesses. Go on a Business Link Course and find out the practical issues.
  2. Phone up HMRC. Find out about free courses for Tax Returns. Try and do it on my own and if too difficult, talk to an accountant and get help.
  3. Read a book about networking. Go to a networking event. Then another. Then another. Agree to talk at one.
  4. Set goals of what I need to earn by when and how I am going to earn it. Work hard, be flexible, don’t give up!

Having spent years in my career managing projects, working to deadlines, encouraging and motivating people to stretch themselves, it was time to turn this on me and turn dreams and fears into a workable action plan. Rolling up my sleeves and finding out things I didn’t know, making sure that the things on my To Do list were realistic and achievable, and monitoring my progress to ensure key needs where being met.

How can this approach help your business?

  • Do you have an event coming up that you need to deliver results from but are floundering at how best to achieve this?
  • Have you grown as a business in a reactive way and need to retrospectively ensure that systems, procedures and people are in the right place to provide a strong foundation going forward?
  • Perhaps you have improvements that you know you need to make internally in the business but have no time as the client-facing work is demanding every hour you have available?

Whether it’s setting aside valuable time to turn these problems into actions, or whether the help of someone like myself to work with you to help drive these changes through, the start of a year seems a fantastic place to start.

Now where are those boat building instructions….

{ 1 comment }

Suzy Perry January 4, 2012 at 10:27 pm

Thanks Paula, because of people like you things do become more achievable.

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