Tag Archives: sanity

Are You A Poor Entrepreneur?

Any business of any size is run by people. People, being people, carry their own mind-sets and world views with them wherever they go, and make decisions, have habits, and see things according to the way their world-view works.  How you see the world decides how you act in it, and vice versa.

And with that setting the context,  you have heard of the scarcity mindset, right?

In essence, the scarcity mindset is concerned with lack.  If we were talking about it like it’s eyesight, it’s hyper-focus and short-sightedness at the same time.

  • With hyper-focus you can get tunnel-vision. While doubling down on an issue can help especially when time is running out and the need is urgent, you can also get blindsided.
  • With short-sightedness you won’t be able to focus on what’s further ahead.

You’re fully caught up in the moment, and not in a good way.  Think of it like treating the symptoms and ignoring the illness. You feel better temporarily, but it doesn’t fix that you’re sick.

When you’re focused on what isn’t there, you can’t focus on what is there. You’re too tied up to respond freely, consciously, and deliberately.

What happens when you have have this mind-set?

  • You spend the majority of your brainpower  and energy on what you see as emergencies, and the important things can slide right out of focus.
  • Your judgment is affected, as will as your willpower.

When these two things are set askew, you won’t be able to make the most appropriate choices in the situations you face,  and you could find it easier to throw your hands up and pick the closest ‘solution’ available, or simply give up, which doesn’t help and can make the situation worse.

 

In many cases, that sort of thinking can be a big a problem hiding in your blind spot. You might not think there’s anything out of the ordinary, you might not see that there’s an issue, but somehow you keep bumping into the same snarls, chokepoints, and roadblocks.  You keep putting out the same fires.

See, the scarcity mindset isn’t just the overall feeling that “there is only this much, and no more,” so you have to get yours while you can. It’s an entire way of moving in the world, and for you, it’s just normal. And it’s holding you back.
Continue reading Are You A Poor Entrepreneur?

How Having Clear Priorities Lessens Overwhelm

Putting it simply, you won’t be able to function at your best if you ‘re not able to manage your stress. And to to do that effectively  you need to get to the root cause of of your particular stress points, which is different for everyone. Stress is endemic in today’s world, and while businesses, organizations, and governments are focused on addressing it due to the massive negative effects it has on worker and citizen’s mental and physical health, productivity, and quality of life, it is up to us on an individual level to actually make the moves and take specific actions  so we can go and live the best life we can — or at the very least hurt a lot less while doing so.

This certainly applies to anyone who have ever gone and created and run a business of their own. The internet has given us a whole virtual frontier of opportunities to become entrepreneurs, and in itself also is an incredibly fast-paced and competitive environment where we have to be agile and responsive if we’re ever to make it. And that’s stressful.

Now, one of the biggest contributors  to the feeling of overwhelm and stress is the lack of clarity about priorities. Whether working for ourselves, with, or for others, the  waves of conflicting demands that come in the form of emails, phone-calls, personal requests, requisitions, orders, instant messages, and our own personal To-Do lists make for a formidable forest of ‘open items’ to accomplish, a forest that we very easily get lost and bogged down in.

The error comes in assuming you can juggle your top priorities.  That’s what all the productivity gurus and books have been saying for the last decade — make a list, arrange in order of priorities, and there you go. And yet hundreds– if not thousands –of new titles on productivity and ‘Getting Things Done’ are still published every year. People still have trouble getting their priorities in order because admittedly, we get so many demands on our time it’s hard to keep a steady eye and a clear head in all of the details. Continue reading How Having Clear Priorities Lessens Overwhelm

Sustainable Progress: Keep Going By Making Small Bets

25 February 013, by A. Cedilla

In the LifeHacker post, “How To Design A Lucky Life” member stainless_rat left an awesome comment in response to the article, reproduced in full below:

“I’ve lived lucky by simply trimming the odds, which conflicts with recommendations here. Small changes that give things a chance to happen. Such as having met an attractive woman on a group hike…and arranging to attend the next hike with that group instead of another: if she was there, great, if not, I still end up with a fun hike. End result? Happily married for 7 years now.

Unlike the recommendation here, I say DO go for low cost gambles, just don’t go overboard. One small investment nets an infinite increase in your odds of winning while an additional investment might increase them negligibly. So going for the ‘infinite’ bump, I’ve had enough wins for others to consider me ‘lucky’.

Small changes in just paying attention, trimming your odds a hair here and there…it all adds up over time.” (Emphasis added)

Low-cost gambles can make for small wins. And more importantly, small wins keep you going. Continue reading Sustainable Progress: Keep Going By Making Small Bets

On Enthusiasm, And Using Your Passion

21 January 2013 by A.Cedilla

En-theos – “…to be lit up with divine fire, to be possessed by a god.”

When people discuss having enthusiasm for their jobs, sometimes tossing in the etymology of the word can cast quite a different light on the issue. I mean, being aflame or being possessed?

That would be kind of mesmerizing to watch on the big screen…until you realize that if it were in actual, real life, anyone literally in such a state wouldn’t be focused on doing anything productive. Heck, they wouldn’t be able to focus at all. They’d be all terrible, screaming sensation. With the possible addition of explosive pea-soup vomiting, guttural howling and piss-your-pants terror. Nasty business, that.

 

That being said, enthusiasm is a feeling. It is a feeling and feeling fade with time, because time is a phenomenon that imposes limits. Without help, feelings fade. How do you keep them going? As a mental exercise to illustrate:

  • Think of a sheet of paper. Imagine folding it lengthwise into 4 parts, opening it, then dividing those 4 columns crosswise into 7 more columns: you have a lunar calendar of 28 days. Play around with a few of the weekends, you can bump it up to 31 days.
  • Find a paper plate, divide it into 12 sections. Number each section, and fix a pair of uneven “hands” smack dab in the middle of the plate: you have a 12 hour clock.

 

You have something you’re excited about. Something you really look forward to doing. You have the feeling, you have access to the means, and you have the time to execute your intentions.

What isn’t mentioned in all that are the things you do to fill those hours and days when you’re also doing other stuff that are not the thing you’re currently in love with. You still have to handle the blocks of time filled with hard, boring stuff while watching the clock tick away. You can’t get away from that. Continue reading On Enthusiasm, And Using Your Passion

Your Goals Are Just Mile-markers In Your Journey

22 July 2012, by A. Cedilla

You have a plan.

You have a lot of plans.

Some of them may have fallen through, but you pride yourself on being able to adapt when it’s needed, and you’ve adjusted quickly.

You power on, executing task after task, action after action. Your planner is full of crossed-out action items on your To-Do lists.

You have a goal.

You have a lot of goals, and because of your persistence and determination, you meet most of them, and surpassed a few.

So, how are you feeling right now? Top o’ the world, living a so-so existence, or struggling to keep your head above water?

If you did everything right, where did it go wrong? Continue reading Your Goals Are Just Mile-markers In Your Journey

Making It A Worry-Free New Year

27 December 2011, by A. Cedilla

Well, we’re there. The year’s almost over, and whether you say goodbye to it with a wistful, bittersweet smile, or let go with a sigh of mixed relief and sadness, when faced with a brand new year to fill, by golly, one can’t help but feel hope at the thought.

The past three articles deal with trying to see what you want to happen in your life in the next 12 months. Committing to a year-end review gives you a solid record of events on which to base your major moves for the next year. Knowing what you want to get out of your goals fuels you for the journey you’re about to take, and examining your general world-view helps you in the problem solving and anticipating stages.

The last article of the year deals with the aftermath of all that mental activity. The major points and their supporting details are in place, now it’s time to look for the loopholes and think about how it can go awry. Think of it as planned last-minute jitters.

In Anticipation Versus Worry, we drew a thick line between the act of anticipating a problem, and worrying about it. Today will include a little exercise that only requires about 15-30 minutes at the most, then another revisit some time later. Ready?

You now have blanket permission to wring your hands, pull at an earlobe, and to execute whatever nervous tic you most feel comfortable with while worrying. Before you do so, however, kindly have some different-colored pens and some clean sheets of paper handy, as well as the results from all the questions asked in the previous articles. Review those answers first, okay?

Done? Go. Worry your little black heart out. Write all your mental mosquitoes down. Then leave the list in a safe place and sleep unencumbered with the weight of all those pestiferous black thoughts buzzing at you. Sweet dreams.

Now pretend it’s tomorrow. Continue reading Making It A Worry-Free New Year

Anticipation Versus Worry

11 November 2011, by A. Cedilla

Remember how sharp and hyper-real the world looks like when you’re anticipating something?

  • Getting up very early on Christmas morning.
  • Haunting the mailbox (or the side-table beside the front door) for your acceptance letter from college.
  • The last few minutes before you’re called in for the final interview.
  • 5 minutes before you meet the person you’ve been corresponding with through Skype and e-mail for the past 6 months.
  • The moment the door opens to your first exhibit, and the first guests arrive.

You’re antsy. You can’t be still. You’re screamingly awake –internally, at least– and your thoughts are going a hundred miles an hour. What’s going to happen next? What do you do if you get what you want? What do you do if you don’t? What do you do? It feels like you’re going to vibrate out of your skin, you’re so dizzy.

What about these situations?

  • You’re behind on your credit cards. Way behind, and every time the phone rings you train yourself to ignore it. The creditors won’t get anything anyway, it would only be a waste of time. Then there’s a knock on the door.
  • It’s the week before finals, and it seems the whole student population is at the library. All the tables are filled, and the snafu with the books you reserved can’t be fixed, the books just aren’t there anymore. Sorry.
  • The numbers have been steadily dropping in the past month, and more customers are opting out of your latest marketing strategy’s sign-up plan.
  • Too much month, not enough money. You have a gap of four days before your next paycheck comes in, and it might as well be two weeks.

Continue reading Anticipation Versus Worry

Getting Out From Under Your Own Business

18 September 2011, by A. Cedilla

One of the dangers of running a business of your own is that it can end up owning you.

It happens a lot. You break out of the corporate world, say, to follow your own dreams — then find out that you should have spent less time thinking about being finally free of The Man — live the dream! Carpe diem!— and more time on what it means to run things entirely on your own. Like, you know, by yourself.

You’re not only on the top of the ladder, you’re the whole thing, including the bottom rung.

Following your passion doesn’t mean happy-happy joy-joy all the live-long day. That’s a side effect, and it doesn’t stay for long.

Following your passion doesn’t even mean running your own business by default, come to think of it. Many people still work at what you’d consider boring jobs, but they save their ‘passions’ for outside the office, and indulge on their own time. And they want it that way. They build structure in their life to support their choices. But running a business?

And take note that the root word of passion is passiosuffering. That in itself should give you a clue where I’m going with this.

Let’s go with watching soap operas. Yeah, sure, they’re way out there, the story lines are unbelievably byzantine, but for sheer escapism, they can’t be beat. And you can always change the channel. You can’t do that with a business. Continue reading Getting Out From Under Your Own Business

Five Psychic Tips to An Easier Morning

04 July 2011, by A. Cedilla

I’m going to tell you something you already know about making your mornings flow smoother. Ready?

To have an easy start to your day, create a system where you set up needed things the night before. This is the short, polite version of “Prior planning prevents piss-poor performance.”

Even in this economy, people’s lives have a way of establishing equilibrium. We’re hardy little survivors, we are, and life has a way of settling into a state of stability as we adjust to our new circumstances. And whether you’re a free-lance artist, a stay-at-home-parent, a line worker, an executive or an executive assistant, you have a work day: a time of day where you labor.

That equilibrium posits that you have a relatively steady life. For the most part, you can safely expect things to run on a certain schedule. You can assess and prep for the situations you expect, you can prepare the things you need for those events, and you have a hold on what’s going to happen in your regular workday and work week… that’s why you have routines.

Routines grow around things we need to do on a regular basis, everything from how you wake up and feed yourself in the morning, to the way you set up your office and desk, to the things you attend to first as you balance your workload, all the way down to your before-bed rituals.

You know what you’re going to do? Prepare the way for it to go smoothly.
You know what you want to happen? Set it up so it will.
You know what you need to do? Stop over-analyzing it and do it.
Continue reading Five Psychic Tips to An Easier Morning

Protect Yourself By Having A Wind-Down Hour

20 June 2011, by A. Cedilla

Let’s say you have a big project. A big project and a tight deadline. You get this thing done, it’ll mean big change for you and your business. If you get this thing nailed…wow. But then there are the dozen other things you have to juggle in your role as a business owner.

There are also your other roles: mom or dad, civic leader or writer-on-the-side, working student, etc. You have so much to do, and not enough hours in the day. Something has to give, and usually one of the first things to go is enough sleep.

When you cut down on things like sleep to squeeze more time into your day, eventually it will catch up. It isn’t always the sudden big stresses that beat us down, but the constant little stresses that we go through that wear us out enough that when we crash, we can crash hard.

One way to deal with those constant stresses is establishing the habit of a wind-down hour.

Just as you need to have a system in place to get you up and going in the morning, you need another to park your stress and leave it before it drains you even more. Otherwise, you’d be running your mind all night and going nowhere but zombie-land the next day.

If it helps, think of yourself as a car: If you’re parking your car for the night, you’re not going to leave the engine running, right? In your actual case, to have time enough to get real rest, you have to switch off. Disconnect the negative charges running in your head before it drains your batteries.
Continue reading Protect Yourself By Having A Wind-Down Hour