Life can get us into a lot of trouble. So can business. Sometimes the excitement of owning our own thing lifts us so far off the ground that it's hard to come back to reality. Indeed, starting a business is easy compared to the challenges of managing a business and making it profitable year after year.
It takes relentless focus and physical stamina to keep things moving in a forward direction. While there are many things lurking in the shadows waiting to throw us off, in my experience they fall into 3 categories:
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Distractions. This information age we live in is full of them. Subscribe to this. Read that. Listen to this. Try that. There is no shortage of bright and shiny objects. Know yourself and your business well enough to be able to quickly discern which new things can work for you and which ones will distract you from your goals. Then, behave accordingly.
Deceit. The Internet is full of snake oil. With $10 and a debit card, anyone can set up a website claiming to be an expert who can change your destiny — if you'll only buy their program or system. Don't be deceived. Check backgrounds and references. Look for depth, consistency, and results. If you don't see it, go elsewhere.
Ignorance. Ignorance makes you your own worst enemy.
I recently read that 2011 will be the year of “self-learning.” If that's true, this year will be just like every other year of my life. I've always been a self-learner. If you haven't been, then 2011 is your year. Read. Listen to audio books. Study other achievers. Practice wisdom.
Devour every piece of insightful information available to you, then identify steps you can take to improve your life. Then act. Don't run your business in a rat hole. You have to make good products, yes. But that's just the beginning. Feed your brain. Learn what you need to do to be successful, and then get busy.
So How Do You Do This In Real Life? Practice.
Let me give you an example. When I log into my Road Runner email account using the Web interface, I am bombarded with the latest celebrity gossip. If I click to read just one story, it leads to a second, then a third, until I have wasted precious moments of my life. Those moments add up to wasted potential. How to deal with it? Don't click on any of it. Ever. Over time, I have trained my brain to click “MAIL” so fast that I no longer even see the wasteland of distractions cluttering the home page.
Here's another example. When I receive an announcement about a new e-book or blog (or whatever) to subscribe to or buy, I do two things (if I don't already know the person): Google the person selling it, and look them up on Twitter. If their Twitter page is one promotional announcement after another (or if they don't have a Twitter page), and/or if the only person talking about them on Google is themselves, I hit the delete key. Because it's a habit, I do all of this in about 60 seconds. And that's if I don't delete it in the first place!
I'm that focused on my goals. And you can be too.
Never sit down to your computer without a specific goal in mind. Know exactly what you plan to accomplish, set a time frame, and then do it.
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefor, is not an act, but a habit.” Aristotle
Question: How do you stay focused?