No matter how much you plan for your days, there are times when you feel like you’re not getting a whole lot done. You know you should be doing something, but you feel unproductive, low vibration, and that you’ve wasted time. When this happens, you just have to do the grind and put energy into a task, get through it, and find a way to be okay in that particular moment. On today’s show, Stephen Krausse talks about this dilemma and shares some tips on how we can get into that grind headspace so we can get to the next place.
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Sometimes… You Just Grind | Up And To The Right | Episode 034
I didn’t even take any calls for work. I went from a random task to a random task. I’m not getting a whole lot done. That’s how the week started for me. It felt unproductive, low vibration, wasted time. It was hard and disappointing. Those were all these thoughts and feelings that were going through my head. I wasn’t inspired for a topic for the show. Then it occurred to me that sometimes you have to do the grind. I realized that there are times in business and life when you have to put energy into a task, get through it and find a way to be okay in that particular moment. That’s what I wanted to talk about. It’s time to roll up our sleeves and get to work.
This is episode 34, Sometimes You Just Have to Grind. If you’re not familiar, Grinding is a video game reference, where you do the same repetitive task to achieve some result. Whether you’re running the same dungeon, to get a specific piece of armor, the same mission to get enough experience to do some other thing. You do a specific activity over and over again to build a skill, achieve maybe some other improvement in your character or in your gameplay.
Generally speaking, when gamers talk about a grind, it’s not most people’s favorite part of gaming, but why do we do it then? My experience is fairly limited in terms of the number of games I play. The importance is that there’s gameplay on the other side of grinding that you can’t have if you don’t do the grind. I started writing my notes and I usually try to write my notes the day before so I have 24 hours to look through them. I didn’t get to it but it occurred to me that this is where I’m at is I’m having to do this grind to get to the next place. What is the next place? It’s post-crisis. This is what we’re trying to get to. We’re trying to get from one place where we are to another. There’s going to be work we don’t want to do and times when we don’t want to put in the effort, not because we’re not good people or lazy, but because our head’s not there. I talked about headspace a little bit, but as this progressed for me, I felt like it was more and more important to talk about not so much that the broad things that people can look up on the internet, “What can you do to make yourself better?” which I did cover but, “How did that start to impact me and what am I doing to cope with that and try to get through it?”
That’s what we’re going to talk about and I hope it will be helpful. In the back of my mind, something that my mom said to me many years ago came back to me and she said, “Always assume that everyone is doing the best they can all the time.” At the moment, I was much younger then and I dismissed it. Everyone is not always doing the best they can all the time. As I got older, I started to incorporate other factors of my own interpretation of that situation, whatever it was. What is that person’s experience? There’s a genetic lottery involved in what people can be capable of in some ways. What is their environment like? I don’t mean your home and work environment. That encompasses economic circumstances and all these other things.
[bctt tweet=”Always assume that everyone is doing the best they can all the time.” via=”no”]
As I started to incorporate that into that statement, “Everybody’s always doing the best they can,” I realized something. First of all, it doesn’t cost me anything, except my ego to assume that’s correct. That’s pretty neat. It doesn’t cost me anything. I feel better because I know there’s the stuff that they are experiencing that I don’t. I’m not privy that’s affecting the way that this interaction is going, whatever it is, if they cut me off in traffic or I have a bad phone call with them, it doesn’t matter. There’s other stuff involved. It’s not about me. They’re doing the best they can in the situation that they find themselves.
It also changes my next actions in the interaction and the way that I feel when I walk away from it. That can give you a way to move forward in a positive way when an interaction is not going the way that you would like. That’s all great when you’re interacting with people and all that, but then Tuesday, Wednesday afternoon, I said, “What if I turned that around on myself and said, ‘It’s okay for me to be doing the best that I can.’ How would that look?” I started to try to wrap my head around as entrepreneurs, small business owners and business leaders, okay is not the standard by which we want to be judged. Sometimes okay might be the best we can do literally and finding a way to be comfortable with that, maybe not happy about it. I’m not going to ask the impossible, but let’s be comfortable with the idea that we are doing the best we can and that’s okay. What would that look like? I don’t have a great answer for that, but I love the idea in my head that I could turn that around and find a way to say, “I’m doing the best that I can and that’s okay.” That was the first thing I wanted to run through. What if we did take that, turn it around and say, “We’re people too?” Sometimes it would be nice if we’re okay with being okay.
One of the other things I wanted to talk about is as owners, we don’t always celebrate wins well. I’m not talking about celebrating your wins by posting every single thing that you do, that doesn’t collapse on social media with party hats, fireworks and whatever other icons that you can interact with on social media. I’m not that guy. I’m not saying that doesn’t work, but that’s not what I do, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t acknowledge when something does go right. It’s easy for us to dismiss what goes right so that we can focus on what goes wrong. What that does to us is it puts us in this constant state where our mental attention is always on things that aren’t working, things that need to change. That’s a hard place to live in and you know that because you’re an entrepreneur. I thought, “What do we do? What if we spend a little bit of time?” I’m not trying to be unrealistic. We’re not going to spend a whole lot of time thinking about all the stuff that we did great, but it wouldn’t hurt to step back a little bit and say, “We did some stuff that worked.” I was totally down. I could not get my act together but I had some good stuff happened. Finally, when I got my head around that, I realized that maybe there were other people who need to shift their thinking too so that we can see that there’s stuff that’s going on that’s positive.
For me, I joined 1 Million Cups. On my first session, I enjoyed meeting all those people in the local Northern Colorado chapter. I was fortunate enough to be able to present to that group about the video, not necessarily about my business because that’s something that’s important in terms of this is a communication tool we can do and still be socially distant, but there are a lot of things that go into making it good. You can go deep down a rabbit hole if you’re not careful. There are ways to do this well or well enough with stuff that you have in your home for the most part. You don’t have to go to a full-on dual camera live stream rig if you want to do a conference call with your boss, with a customer or something like that. There are techniques that you can use to make the presentation better. That’s what I had the good fortune to be able to discuss with that group. It was a great opportunity for me to share something with the group. Especially early on in my participation with the group, I felt good about being able to be of service and hopefully help people out.
The next thing I did was honestly, I’ve been trying for at least months to make fudge the way that we made fudge when I was a kid. Every single time I did it, it came out gooey. It didn’t work over and over. I can’t even tell you how much spoon fudge we made is what it comes down to. I made a plate of it, followed the instructions that I downloaded from the internet. I’m not going to say it was perfect, but it was close. I was super happy about that. It might not seem like an important thing, but it was something that I succeeded after working, grinding over and over again to get it right. I made it work. Sometimes, we don’t need huge happiness moments and they might not be business-related.
I talked a little bit about this too, as business owners and business managers we’re not great at play. We work a lot. That moment of doing something with my family and getting the win, that meant something for me as a business owner too because it puts my head in a better place. That was pretty cool. Those were two wins for me and the week is not done yet, but if that’s what we get, that’s what we get, and I’m not going to be disappointed with that. I’m going to certainly always try to improve and do better. Part of what I’m trying to do is say, “That’s okay.”
Getting Through Tough Times
The other thing I wanted to talk about get is I did want to go through what is helping me to get through some of these tougher times. One of the things that help me is whatever I can get off my routine, whatever I can keep, that routine helps keep my head in a good place. One of the things is the morning routine, shaving, brushing teeth, getting ready in the morning and completely wearing pants. We were joking on a Zoom call about wearing PJs because in conference calls, you’re headshot, so you can put on a shirt and you can be in your pajamas, your sweats or whatever. I try hard not to do that because I feel different when I’m ready for the day just like it’s any other day. That helps me a lot. My routine, what I have for breakfast, everything, I have a smoothie every morning for breakfast. It’s exactly the same. I have a question about smoothies and email me if you know about this. When I make a smoothie, I can’t drink them all immediately, but after about twenty minutes, it starts to thicken up and I don’t understand what does that. If you know, email me if there’s a way to fix it because I can’t down a whole smoothie in fifteen minutes, it’s a little too much.
The next thing that I do is try to meditate a couple of times a day in the office or whatever. For me, that means turning off all the screens or sitting where I can’t see them, turning off the notifications on my phone and sitting quietly and trying to breathe. I’m not an expert meditator. I don’t purport to be or anything, but that timeout helps me get back into a better headspace. That’s something that helps me. The other thing that I do is I plan the must-do actions for the day and I try to do this right when I get in the office before I check email, before I do anything else. I go through what has to get done or what is the most important thing to get done in the day? This is not a new time management idea, but in times of stress and crisis, we can put ourselves in a position where we’re going to have a hard time winning if we do this without thinking about it. Even on a good day, business owners, entrepreneurs are going to overfill their day. It’s going to happen. That’s the nature of who we are. The important thing is to figure out what must be done. Do I need to deposit checks? Do I need to invoice this customer? Do I need to prepare for this live stream? What has to get done to move your business forward one notch that day?
[bctt tweet=”Even on a good day, business owners and entrepreneurs are going to overfill their day; it happens. ” via=”no”]
The issue of the product might be a good one, if you are in a position where you can conduct business. We tend to push ourselves hard and we’ll stack fifteen things in the day and in our heads, we’re going to go, “That’s all important.” It probably is all-important, but what has to get done or what is the most important? You can’t have the most important ten things. That’s not fair to you. We need to have the most important one thing, maybe two things before lunch and after lunch, that’s it. We have to acknowledge and understand that things might slip and give ourselves a little bit of room and give the people we interact with a little room because we’re going to have vendors and customers who are in the same position of we are, not only from a business perspective but where their head is at perspective. They need the same thing we do. I don’t want to say that it’s okay that things aren’t going to get done, but we need to be okay with it.
Taking Care Of Yourself
There’s an important difference between saying, “It’s fine if this is not done on time.” It isn’t fine, but we do have to get to a place where we’re okay with the fact that it’s not going to get done right or done on time. That’s the way things are. We have to take care of ourselves first and understand that we can only do what we can do. It’s important to list that stuff out, make sure that you get a handle on what has to get done and focus hard on getting that done.
In my case, I block my time. I don’t make to-do lists. I have a calendar and it has one page per day. I write everything that I want to do, not on a list, but in the time I’m going to do it. I try to do that normally. In this case, I’m trying to do it even more diligently because honestly, on a regular week or month, I will block out the critical things and then I will leave half of my day sporadic. I’m trying to get better about that because you lose time that way. The only thing I do is block out the times of day that I’m going to do stuff. We have a live stream. I have post-show work to do afterwards to get the show notes written and put on the website, upload the show and edit the description in the YouTube video. That’s the majority. I have some online courses that I’m working on that I’ll work on after that. That’s all blocked in the calendar. That’s the way that I do it so that I can keep after it as the day goes by.
The other two things that I’m trying to do that help, and this is a work in progress for me, and that’s eating regularly, healthily and sleeping regularly. I’m having a hard time sleeping. I don’t know if anybody else is having that problem. I have my smoothie for breakfast, but then lunch, it was 2:00. I was done with what I had to do in the office. I was going to move on to the dining room or go home and then 2:00 turned into 3:00. Then I’m like, “I’m going to go.” Somebody called me and I had to talk to them, then it was 4:00 and I hadn’t eaten lunch yet. I got home and was very hungry and ready to eat. That’s not the target behavior that I want to have, but it takes work for me. I have to say, “At noon, I have to stop and take a break.” I blocked that into my calendar that I wrote, “Eat lunch.” Maybe you don’t have to do that. In my case, I forget what I’m doing or I get distracted and I don’t think about taking care of myself. I say, “I can take care of this one more thing before I eat.” One more thing becomes another thing and another thing. Soon we’re putting off self-care so that we can get stuff done.
That’s the thing I wanted to cover. When we talk about the practical action that we can take that I’m taking away from this as I did my notes and as I worked through it, go back to assuming that everyone’s doing the best they can including yourself. Put on pants AKA find ways that worked for you to feel as normal as you can in a time like this, and then find a way to celebrate your wins. That doesn’t have to be party hats and rainbows on social media, but find a way to acknowledge to yourself that you had a win and be able to give yourself a little bit of credit. We don’t have to go crazy, but lets at least acknowledge that we did something cool.
That’s about it for the show. I want to thank you for subscribing to the Beyond 50 Percent YouTube channel. Hit the bell, so that you get notified when new content is released or when we go on the air. You can visit Beyond50percent.com. If you need help implementing business improvements or correcting business challenges that you have, that’s what we do. Go ahead and give us a call, email us or visit the website for more information. We’d love to talk to you. If you have any questions or suggestions about topics, email [email protected]. If you know why smoothies get thick after about fifteen minutes, email me. I’d love to know that. Finally, make sure that you stay safe, healthy and celebrate your wins.
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