Business expert Michael Jacobsen busts common work-ethic misconceptions and shares the solutions to achieving your career goals.
As an entrepreneur who is active both in my own businesses and partners – as a mentor, advisor, board director and coach to CEOs and business leaders – I meet literally thousands of people each year. Many of them are already in business, trying to get into business or not in business at all but working away and trying to enjoy their life.
I have noticed three patterns emerging in the way a large majority of people think, which are sabotaging their results and their enjoyment of life: ‘there is never enough time’, ‘there’s just too much to do’ and ‘life is all about money and it’s so hard to make’.
These thoughts stem from certain misconceptions which we in western society have grown to believe are true. In fact there is a collective unconscious which dictates certain things to us in society:
Myth: We have to be busy
We’re too often met with the response ‘busy’ after asking how someone is. I find that if it’s not busy, it’s usually ‘tired’.
Myth: We have to work hard
Because of the eight-hour working day and the way in which people’s success is measured in the workplace, we believe we must work hard and if we are not on the job all the daylight hours sitting in front of a screen, we are slackers.
Myth: We have to chase money
We are chasing it by striving to get it. It’s always just out of reach like a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Someone else always controls it; a boss, a potential business, the government partner or the lottery owners!
These patterns continue to apply to people who are in business too, where they often become even more amplified and destructive. In order to achieve peak performance I believe all of these myths must be dispelled. Why is this?
Regardless of whether we are business owners or employees, we are creators. We have created the position we are now in and we are creating our results daily. Another thing to take into account is that results do not come from doing the same thing repeatedly. That creates stagnation. Results come from doing something better with a better system and a better mindset; this creates progress.
Psychologically, chasing anything is a futile activity I write about this in my book, The Business of Creativity. John Kay also addresses this in his book, Obliquity. Often going the other way and focusing on a non-monetary goal can create the best financial result. Focusing on having fun in your job, doing the best job or growing the best business in your sector can often create more money than chasing ambit sales targets with no relevance to reality.
So how do we address these issues so we can maintain a healthy work or business life and feel energised, enriched and positive?
If you are passionate about your job or business, have a clear vision and engage yourself in it. If it doesn’t excite you or if you have a job that doesn’t fit the vision you have for your life, make changes as fast as is practicable, as you are on the wrong path. Passion creates the psychological effect of being ‘in the flow’ – where you lose track of time.
Manage your time
Poor time management can create a lot of inefficiency, negative energy and frustration. Having a goal-based system is the best way to manage time. Making key milestones for the week, which are measurable to you, and knowing what you need to proactively do to achieve these each day maximises value, enhances energy and minimises time wastage. It also creates satisfaction when the goals are achieved
Sitting answering 1000 emails a day is a waste of time and is not ‘working’. If you have too many emails and can’t handle them, then implement a better system to minimise them and examine your own efficiency and processes to see what is creating this workload.
Maximise your energy
Maximising energy is key to a good work-life balance, as well as achieving more in less time and getting results at work. Energy comes not only from health but from positivity, balance and preparation.
Michael is an Australian-born entrepreneur, producer (Dirty Dancing on Stage) and author of The Business of Creativity: An expert guide to starting and growing a business in the creative sector. Follow him @1jacobsenm