Frank is a great guy who’s playing a losing game. He has a great wife, a beautiful family, and a successful business (not typically loser traits). He services PCs and networks, and over many years has gotten really good at it. His clients depend on him. Every time he stops in to do some work, he walks out with more. Frank used to employ a number of people but he found that his clients wanted him. Client preferences combined with “people problems” caused him to scale back his business. He is now on his own and doing well…except for the game.
What game you ask? The game is going back and forth between extremes. I’ve watched this game over the 35 years I’ve been a lawyer and have worked with hundreds of business owners. We all play it – and usually we lose. I have discovered the secret to turning it around so that you always win.
The Worry Game
If we have a lot of work to do, we worry about getting it done. If we do not have enough work to do, we worry about where the work will come from, and will it be enough. The game is one of worry, and those of us who have been caught up in it know that it’s not fun.
Worry creeps in to our business life, and our personal life. I have talked with hundreds of clients who, in playing the worry game, have lost sleep over it, and some who have failed marriages as a result of it. Frank and I have talked about this game, and have found a happy way to deal with it, and to win it.
Before I go any further, have you ever heard of Dale Carnegie? He is famous for looking at business and writing his famous book, “How To Win Friends and Influence People.” His work is so important that it has even been turned into classes to teach people how to be more influential. Well, his brilliance was not limited to that book. He wrote another book, “How to Stop Worrying and Start Living.” He said that worry is the great enemy of business owners and people. He came up with a system for dealing with worry in your life, and I highly recommend that you read it. For now, let’s resume our discussion about the game.
Whether you service computers, practice law, or are a member of the skilled trades, if you work for yourself you will go back and forth on the scale of either too much work or not enough work. This is a worry ride, a roller coaster, endless and exhausting.
Winning Move #1: Notice You’re Playing the Game
If you know what I am talking about, you are half way to winning the game. As Frank and I talked about the ride, and the trap of worry, I could tell that he felt some relief in knowing that he was not the only one on this ride. Just looking at it for what it is tends to soften the queasiness that we feel as we play the game. Noticing the game softens it, and we can start to gain some control over our situation. Having company also softens the ride. Based on talking with hundreds of business owners, I can tell you that if this resonates with you, you have lots and lots of company.
Winning Move #2: Create an Action Plan
I read somewhere that: “Worry is like a little prayer for something that we don’t want to happen.” This stuck with me. Why would I pray for something that I did not want?
I found that the thoughts that accompany this ride of worry appear but when noticed, tend to disappear. We can also acknowledge that the only thing certain is change. We can note that we are going to have busy times, and slow times. This is a natural cycle. How does worry help anything?
We all know what we need to do when we are slow…go out and get more work. Visit your clients, make some calls, get in front of the people who need you. When we get busy, we all know what we have to do. Plan efficiency, learn more about time management, delegate what you can safely delegate. There is no end to your resources when you get resourceful!
Frank and I have learned together how to win the game. First, we acknowledge that we are playing. Second, we come up with resourceful, creative action plans. Plans that are effective at getting more business and smoothly providing more service to our clients when they call us. Noticing when we are up in our heads. Noticing the worry for what it is – just a little game that we play that we can deal with, and turn it into motivation. This action propels us into a more profitable and fun business.
In the comments below, share your most powerful insight from this post about playing the worry game.
Brian Vincent has over 30 years of experience as a business law attorney and has worked extensively with business owners to protect and defend their interests. Contact Brian online or at (616) 608-4440 with your questions.