What business activities are you resisting?
Last week we talked about habits, and the habit of thinking things had to be hard.
One of the biggest mistakes we see are clients resisting or avoiding certain business tasks because of an unconscious – or sometimes very conscious – belief that the task will be unpleasant. (Remember the mirror and the overwhelm fairy?)
A lot of people will advise you to just do it anyway, to hunker down and do the hard stuff. There are metaphors about big rocks in jars and eating elephants and frogs. You’ll be so proud of yourself later and all that.
I’m not really into that, myself. It’s not that I’m lazy, per se. But when I was thinking of starting IttyBiz, it was this or creating a book empire about comfort and pleasure. I’m a comfort and pleasure girl. I don’t like doing things that are uncomfortable or unpleasant. I could get hit by a bus at any time. I don’t like the idea of spending my last day on earth doing something that doesn’t feel good.
However, the sad fact remains that some things aren’t that pleasant. Learning curves are often unpleasant. Creating new routines often doesn’t feel very good. The dirty work is often… dirty.
So what can you do?
You’ve accepted that it doesn’t have to be hard, but the prospect still doesn’t exactly fill your heart with thoughts of cherry blossoms and bunnies.
Here’s a thought.
Could you make it suck less?
The fact that you’re here and reading this makes me think you’re probably pretty creative. You’re probably a bit of an outside-the-box thinker. You’re probably a fan of innovation.
Let’s face the facts – if you wanted to do things the ordinary way, you would have taken a job at the post office.
So is it possible that you could take that creative, outside-the-box innovation and apply it to what you’re resisting?
You could approach the thing you’re resisting by gaming yourself with rewards or pulling out your best motivation tricks or prepping yourself by doing a bunch of other things that leave you feeling good and productive and successful and strong. But what about making the process itself more enjoyable? (Or hell, even simply less unenjoyable?)
A couple of examples.
I’m typing this blog post on Dave’s iPhone. He has the iPhone 5, and I’m not used to it. It feels wrong in my hand, and I keep making typos because my thumbs don’t know where the keys are on such a narrow screen. Finally tired of my incessant grumbling – and possibly equally tired of me monopolizing his phone – he suggested I turn the phone around and type horizontally.
Ahhhh. Not all better, no. But better. Better enough.
Now, it would be nice if all the things that sucked about the things you choose to do could be solved so simplistically. But they can’t.
But that doesn’t mean you don’t still have options.
I had to get my passport renewed last week, and I’d been putting it off because it was a world of suck for me. Finding the passport, getting photos, going down to the sterile passport office, filling out the paperwork, sitting around for a few hours waiting for my number to be called … It felt daunting and draining and the last thing I wanted to do at the time.
I had put it off so long, it expired. That was a bit demoralizing in itself, and the resistance set in even deeper.
So one morning while I was whining to myself about how thoroughly it was going to suck to get my expired passport renewed, it occurred to me that the part that was really daunting was finding my passport in the first place. That was what was really bothering me. That part was what really qualified as sucking.
Going to the passport office wouldn’t actually suck. It was just mind-numbing. But I could bring a book, at least, and finally get some reading done. Filling out the paperwork wouldn’t actually suck. It was just paperwork. Getting passport photos wouldn’t actually sucked. (That was actually exciting, considering how bad my previous pictures had been.)
And if I could get through one unpleasant part, the rest weren’t as bad as I’d made them out to be.
This is what tends to trip us up.
Far more often than we realize – not all the time, but often enough – we resist doing something because we think the process as a whole weighs us down.
But the whole doesn’t generally weigh you down. Usually it’s just one or two parts of the process. The rest of the parts are neutral at worst and potentially positive at best.
So when you’re resisting doing something, you’re probably not resisting the “something.” It’s likely that it’s just one part of it that truly sucks for you, but because you’re not noticing it the feeling infects the whole thing.
Sometimes just accepting that one part will suck gives you the energy to handle moving forward. Other times finding a way to make that one sucky part suck less will do the same. But the problem probably isn’t as systemic as you think it is, and generally you have a lot of power over your experience.
Some unpleasant situations don’t have an easy fix, but many do. And if you go into your unpleasant situations considering that there might be a way to take some of the resistance and grumbling out of it, you might just find that way.
Find the way, and you just might get more done.
So today, think of what you’re resisting, and consider what simple things might make the process a little nicer for you. (You might also want to read The River while you’re at it.)
Naomi writes more things like this in The Letter. Get it for free today. (It also comes with free marketing courses. You can’t move for free here.)