"WHY AM I SELLING MYSELF SHORT?"
This is a question that has come to me over the past couple of weeks as I have been working on my 2011 Business Plan (see Business Planning 2011-Amended). In discussion with my coach, we have been visiting 2010 and evaluating what worked and didn't work with regard to various business activities.
Scheduling time throughout the day and week has been a challenge for me since I became an independent contractor in real estate, as opposed to my previous career as a salaried employee working in the engineering field. In engineering, I had projects and processes that would often take weeks and months to complete. I didn't have to 'drop everything' and do something for a client. That is not to say that I always dropped things and jumped through the client's hoops, but essentially, I was easily distracted.
In addition, there were days that I had 'floor time' and days that I worked from home. My home office was hectic at times because of my family living situation. You see, I had a teenager and two adult sons living at home at different times during the past year. Let's just say that some days were chaotic. My office started the year in a bedroom that had been converted for my wife to use.
A lot of us have home offices, right? Well, mine was a little different. The office became a bedroom when on of the boys needed some help due to the economic situation he was in last year. The other son is currently a full-time student. So, he was gone on and off during the week. Then there was the teenage daughter who decided to move in full time with her mom. Are you starting to get a picture? Let's just say we're delighted it's a NEW year!
The challenge with all of this was that often while at home, there were interruptions. Hey dad, can you help me with this? Sweetheart, would you do this for me. Oh, that's my phone, just a minute. So, you can tell, it was chaos!
In my coaching sessions, we discussed this, and to my surprise and honestly relief, it became very clear to myself. I was NOT supporting myself. As a husband and father, I was putting my family needs over business needs. When I was working on one client issue, or marketing, etc. I'd get a call from another. It was REACTION management, not Pro-Active management.
By this I mean that if I set aside time for a particular task, I did NOT post a sign on the office that said "DO NOT DISTURB" and I did not give verbal instructions along the same line either. So, that made me 'an available target' for any family matter or crisis that came along while I was working from the home office.
That same situation would come up while I was out with clients or in meetings. While I have voicemail and emails etc. available on my phone, I just didn't seem to let things go to voice mail and follow-up on them once my current activity was completed.
In reflecting on all of this with my coach, it came to me how quickly I would give time and support to my family and clients, but I was not giving that same time, discipline or support to my business. The really great news here is that I have finally recognized this as an issue I can control. Hooray. It may seem a small thing to some, but for me this is a huge milestone. It's sort of like throwing off the harness and running free!
I would like to suggest to everyone who reads this that you take a moment and reflect on your own relationships, businesses, commitments and schedules. Then, LET ME WHAT SUGGESTIONS YOU MAY HAVE FOR KEEPING YOURSELF FOCUSED AND DISCIPLINED. I'd really appreciate your thoughts.
Hopefully this will be a reminder for anyone else who finds themself askining "WHY AM I SELLING MYSELF SHORT?"