Yes, you read the title right – I went through 5 years of my life not knowing there was a day called Thursday. It wasn’t amnesia or denial (never underestimate the power of denial); It was simply a matter of circumstance. Perhaps, I was a cheeky child with selective hearing.
But hey–despite being a big kid–I’m all grown up and I can admit these things.
Ever had one of those weeks where it started off fine (‘Started off‘ being the operative phrase)? You start off smiling on a Monday; All activities and accountabilities are mapped out for the week, time blocking was done to assure all creative work will get delivered on time.
And THEN out of nowhere comes the mid-week jab.
If you are running your own business AND working full-time at another role, you know how catastrophic these mid-week jabs can be. Like a clean uppercut right on the choppers, or a painful injection stabbed at your arm before you said, ‘ok I’m ready’. It metaphorically and sometimes literally halts everything.
The offending Jab can be Mr.Did-You-Get-My-10-Emails today now bugging you in Skype. It can be the Designer who forgot to set the print ad in CMYK then buggered off to Barcelona for 2 weeks. It can be the people around you in an open plan office jabbering away about chicken and hair dryers.
By Thursday– this morning as fate would have it– The Dread creeps in at 7 am and I thank my husband’s gourmet breakfast and Will Power for getting me going. It got me thinking how I can always talk myself out of these ruts. I just needed a plan. After all, I survived without Thursday for 5 years, I have one full day right now to fix things and I will.
And so the story…
Like thousands of little girls from my generation I loved pink. I had a lot of energy– and even more questioning power than my mum and dad could handle. Imagine Bart Simpson without the pranks. In pink. After-school Ballet was more amazing for them than it was for me as a 5-year old for this very reason. Shortly after I started ballet classes my teacher asked the class: “Can someone tell me the 7 days of the week?” All but the shy kids raised their hands. I didn’t.
It was “…Tooooo easy” thought cheeky 5-year old-me. She called me, naturally.
So I answered: “Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Tomorrow, Friday, Saturday, Sunday.”
Teacher asked “What happened to Thursday?
I asked: “What’s Thursday?”
As it so happened Ballet was on Thursdays. By midweek, I’d be impatient and ask my mum (every week, relentless, for quite a few months) when ballet was. “Is it ballet yet mum?!” “When’s ballet mum? When’s ballet mum?” To which she’d answer: “Tomorrow”.
So ballet was on Thursdays, aka. ‘Tomorrow’ – the day that never existed prior to the embarrassing moment in the classroom a year later.
Back to the future: Today is Thursday. As I blogify this rant, I have reminders that reference lists; and master lists that reference the mini-lists.
People can only be who they are, I tell myself. Mr. 10 emails + skype + oops, just got a text – Mr. Obnoxiouscon 2000 can only be who HE is.
Juggling is a natural component of being an entrepreneur. Taking the leap from full-time employment to full-on entrepreneur is rife with uncertainty (and doing both even more so). I have never had the problem of doing the focused 45 or so hours weekly for The Job; plus finding 15 to 20 hours for The Venture. The work ethic element of doing both is not the problem I or many other ‘secret entrepreneurs’ face.
The problem to solve daily? The core of the daily problem goes back to that one certainty (as with anyone starting a business):
There will be hiccups. If you’re a tad unlucky, you get the hiccups AND the extra challenge of facing the fact that it’s not easy being a serial entrepreneur working in a day job where you feel unappreciated and unloved.
And as I’ve willed myself out of negative mindsets in situations like this at different times in the last 12 years, let me share some pick-me-ups I’ve picked up from experience and from Entrepreneurs I love:
3 Key Mindsets shared and worth passing on…
(Absolutely relevant to business owners, serial entrepreneurs, entrepreneurs-in-training, or secret entrepreneurs)
1. Revisit “The Why” – Often if need be.
Go back to The Core Objective of why you are doing what you’re doing. Why? Do you KNOW what it is you’re doing all this for?
What IS the End Goal for the sacrifices of extra hours of work while working a day job? Many of us need that bit of inspiration on How to be an Entrepreneur at your Day Job ; and yet we do know “The Why”: Once an entrepreneur, always an entrepreneur.
Switching off that light switch in your head that says “I am a self-starting creative entrepreneur” is near impossible.
However the reality is this: at some point in your entrepreneurial journey (if you weren’t born with the proverbial silver spoon in your mouth),
you may have to be fully employed for a period. The beauty about this mindset though, is that you can apply entrepreneurial spirit wherever you are.
In the words of Richard Branson, “If you are frustrated with how things are done, go and try something different, get fantastic people around you who share your beliefs and passion, and do it better…Screw it, just do it.”
Photo Credit: Lucia Giacani
2. Do the ‘Unapologetically Vicious Time Blocking’ Thing
Imagine dedicating several hours to a single task every single day. Too easy? Too hard?
It’s all relative, isn’t it? Not really.
Planning time off gives you something to look forward to on Thursdays (or whatever stress day has appeared out of the blue), this seems obvious enough.
But time blocking for at least 1 single ‘Big Picture’ Task a day may be enough to truly save your mindset.
A myriad of successful people from LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner to Guy Kawasaki often impart secrets about keeping it simple. As simple as the importance of blocking time during the week to think, to create, to re-hash and re-group each and every activity. Time blocking saves lives, trust me.
Consider this: If you identify your top priority everyday and dedicate the first 4 hours of your life that day doing everything possible to make it happen, then you will find yourself getting more done. You could even– over some time– positively influence other peoples’ behaviours who would then stop being the aforementioned Mr.10-Emails-a-day guy. Time blocking is so infectious that those who come at you with the mid-week jabs may come to understand the value of maximising meeting times as opposed to chasing each item several times during the week.
Definitely worth a read about this is The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results (Bard Press, 2013), authored by Gary Keller who says unabashedly: “I guard my time fiercely without apology…It may sound extreme but it’s one of the simplest and most effective tactics for anyone to live by.”
3. Focus FCS Style
LinkedIn shares are up 300% since its IPO in 2011. From various articles I read, dissected and correlated on this company since I started my LinkedIn account in 2008, I have always felt that key to their success is their focus and content strategy. In the words of LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner: he attributes their hyper growth to a number of things, including FCS.
Weiner shares via BloombergTV: “…FCS – we talk about focus so much we created an acronym:
F – fewer things done better;
C – communicating the right information to the right people at the right time;
S – speed and quality of our decision-making.”
The simplest things in life, the most basic of mindset-shifts can help the brands like LinkedIn– and it can help your brand.
Now before you say they’re far too big a company to compare yourself to, I say: Yes, if you are a serial (or secret) entrepreneur, YOU are a brand.
You may be thinking “…Focus, right…sure that’s simple.” I tell you what, give it a go. Focusing on the right thing at the right time never hurt anyone.
So ok, today is Thursday and I have tasks to rip into, ideas to threshold test, new worlds to conquer. It is after all, a day that came as a gift one day, to a child that had no idea it even existed. I bet you can find your ballet class, something to look forward to. Everyday can be Thursday, and tomorrow is well, another day. If you stop to think ‘what’s the worst that can happen?’, you may be utterly surprised that the worst is not all that, as Steli Efti declared on “Entrepreneurial Happiness in TED Talks. Stay happy.
Kristina is a digital strategist for Marketing Thought, VJ, and part-time ninja. She is also the Content Editor for Build British Business where she blogs about entrepreneurial journeys and startup trends in the UK.