One of the most important parts of my job is helping people through the emotional side of growing a business. You really do have to be an emotional ninja warrior to get through the fear, doubt and uncertainty of making it as an entrepreneur.
Surfing your fear, not avoiding it, (as I referred to it in Body of Work) is part of what will make you strong and capable as a business leader.
But there is a particular kind of yuck that I would like us to all strike from our emotional hard drive.
It is the coulda/woulda/shouldas.
- I should have started this sales page two weeks ago
- I should have kept up with the class materials, now I am so behind
- I should have spent more time preparing for my last presentation
- I should have said yes to that consulting opportunity that I was too busy to take. If I had, then I would be rolling in the dough now.
- I should have quit my job earlier
- I should stayed in my job longer, to build up more cash
- I should have kept my receipts and filed my taxes on time
- I should have written my book 7 years ago before I had kids
- I should have travelled more
- I should have travelled less
- I should have written 20 blog posts when business was slow
- I should have answered that email
- I could have become a millionaire if only I had implemented my idea for Uber (I had it first!)
- I could have been so famous by now, if I weren’t 30 pounds overweight
- I would have been so successful, had I not been duped by that unethical partner
How’s it working for you?
Dr. Phil has one good question.
How’s that coulda/woulda/shoulda working for you?
If beating yourself up for poor choices in your past made you more clear, capable and motivated to take action today, then I might not mind it so much (ok, it would still drive me crazy, but at least it would have some positive benefit).
Lamenting about what you did or didn’t do in the past keeps you stuck in the sludge of yesterday.
Oh, to have a do-over! That would be great.
The only problem is, you can’t do it over.
It happened. And now, it is in the past.
Grieve it and let it go
You don’t need to drag that big bag of coulda/shoulda/wouldas around anymore. It is time to let it go. Here is what you can do:
- Write down all the things that you coulda/woulda/shoulda done
- Press play on this Lou Rawls classic (youngsters on my list, you really need to dig into some Lou Rawls archives. There is no one smoother. Even Luther would have agreed).
- Cry your eyes out. No, really. It sucks so much that things turned out the way they did. I am so sorry that you weren’t in a place to make better choices that day, or month, or decade.
- When you are all done letting that emotional yuck out, wipe your eyes.
Declare your dominion
Now that the Sludge of Poor Choices Past is no longer weighing you down, let’s talk about what you can do to “declare your dominion,” a wonderful term coined by my friend Anna Kunnecke.
Today, with the skills, resources, energy I have available, I will:
This coming week, I will take advantage of the following opportunities that are right in my hand, right now:
Tonight, before I go to sleep, I will give thanks for the following things:
There is so much more to create.
You have so much to give.
Your people need you.
Let’s not waste any more time.
(If you are so called, declare YOUR dominion below in the comments.)