I’ve been listening to a lot of excuses lately. Actually, they are more like apologies.
I’m sorry I didn’t create that workshop yet, but I’ve just been so busy.
You’re not going to be happy but I still haven’t started that blog we talked about.
I don’t know what’s wrong with me but I just can’t seem to get focused on this project.
Those are the kinds of things I hear from clients who are ashamed that they are not meeting the goals they set for themselves. And, to be perfectly honest, I’ve found myself saying similar things to my business coaches and mentors at times.
Here’s where I’m supposed to tell you to stop making excuses and start doing the work. I’m supposed to inspire you to push beyond your limiting beliefs and develop the discipline necessary to succeed as a business owner. But sometimes that kind of cheerleading is not going to make a difference. Sometimes there is a more important message below the surface. Sometimes you need permission to step back and press the pause button on your goals and dreams for a minute.
If you’ve been putting off one of your goals, or slowing down in your daily business tasks, I want you to know that you’re not alone. We can’t move full speed ahead in our businesses all the time. We need to slow down and regroup periodically. This is a normal part of running a business – especially for those of us who have created a business that supports (rather than competes with) our family values. In fact, it’s actually one of the perks of owning your own business – if you had a regular J-O-B, you would not be the one to decide when it’s time to speed up or slow down. But you do get to decide.
The key to a wise decision is to recognize the difference between making excuses and truly needing to honor the natural cycle of your entrepreneurial energy. Only you can make that determination. But here are three clues that it’s time to step back:
Three Clues that it’s Time to Put Your Business on Hold for the Moment
1. Something (or someone) in your life requires an extraordinary amount of your personal attention. I’m not suggestion you put your business on hold every time your child has a runny nose or the PTA is having a bake sale. But when you have something of a personal nature that really and truly needs your time and energy, it’s OK to readjust your business goals temporarily. It’s a privilege to be able to do that – so please take advantage of it when you need to. Isn’t that one of the reasons you’re in business for yourself in the first place?
2. You’ve lost your purpose. Just because you’ve outlined your goals in January and committed to writing a book, launching a website, hiring a team or bringing a new product to market, doesn’t mean you have to follow through on every grand plan. Yes, there is merit in finishing what you started…but sometimes we receive divine redirection and we’re called to shift our focus mid-stream. If you dig deep into your “excuses” for not taking action, you may discover it’s because the goals are no longer in alignment with your purpose. If that’s the case, it’s not a sign of failure to let them go. It’s simply what is required if you are truly living a life on purpose.
3. Your physical or emotional health is suffering. I know you agree with me that no business is more important that your own health. But I want you to see that even the smallest of habits can create a detrimental effect on your health. Habits like pulling all-nighters to meet deadlines by working while the children are sleeping so you can still be with them during the day. And fueling your body with caffeine and sugar to give you the energy you need to work on your business. And skipping your morning exercise because there’s just too much work to be done. These seemingly small steps can lead to a big disaster if you let them. If I’m describing your routine lately, then know that I’m not judging you. I get it – and I’ve been there before. And for the sake of your health, your family and your business, please consider making a change.
The great thing about building a business that supports your values is that you become very clear on your priorities. And you give yourself permission to shift your focus in business to accommodate your family and your lifestyle. So don’t beat yourself up when it’s time to slow down – that’s what you’re supposed to doJ
Have you ever had to put your business goals on hold temporarily? How did you know it was the right thing to do?