Blink and life will go by.
You may or may not have noticed, life seems to get faster as you get older. And, unless you intentionally plan the future you want, the chances of that future happening are pretty slim.
“One day you will wake up and there won’t be any more time to do the things you’ve always wanted. Do it now.”
– Paulo Coelho
You’re going to need some serious awareness and focus in order to pull this off. We’re not gonna lie… working together as partners and building any business is swimming upstream. You’ll want to weigh your opportunity costs against the cost of inaction. And you’ll both need to learn how to say “no” (more on that below).
Make Time to Think
There are many proactive ways to plan that future together, but it begins by creating space in your heads and in your calendars. You NEED to clear your calendar and set aside that time. You simply can’t do the mental work needed to determine your values and figure out what profitable and sustainable business idea will align with those values.
“The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.”
– Hans Hofmann
Plan on carving out at least 30 minutes to an hour each day to talk through your plans.
- Go for a walk in the evening, OR
- Make a pot of tea after kids are tucked in for the night and kick back on the couch.
- Have something handy to write with/on.
- Leave any devices out of reach, so your time together will remain focused.
Disclaimer: If you decide to move forward, you’ll need to be prepared to set aside a lot more time than that!
Speaking of Focus
One thing we’ve noticed in both our own experience, as well as our research, is that our ability to focus directly corresponds to how much information we allow in our heads each day. If our attention is on news, social media, podcasts, Netflix, whatever, then there are no moments left for creative thinking or reflection. We call this paying attention to the interesting and forgetting the important.
Everything takes time, and it’s your most valuable resource.
Weigh Your Opportunity Costs
There are so many good things to do in this world…
- Good jobs to be had
- Fun events to attend
- Good friendships to maintain
- Hobbies to tinker with
- Good tv to watch
Have you ever heard the phrase, “Giving up the good for the great?”
It means what it sounds like it means: in order to do the great things in our lives, sometimes we have to give up good things. It’s just not possible to maintain everything that fills our lives and still have the time to work on a new business idea.
The Necessity of “No”
Depending on your personality, saying “no” to things is easy, or very difficult, and depending on what it is, maybe even impossible. But, if you’re going to build a business, you’ll have to work on this skill.
“What you don’t do determines what you can do.”
–Tim Ferriss, author
Let’s imagine you’re planning on launching a facebook group on Monday, and you still have to write several posts and create a poll… and the text pops up. Your friend is throwing a housewarming bbq on Saturday for new neighbors. Seems like a nice couple. Might be nice to hang out… can you come? This is the classic good vs. great scenario. So, what do you do?
Here are a few thoughts to help with that decision:
- If it isn’t a, “hell yes,” it’s a no.
- Talk through some of your potential yes/no situations together, and agree on how you’ll handle them before they happen.
- Be sure to have a plan for saying no, so you’ll be ready in the moment.
Kind Ways to Say No
Even though saying no to someone can make you feel like a jerk sometimes, It’s still an imperative, so keep a few of these phrases handy:
- “That sounds like fun. Let me check with _______ first and get back to you.”
- “We hope you have a great time, but we couldn’t possibly be there.”
- “Unfortunately, we already have plans.”
No additional explanation is needed. If someone presses for further information, it’s totally okay to say something like, “It’s a secret!”
The Cost of Inaction
Here’s a little mental exercise to try during your next planning session. Imagine it’s a year (or 5 or 10 years) from now, and you’re really happy about what’s happening in your life together. What is happening in your marriage? What is happening in your work?
Now, ask yourselves, “Is the path we’re on now going to lead us to that happy place?”
- Is your current path leading where you want to go?
- What steps could you take to change the trajectory?
- How could you change your thinking and get past the roadblocks that might be stopping this journey?
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