Show notes from Episode 55.
You have three choices in life. You can make things happen, watch things happen or you can wonder what happened.
Most people either watch or wonder what happened.
They react. Life happens and they try their best to survive. They get done with work for the day, go home, flip on the TV and then go to bed. They wake up and do it again. Until one day something changes and maybe they lose their job. Then they react and find another job and do it all over again.
This is called playing defense. Someone else has the ball. Maybe its just random chance. Maybe it’s your boss. But something outside of your control calls the plays. You simply react as the plays happen and do your best to limit the losses.
If we aren’t a small business owner we know this all too well. We live in this city because this is where we got a job offer or this is where we grew up. We work a lot because someone gives us a lot of work to do and we have to do it to feed our family. We aren’t able to make new friends or try new hobbies because all of our time is spoken for.
If we are a small business owner we can fall into this trap and be totally out of control as well. We wait for the next fire and as soon as it happens it takes our attention and dictates our life. We run around solving problems. We take care of the urgent stuff but more and more stuff becomes urgent. More stuff than we could ever take care of. We’re on defense. Our business is on offense and totally controls us and dictates our every move.
They say the definition of insanity is doing the same things over and over again and expecting different results.
People on defense complain about the same things over and over again without ever taking control and making changes.
I get it. A lot of things in life are uncontrollable. You can’t control other people’s actions. You can’t control the weather. If you are in a situation where you have a lot of external factors that you can’t control ruling your life its a bad situation to be in. I call these risk factors. Your spouse leaving you is a risk. Your friend letting you down is a risk. Your health is a risk. Getting fired is a risk.
Here’s the secret:
A lot of these risk factors can be influenced by your actions. People on defense don’t understand this.
You can reduce the chances of illness by treating your body the right way. You can reduce the risk of a friend letting you down by putting yourself around better people with better values. You can even control the weather. WHAT?? That doesn’t make any sense. I totally stopped the snow from falling by moving from Boston to Athens Georgia!
You can change the people you interact with. You can change the city you live in. You can change the job you go to every day.
Instead of continuing to wake up every day doing the same thing over and over again and wondering why nothing is getting better for you start to look at the things you can change.
5% of people are making things happen. They are on offense.
They live where they want to live. They do the things that they want to be doing. They go get a new job if they don’t like their current job. They go get new friends if they keep getting let down by their old friends. They control their income stream and make decisions that directly affect it. They get their situation under control by limiting the risk factors.
Some business owners play offense as well. They call the shots. They decide how they spend their time. They work on what they want to be working on. They stop fires before they start.
So let’s all agree it’s better to make things happen than to react to things that happen. It’s better to control as much of our life as we can. It’s better to play offense.
So how do we switch sides and play offense?
You start spending your time on things that are important but not urgent. People on defense deal with things as they come and don’t do anything to stop negative things from coming. They don’t work on their health. They don’t learn and build their experiences to make themselves more valuable in the workforce. They don’t go to networking events. They don’t make an effort to make new friends.
None of this stuff is fun in the moment. It’s work. Not only is it work but its work that doesn’t HAVE to be done right now. It can be put off easily until tomorrow or next week or next year.
Its work that won’t pay you back right now either. It will pay you back 6 months from now. Maybe a year from now. Maybe even 5 years from now. People on offense understand this and they know it’s worth it.
If you aren’t where you want to be in life and you still have some goals that you want to achieve its time to free up some time and lean out your life.
Remember that it takes courage. It’s scary to make changes and to take chances in the hope that things get better. It’s scary to leave even the most unhealthy relationships. It’s scary to move across the country. It’s scary to start that business. It’s scary to go ask someone for a job or an opportunity. Overcoming the insecurity and fear of failure isn’t easy and it takes guts. Anything in life worth doing takes guts.
Start by setting your goals.
What 20% of your activities bring you 80% of your enjoyment?
How much of your time do you spend doing those things? Maybe its spending time with your child?? Maybe its fishing or cycling? Maybe its traveling? Maybe it’s building something and learning something and you want to do it every day at work?
Then make a plan. Start doing the stuff that is uncomfortable. Start delaying your gratification. Start working hard in your free time to make it happen. Lean out your life. Spend less money so you have more freedom. Guard your time and put it to use.
Get out there and make it happen!