It’s often said that being an entrepreneur is the best form of therapy because that’s truly when we come up against ourselves. When you set out to achieve the meaningful goals on your journey, all your ‘stuff’ shows up in very interesting and subtle ways, like quirky behavioural and emotional responses. We all have them, and you know exactly what I’m talking about!
I call that ‘stuff’ energy leaks, and are just like pinholes in a balloon you are trying fill. Those holes dilute your efforts and ultimately prevent you from reaching your goals, or greatly delay them. Energy leaks are a form of self-sabotage and are not inherently wrong or glaring, yet take distract from the results you are trying to create.
Let me explain…
Imagine you are working toward your big, audacious goal. Achieving that goal requires a certain amount of energy to get things moving. Think of energy leaks as sending that energy off in every direction except for the direction it’s needed.
All sorts of seemingly inconsequential bad habits are in fact a form of energy leak. Like when you fail to return that voicemail the same day or ignore an email that you later find out was crucial to your success. Taking ‘social trips’ to the kitchen/photocopier to chat or even showing up late for a meeting, even if it’s only 5 minutes, is an energy leak.
Social media is a HUGE distraction, along with watching TV, emotional eating or surfing the internet.
Your personal care habits can be an especially harmful form of self-sabotage. Staying up late when you know you have an important meeting the next day. Even when you don’t have an important meeting, you aren’t at your best when you are suffering from lack of sleep.
Something as simple as taking care of your body – sweating it out at the gym, getting enough sleep, eating a balanced diet, avoiding the junk food – helps you achieve your goals by keeping you healthy, grounded and mindful of what it is you are doing instead of going off in every direction.
When you find yourself succumbing to one of your self-sabotaging vices, you need to stop yourself, recognize it as an energy leak, and get refocused on doing what you need to do to achieve your goal. The key, of course, is knowing yourself well enough to recognize the signs.
The worst thing about energy leaks is because they were leaked in tiny bits and pieces, you don’t perceive any one leak as the reason for not achieving your goal. Each distraction can take up to 15 minutes for your brain to get back on track, and that adds up over a week!
It’s like putting the bumper guards up on your bowling alley to keep your ball going down the lane out of the gutter!
“Not returning one silly voicemail can’t possibly be the reason I am struggling to achieve my goals.” It isn’t. It’s the cumulative effect of all of those little decisions. The unanswered voicemail. The build up of email. The skipped outbound marketing call. The showing up late for your meeting. The hours you spent looking for validation on FaceBook. All of it adds up to distracted energy that is heading off in the wrong direction.
What you need to achieve your goal is to hold that energy in so you build up enough pressure to move things forward. Without a constructive avenue to direct that energy toward, that pressure will cause you to explode, which is why you need the support structures in place to focus direct your energy.
How to Focus Your Energy and Achieve Your Goals
Clear Direction – Start by identifying your strategic priorities. Once you are clear on the direction, then map out a simple plan to get there.
Proper Support – Ensure you have a clear path to direct your energy toward by building support mechanisms for achieving your goal, such as a task list, focus time, etc. These are the bumper guards on your bowling lane so ask for what you need!
Energetic Focus – Learn to recognize when your self-sabotage vices kick in to distract you from focusing your energy on achieving your goal. Take a breath, (without judgment) have a chuckle, and get back to the task at hand. Do the majority of your focused work at the times of day you know your brainpower is in high gear.
Constructive Environment – Set up your space so your vices are harder to get at and you have the least distractions possible. For example, turn your phone and e-mail off, put your social media on a separate log-in with a long password, turn notifications off, and have water and healthy snacks at your desk.
Are you reaching your goals as fast as you would like or at all? Are you constantly struggling against your own bad habits? As your coach, my job is helping you clear the path to achieving your goals.