Hi all – this month I have a superb question, and it’s a biggie. Here’s the question from Sam:
Loved both of your books and your inspiration vids. I am embarking on shedding a toxic relationship AND just setting up my business – have you got any tips on how to keep afloat with two young children? I’m nervous I am not going to cope with this and a new business, and from your story you have done it. Any advice appreciated.
Okay Sam. Here’s my starter for ten.
1. Detox is good, essential even. You can’t move forward until you remove the barriers that are holding you back – whether that’s a shit relationship or a job you hate. They have to go to clear the way for enormous change. We only have a certain amount of emotional energy so you have to choose where to spend it. Shitty relationships consume MASSIVE amounts of this so they have to be first to go. So GOOD ON YOU for making the big move.
2. Don’t get overwhelmed by big decisions. Be decisive and act, and that activity will keep you sane whilst your emotions settle down. You will hurt at the termination of anything – whether it’s a relationship or a career or even kids leaving home, but activity will keep you focused and act as useful anaesthetic.
3. Make big plans about WHO you want to be and WHAT your dream life looks like and by WHEN this will be achieved. Keep it simple – good guidelines in JFDI – but print them out and make sure you work to them every day. Make sure they have quantifiable identifiable measures – how much money/revenue/profit, by when, and how. Put them everywhere – bedside mirror, by your computer, in your purse, in your car. So you ABSOLUTELY know what your focus is. What your purpose is DAILY.
4. Plans are nothing without ACTION. They are just DREAMS at this point. So you need to go further and create big detailed plans of where and how you are going to get to where you need to go. This takes a lot of work. This detail is essential in CHUNKING down your big plans into workable bite sized chunks. Then once you add the time scale in this – all working back from your original BIG PLAN brainstorm – you will have a detailed outline on what you should be achieving daily, weekly, monthly. This will stop you from being OVERWHELMED at the enormity of the task. Think of it like mountain climbing – no one scales Everest in a day, they chunk it down into manageable distances taken every day.
5. Decide where your focus is going to be. Sam, in your case it would be good for you to use this part of your life to concentrate on your career and family – leave the relationship stuff until later. Once you have got family and career on your dream track then you can allow head space for other relationships etc, but for now choose your key focuses and stick to them. As Oprah says you can have it all – but not necessarily all at the same time. So don’t expect to have great kids, great job AND great relationship and a fitness regime like Madonna. To us normal human beings it just isn’t possible – you may have to concede a dress size for a year or two, you may have to see less of your mates, you may have to put on hold your plans for a replacement Mr Right. Just stick to a couple of key focusses to ALLOW yourself the real time and energy they need to truly succeed. Having it all is a MYTH.
6. Work your plan. Get up and do it daily. There will be many a day when you just don’t feel like it. Tough. Get up and do it. If you get set-backs you need to work harder and longer to get back on track. This is tough but it’s the only way you will remain in line with your targets. Progress is not easy – if it were anyone would do it, but as entrepreneurs it is our PERSISTENCE that sets us apart from the pack.
7. As parents we have to think of our primary objective and it is normally our children regardless of how career-orientated we may be. Make sure your kids get plenty of YOU TIME – so book that in your diary first every day. My key time with my kids was 1800 to bedtime for years – it was the mainstay of keeping us tight as a family unit, and the kids having time to communicate with me whilst I cooked them tea and they did their homework was paramount. However do not be frightened to outsource nose wiping and chauffeur duties such as picking up from school or after school care. My kids truly did not miss me for those bits – it was the key emotional support parts that were most important. So liberally ditch low return activities so you can focus your energies on those times with the kids when they need you most.
8. Review progress, reward success and DO NOT reward failure. In a big business journey you need to flag up little successes and reward them – first client, first £10k month etc. So enjoy these markers along the way because just focusing on the big goals can feel relentless – so put in some success markers and enjoy those when you reach them. But, and it’s a big BUT- DO NOT reward yourself for a nearly achieved goal. For example I promised myself a new car when I reached a certain financial step – that was a year ago. I haven’t reached it, so no new car for me. Be tough on yourself.
In summary these key areas will help you focus and stay on top of what is – and there’s no doubt about it – a huge undertaking:
- Act on big decisions
- Clarify your Big Life Goals to establish your direction
- Create detailed plans to stop overwhelm and work the plan
- Make sure you limit your areas of key focus – family and career are enough for anyone – you don’t have to be a supermodel and triathlete too
- Persist and work you plan
- Make sure you kids get high quality time with you
- Reward success
Sam, you are about to embark on the journey of a lifetime. It’s a very exciting place to be and I look forward to hearing more about your progress. Remember the enormity of it all may make you squirm a bit – but you are working now like most people never will to have a life in the future that most people never will. It’s the joy of being the purveyor of your own destiny as an entrepreneur. Enjoy – as I am sure you will.
Hope that helps. Looking forward to next month’s Q&A.