Written in Nov 2015, updated for 2019. (Thanks to Lauchlan MacKinnon for the reminder to bring this idea back.)
There is an interesting dichotomy on the journey of entrepreneurship: the Artist versus the Engineer. I have some measure of both within me. You do as well.
The Artist is concerned with staying true to her inner experience. Singing the song she feels like singing, even if nobody listens. Expressing her truth, no matter if others agree. The Artist brings the emotion, the humanity, the spirituality, the Love.
On the other hand, the Engineer is concerned with outer results, creating something to draw a positive response. Tracking the metrics. Making tweaks based on market feedback. The Engineer brings the data, the logic, and creates the systems.
At the current stage of your business, which one interests you more?
This is how people become victims of life: doing the right things only when we feel good, or when conditions are perfect…
Feel Good ➜ Do Right
To live purposefully, to experience more of our potential, we must flip the above equation, and understand that if we act rightly, we end up feeling good.
This is exercising your free will, practicing an internal locus of motivation, thus becoming stronger in your abilities to do the right thing. The better equation is:
Do Right ➜ Feel Good
Oftentimes, it’s not enough to have a goal.
If the goal is challenging (the most worthwhile goals are), you will need motivational methods that are effective for you personally, methods that help you focus no matter how "hard" the task feels.
Below, I describe the methods that have worked best for me and my clients.
As you read this post, I invite you to score each method on a scale of 0 to 10. Zero means “For sure this won’t work for me” and 10 means “This is, or will be, game-changing for my productivity!”
If you'd like, comment at the bottom of the post with your score for each of these. Most importantly, commit to using the method that works best for you!
Use your method anytime you have an important project.
Here are the 5 methods:
In business, I’ve been learning the importance of not worrying about making “a good first impression."
For example, this may be the first blog post you’ve read from me. Maybe it’s making a poor first impression on you… should I be afraid of losing you as a potential reader?
If I allowed that fear, I would probably not write or publish… there are too many people I could disappoint, readers I could "lose", reviews that could “devastate” my business… if I don't make a good first impression.
There’s a fallacy of thinking here:
Did you know that your brain is almost as active when you’re asleep as when you’re awake?
It’s also true when you’re “only” relaxing. Your brain is just as active. When you're not "focused" your brain is in what’s called diffuse mode. It’s still thinking for you, solving the problem you were focused on before, except in the background of consciousness.
If you’re only in “focused” mode all the time, you’re not effectively tapping the hugely creative power of your subconscious mind.
This is why I rest frequently throughout the day. Although my work hours on the calendar are between 7am and 7pm, I’m often resting and relaxing during those hours.
Each time I get away from my computer and do something else, I know I am going into the brain’s diffuse mode, and my consciousness is “working” on my project or problem in a different, more creative way… without my having to focus on it.
In other words, it’s a form of “productive” self-care.
Here are some different ways to do “frequent creative rest”...
George Kao is a Marketing Coach for small business owners, especially solopreneurs such as Coaches and Mentors. He focuses on ethical & effective ways to grow one's platform and build true livelihood.
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