Choice is the fundamental power of your life. These days it can seem as if we don’t have a choice. Things seem to be happening around us and we have zero say in them.
I’m of course referring to covid19, whose presence continues to wreak havoc in the business world.
Restaurants are closing and other businesses seem to be constantly having sales to at least try to earn some money. All businesses are experiencing some kind of turmoil, and at times like this we can feel that we have no choice in the matters at hand, but we always do.
We need to wake up to the choices that we are making if we want to claim our power. We can lose power with choice, but we can also claim our power with choice.
One of the great things about having the power to choose is that if you don’t like where you are in your life and business you have the power to change it right now! Remember, you’re always in the driver’s seat, and you can actively and intentionally pursue different options that prove better for you.
In the powerful book Man’s Search for Meaning, Holocaust survivor and psychiatrist Viktor Frankl observes that, “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” Even when life deals us a horrible hand, “Every human being has the freedom to change at any instant.”
This critical life lesson is an important reminder that you have control of what you do next. Even in the deepest, darkest moments of your life, you can still choose how you look at what you’re facing now and how you need to respond.
In a blog post about choice Ritu Bhasin shares:
"If you are unsure of what changes you need to make to arrive at better decisions, one thing you can do is to engage in self-reflection. Diving deep and tuning in to yourself will empower you not only to know yourself, but it will help you to discover what barriers are in your way to making the right decisions. Most importantly, it will allow you to recognise where you want to be."
To get started, ask yourself these questions.
First, identify an aspect of your life that you’re unhappy with right now. Ask yourself:
Why am I unhappy with this situation?
Where do I want to be instead?
What are some changes that I can make in how I’m behaving that will help me get closer to the place I’ve identified in #2?
Once you have decided on what you want, you need to create a strategy to get you there.
Far too many solopreneurs, entrepreneurs and business owners ditch the self-reflection and strategy and jump straight into trying this and that, in an effort to make quick money.
You’re reading this so you know, it never works. At least not long term.
If you’re thinking from where you are, you are going to run into trouble. You cannot think about what has happened before or what’s happening today. You need to focus on what you want.
Here are a couple ideas from Noah Kagan to get you started:
• A company that thinks small remains small
• Are you thinking big? Like, sumo-big?
• $100,000 in yearly salary might seem big for some. Building a company with two employees might seem massive for others.
But here’s my challenge:
how can you think even bigger? Instead of setting “small” goals, aim for the stars:
• How can I double my income this year?
• If I want to be worth $10 million in five years, what’s my first step?
• How can I go on two dream vacations this year?
It won’t happen overnight, but setting your sights on a big goal can help you eventually get there.
Here’s a great “think bigger” tactic we implemented at sumo:
“Get all of your employees and teammates together and ask them to give three examples of how to improve some aspect of your company.”
Have you ever been at a company and thought “this CEO sucks, I could run things better.”
Here are two ideas that came out of this:
CEO anytime: First, we have a “CEO anytime” Google form where anyone on the team can submit thoughts and ideas on what our company should do. We just started this. One submission so far is "everyone should block out time for process improvements."
1% ideas: Second, in our weekly sumo leadership meetings we have "one per cent ideas.”
Often times, companies think about the big goal — but forget the small steps involved. “Let’s introduce a new product! Let’s spend money on a viral marketing campaign! Let’s pivot the business!”
This is a good start to thinking bigger… but what can you start doing today?
One per cent improvements each week can add up to huge changes over time. A few examples of how one per cent ideas have helped us:
• We upgraded from Slack’s free version to Slack for Teams to help people search historical conversations, save time, and get work done quicker
• We streamlined our weekly meetings so only team leads share updates (instead of everyone)
• We implemented a buddy system for new hires, so every new hire has someone to show them the ropes and help onboard them
These small improvements help us get towards our big revenue goals, like hitting eight-figures in revenue at Sumo last year.
So what about you? What choice can you make today to take you where you want to go? Remember: You lose your power with choice and you claim your power with choice.