When I ask builders to talk about their most important goals, none has ever said it was to be busy. While being ‘busy’ is commonly associated with having a lot of business on the books – a result of making a lot of sales, of being successful, ‘busyness’ is another story. Busyness is a behavior or habitual way of approaching work. It’s an alluring and deceptive way of being that is, at the same time, an enticing thief that steals the best of our efforts in the name of productivity.
Getting things done and checking off a to-do list feels good, like true achievement. But getting things done is not the same as producing results. Producing results is much more about doing business on purpose while getting things done tends to be about busyness. Andy Stanley captured this misperception well in his book “Visioneering” when he said “Everybody ends up somewhere in life. A few people end up somewhere on purpose.” Getting somewhere on purpose is about being intentional; defining specific goals and pursuing them. The opposite is to allow ourselves to be ‘busy’ without a clear sense of how each activity we choose leads in some small way to a larger prize – to the overarching purpose of the endeavor.
The decisions you make today can only take on real meaning for your future when focused on purpose! Purpose creates priority, and priority in business should have everything to do with profit and peace of mind. Those two outcomes are the gateway to everything valuable in life and business. Without them I’m not sure there can ever be any true sense of satisfaction. It’s in the absence of purpose that busyness becomes a necessary evil and derails our best use of resources. In that context our mindset can gradually and un-noticeably shift to that of a victim of circumstance instead of a product of choice.
What I do hear from builders is their desire to have a self-sustaining business; a business that can function successfully without the owner’s constant and exhausting need to be involved. That is a picture of why a business exists in the first place; to produce results that reward the owner, not enslave him or her to busyness! Truth be told, your business is giving you exactly what you’ve designed it to today. But the good news is you have choices. Your business is an entity, not your identity! It is yours to build, systemize, fine-tune, direct and control vs being controlled.
For the coming year, consider yourself an author – someone who is purposefully writing your own story rather than living out someone else’s. As Stephen Covey wisely said: “Our behavior is a function of our decisions, not our conditions.” Make the decision now to pursue a worthy goal in spite of circumstances. In that refreshing state of mind, excuses are forced to the sideline and real possibility emerges. And every decision is informed by an inner compass pointed toward successful outcomes instead of the temptation to be busy.