Starting to Think Strategically

Reviewing some learning materials for a mastermind group I’m in.
I often feel like I haven’t ‘arrived’ at my final strategy for my business and my life. I think that one component is that going into the theatre world, you have this general understanding that you’ll get to do your fun stuff – and then always have your ‘other job’ that helps pay bills, provides benefits, etc. When you major in ‘the arts’ you know that the likelihood of a sustainable career doing exactly what you want is highly unlikely so you are always doing Something Else. Always looking for that Other Job. I sometimes think I haven’t fully moved out of that realm.
I do work too hard. Yes, I work my ass off. The trouble is, I really enjoy most of the stuff I’m doing – part of my dilemma is to start to hash out what do I really enjoy that can make the most money in the short-term and then in the long-term. Unlike many business people, I do sometimes enjoy sitting at the computer for 6 hours at a time: working on a piece of code, designing a course or imagining a different way of doing something. At the same time, I know that I spend too much time at the computer and that when I begin to build a family that will be unsustainable.
I was delighted to see that my NETGEAR router allows me to block certain sites on a certain schedule. I seriously might block my favorite internet distractions during my business hours.
As Andrea said on one of her previous calls, consider working even less. Consider working four hours a day instead of sitting at the computer for eight or more hours and actually getting about 3 hours of tangible progress done.
One thing good about this mastermind group is many of the concepts we’re exploring are actually stuff I’ve been intuiting all along. Like my ‘grand unified theory’ of internet marketing. Or the need to systematize everything down to a process and procedure (shades of my corporate finance admin days).
I do feel a need to not share this unsurety with my readers because it would indicate weakness or vulnerability – that I should instead post this on my personal blog. But I think the more open I am – the more help I’m going to receive – either from other people or through other mysterious channels.
I don’t feel like I’m doing things that are strategic in the long term.
And here’s where all my friends and colleagues Oh Jesus Christ here he goes one! More! Time!

I know that I should ‘monetize my strengths’ and outsource my weakness… I just don’t see all of this as a tangible, graspable, explainable business model. I’ve even yelled out in frustration: I’m not thinking past the next six months until the new year.

9 thoughts on “Starting to Think Strategically

  1. webduck

    OMG, you’re human! What it sounds like to me is that you might be feeling that your life is just TOO good right now. I am 55 and certainly have not accomplished all that I would like. I also know at this “advanced” age that I never will. Once I grasped that epiphany, I went on with a new attitude, which is that I do as much as I can, when I can, as I can. Maybe that is good enough.

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  2. Kristie Tamsevicius

    Andy,
    What standards are you measuring yourself by. The whole point of being an entrepreneur (for me anyway) is to freedom to enjoy your LIFE everyday, to live on your own terms.
    Why do you feel you haven’t “arrived”? Are you not making the money you would like? Are you not as famous? Do you personally not feel like your career is at the level you would like?
    I think you have done tremendous things for the world of blogging and to influence entrepreneurs around the world.
    Give yourself a little credit — and go have a rum and coke for lunch while you sit outside and eat it. Just reflect for you a moment. You really do have it good.
    Sometimes it’s just a shift in perspective that lets you see all the abundance you have in your life.

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  3. Bob Walsh

    Been there, done that, am still waiting for the tee shirt! Seriously Andy, unlike the offline world, were we all work it’s frightenly easy to see your workload expand infinitely with no measureable return.
    By the way, what’s a mastermind group? Sounds like something I’d like to join…

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  4. Sharon Sarmiento

    Andy,
    I think your feelings are completely normal. When you’re working for yourself, there’s so much more riding on the line.
    Seems like a lot of a small biz owner’s success has to do with biz planning, but an even bigger part of it is mental and emotional resiliency–dealing with the pressure of having so much at stake. I’m trying to cultivate a zen attitude, not spend so much time stressing over the future and logically planning every little detail out.
    You and I were both laid off from our corporate jobs at pretty much the same time. Since then, you’ve established yourself as an expert in your field, written a top-selling globally published book, and through your winning personality, talent and gift for communicating with people have managed to surround yourself with tons of folks who want nothing more than to help you any way they can.
    Relax, breathe, and enjoy the amazing things you’ve accomplished so far. You are poised to take over the world in so many respects–take a deep breath and enjoy the ride.:-)

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  5. Andy Wibbels

    Thanks everybody for your feedback so far – especially Sharon (I knew there was a side benefit to hiring interns – they can be cheerleaders for ya!). 😉
    I’ve also got that usual work ethic thing from my family – my favorite example of this ever is when I’d try to read a book at my grandma’s house and I’d lay on the bed in the guest bedroom – she’d say Andy are you tired? Is that why you’re laying down in the bed? Or if you decided to take a nap on the couch it’d be You need to go back into the bedroom and take a nap.
    God love Agnes Krekel!

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  6. Kathie Thomas

    I know how you feel and have been there too. I loooooove what I do with a passion but over the past 12 months have recognised there must come a time when I need to define what I want to keep doing and what needs to be passed on to others. I began to work at home 12 years ago because of my children (5 of them!) who have grown up with mum working at home and always in the office. At least they knew where to find me :-). Really though, I was always here for them and would take breaks at the times they came home from school, and went back to it in the evenings once they settled for the night.
    I’ve been going through coaching (to help define my directions) and am also now coaching others in my own field of Virtual Assistant. It’s been a great journey and continues on.

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  7. Terri Z

    Andy wrote:
    “I don’t feel like I’m doing things that are strategic in the long term.”
    Ah, but you are! Trust me, and stop worrying about it already!
    I used to try to keep a quarterly plan that was projected out 4 quarters at a time. Then I realized that I was learning so much, and the world (especially the Internet) was changing so much, that 3-6 months was really as far out as I can see.
    I’m learning in my mastermind group to just do what feels right, every day, every moment. Which means if I don’t feel like working, I don’t. If I feel like working on X, but my brain is telling me I really need to work on Y to be “on plan”, I’m learning to tell my brain to shut up! And if I find myself constantly avoiding Y, then it’s time to delegate it anyway.
    Maybe if we get really good at that, we can work just three hours a day — and eliminate the other 5+ hours that are probably spent worrying on what we *should* be doing!

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  8. Jade Barclay

    Yay – it’s not just me! The double-edged sword of passion rears its head again. God bless mastermind groups and gratitude lists to keep your priorities straight without shoulding or bothering to think too much!!!
    It’s great to kinda think a little about this stuff before family actually comes onto the scene. My boy just turned 8 today. I remember when he was still crawling, I’d be so caught up in my work – and loving every second of it, mind you – and this teeny-tiny little thing would crawl over to me and hold up an empty bottle for me to fill, which I would. Then he’d fall asleep under the desk at my feet, and I’d pick him up and put him to bed at 3am with carpet-face.
    Thankfully I’ve reshuffled my priorities in recent years, and family’s unquestionably #1 and business and other passions can and will fit in next in the queue. Now when I’m present I’m present – 100% all or nothing – at work or at play. I still have many inspired 3-4am nights, but I have A LOT more playtime, a lot more sunrises and sunsets, a lot more fun, and bedtime stories always come first. That 4 hour work-day theory actually works , and is ridiculously more productive! But so is daydreaming and random surfing sometimes… how else would I have found you!

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  9. Linda Bowman

    When I was teaching full-time and my kids were toddlers–leaving little time for extracurricular activities–I learned the difference between “process” and “product.” I’d always been very goal oriented. I loved the feel of a finished product in my hands. But when time became a precious commodity, I realized that unless I love the process of an activity–be it gardening, hiking, or writing–it isn’t worth it.
    I began to apply the principle of process vs. product to all areas of my life: I changed jobs, spent more time with my family, and devoted any free time to running (the form of exercise I enjoy the most), writing, and reading.
    The journey now matters far more than the end result. This shift in thinking has given me real peace of mind. It might work for you too.

    Reply

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