Saturday, 15 June 2013

Why Knowing Yourself Might Be the First Rule of Successful Business Building

For the past few months I have been busy.  Very busy.  As is my wont, I have been trying to do more than I can fit into the time available.    Eventually the penny dropped that I would just have to rationalise my work in some way or I'd never get it all done.  So I sat down and looked at what exactly I was doing with my time.  And it was enlightening.

I was spending a huge amount of time on social media - posting, scheduling tweets, replying to other people and, of course, finding stuff to post about and interesting links to post.  And I rather enjoyed this part of it.  But once I started looking at it, I realised that I could automate far more than I was doing.  So why had this not occurred to me before?  Reluctantly, I accepted that, firstly, it was because I'm a workaholic and, secondly, it was because I'm a perfectionist.

The way I was doing things, I was getting the satisfaction of working long hours and of making sure that everything was exactly the way I wanted it, down to the last full stop.  The result was that I was making very poor use of my time in terms of what I was achieving.  I needed to accept that perfection wasn't necessary.  There's a well-known saying in psychotherapy about parents - that they don't need to be perfect, just 'good enough'.  If I could persuade myself to be happy with 'good enough' for the less important work, I could do more - and, probably, the work that really mattered would be of a higher standard because I would have more time for it.

So I automated a few things . . . and (being a perfectionist) spent the first few days checking them frequently to ensure that they were all working well.  In fact, some of the things I'd automated seemed to work better that way than when I was doing them manually.  And when, last weekend, I came down with a bug and took a couple of days off work, it didn't take me forever to catch up with everything once I was better.

Now, as a counsellor, I am aware how much understanding themselves can help my clients.  But I'm only just realising how important it is in all aspects of our lives.  I suspect that the people who really get to the top in business are those who know themselves very well.  They know where their strengths lie - and also their weaknesses.  Perhaps it doesn't hurt, every now and again, to do a SWOT analysis on what we're doing - looking at the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats affecting our businesses.  If I'd done that earlier, I might have got more done in the time available!

[Image by tzunghaor]

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