I have this insatiable need to feel like I’m making progress. If I can’t check things off my list, or see evidence that my business is moving forward in some way, I start to feel antsy.
The other day I was working, and nothing seemed to be going my way. I kept pushing and pushing, craving that outward proof of progress. In the back of my mind, I KNEW I needed to step back do some strategizing, but instead I kept busy.
Then it occurred to me that if I didn’t step back and evaluate – momentarily give up my obsession with “progress” – I might be drifting away from my goals.
Whoa… so it’s possible to be working your pants off, and be progressing toward… nothing? Keeping blindly busy might actually make my job harder in the long run? Yikes. If that isn’t an idea that will get you to write some goals occasionally, I don’t know what will!
Drift happens, it’s inevitable. It just needs to be managed. It’s pretty simple to get back on track if you drift off course for a few days, or even a few weeks. Being off course for a few months can result in a business having to close its doors.
I can give you a real-life example of drift from an initial appointment with a new coaching client. She asked me, “From what you’ve learned about me, how often do you think we should meet?”
In response, I asked, “How likely is it that you’ll drift off course while establishing the new habits we wrote down today?”
She snorted, and mumbled something about how all she does is drift. I assured her that this is very common, and we set up a regular schedule to touch base so that she never drifts far off track.
Understand that, like most entrepreneurs, my client is a very motivated person. She works hard and takes great care of her clients. The problem is that while she’s got her head down working, months can go by before she looks up to take stock of where she is.
In business, we consistently have to look up from our laptops and ask ourselves questions like “Is this working?” “Is there a better way to do this?” “Am I moving towards my goals or am I just busy?”
To manage drift, the most important thing to do is to build periodic reviews into your schedule. On a consistent basis, work with an accountability partner, work with a business expert– just be sure to work with someone to help you stay on track. Do this, stay on track, and believe it or not, you’ll reach your goals faster
What a concept – slow down and make more progress? Sounds good to me!
Heidi McCarthy says
Thanks for a great tip. As a solo-entrepreneur myself I can completely relate to having your head down striving toward a goal and never looking up to see we’re still on track. Good excuse to pause to look at the stars and see if we are still pointed “true North” 🙂
Thanks for the comment, Heidi. I love the idea of finding our own personal “true North”!