One of the biggest challenges we all face when running a business is getting lost. What do I mean? We all have been in the company of others, events/books/podcasts/partner meetings/conferences, and have had the “million dollar” feeling of being laser focused. But too often, once we get back to our business we get mired in the daily minutiae of the “business” of our business and become lost; spending more time working IN our business than ON our business……. Whether you are a manager or an owner, the trap is an easy one to fall into and can be the main reason you aren’t getting where you want to go in your business.

I have just come back from a conference that we are a vendor at, the Association of Christian Thrift Store (A.C.T.S.) conference, in Pensacola Beach Florida. It is a wonderful conference for thrift store owners and staff. There is a lot of information shared and the networking between all participants in the thrift industry is top notch. I always feel amazing after the conference and this year was no different.

I love having discussions that involve all sides of the business; stores, employees and vendors. There are magical insights that happen when we are all discussing the dynamics of this unique segment of the retail market. But when I leave and head home with my brain filled to the brim with ideas on how to maximize this new year, I encounter the same challenge: all the daily “activity” work still needs to be completed and I start to lose the laser focus I was loving at the conference.

***Before I go any further, let me be clear that I LOVE working IN my business, and I bet most of you reading this do as well. However there is a big difference between the magic of feeling “in the FLOW” of ideas and solutions and the daily grind of working inside all of the things my business needs from me to survive. So I am not saying that the daily activities are bad, but don’t you wish you could maintain some of that “inspired” feeling inside of it? Me too!***

I am not talking about balance, because I don’t believe balance exists very often when you are in business, but there needs to be an adjustment of our focus so that we spend time in the foothills of the mountains as well as on the peaks.

Let’s not speak to the specifics of each place for your business, but just simply a few things/activities that can help you experience more of the “ON”……..

Gratitude – Personally I think gratitude is one of the most powerful forces available to all of us. I have personally witnessed lives change for the better just because someone’s focus changed. We all have met the person who is happy regardless of what is happening……. Take some time every day and find the things you are grateful for, write them down and try to find new ones for your list every day.
Self-acceptance – We are our own worst critics. We spend a more time being hard on ourselves than anyone else does. Cut yourself a little slack, forgive yourself and learn to love the positive things you see in the mirror of your mind. Add a thing or two to your gratitude list that you appreciate about yourself; it will gradually change the goggles you view yourself through and will make you a much better person.
Make a list – If you know that there are things to be done, then make a list. The best time to make a list for the things you must do tomorrow is right now! Make the list while things are fresh in your mind and you won’t forget things in the craziness of your day. There are many great apps you can use for list keeping, the one I have found most useful is ToDoist. Even a paper list is better than no list, and there is satisfaction in seeing things scratched out that you completed!
Be Proactive – Do the things you hate doing first. Then it’s all gravy for the rest of the day! If you hate working out, make it the first thing you do in the morning. If you want to read a book that can really help you with this, my recommendation is Mini Habits by Stephen Guise. Great book and a wonderful place to begin the compounding effect of small changes in your daily routine.
Feed Your Brain – There are some really great podcasts out there. If you use an apple device they can all be found on iTunes but if you don’t, then download a program like SoundCloud and you can find them there. If you want a simple place to begin listening then check out the Daily Boost by Scott Smith. Typically around 9 minutes long and he is really upbeat. It is a nice way to begin the day!

The wonderful side effect of everything I mentioned is that each of them will raise the altitude you see your life/business from. They can take you up to the Thousand Foot level so you can see the entire kingdom you are building for yourself. From there you can see for miles!!!!! It is a perspective we seldom take time to pursue…. And much like the top of that mountain, where it’s CRAZY quiet and all the “noise” fades out, the 1k/ft perspective will do the same with your life.

Take 5 minutes and admire where you have been, what you have learned and plot your course for the next horizon! I promise it will make a difference in 2016. Let’s do it together and spend more time working “on stuff” and a little less time getting caught up “in stuff”.

Make it a great day! -Bruce

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