Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Business owners have always been problem solvers. That’s what the free market is designed to do — allow innovative thinkers to create change for others by solving problems. We, as entrepreneurs, are problem solvers and creative thinkers. To see success in business, we must be good at a few core skills. We must be good at solving a specific problem for a specific type of person. We must be good at finding the right people and managing those people. And we must be good at solving the problems that arise in our businesses from the chaos that the world brings.
We all know that even with the perfect plan, we still run into problems. It’s how we deal with those problems that dictate the end results in our business. The human mind has evolved to create more comfort for us. We’ve designed houses, cities, supply chains and much more to solve problems and also create more safety and security in an uncertain world. It’s in the crafting of these types of environments that we create a better world for ourselves, and, ironically, a worse one at the same time.
The problem with being too comfortable
The more comfort we create for ourselves, the more we crave that comfort and allow that comfort to coddle us and lure us into relaxing our pursuit of betterment. Many of us tell ourselves the story that if we just have the Peloton, that tonal or that home gym set up, we’ll work out more.
The hard truth is that once we get those things that we tell ourselves will create a successful routine for us, many of us stay the same. Now we just have a new living room ornament and a reminder of the failed promises that we’ve made to ourselves every day. We tell ourselves, “Tomorrow, I’ll use it.” And then another day goes by, and it’s unused.
I’ve been there, too. For five years, I told myself, “I’ll quit heroin tomorrow.” And then, the next day came, and I found myself sticking a needle in my arm. Until a day came when the pain of staying the same was bigger than the pain of changing. So, I quit and haven’t touched it since. Was it easy? No, but what in life that’s worth it is easy? Not much that I’ve found.
Crafting a winning internal environment
Most of our habits aren’t nearly as harmful to our health, our relationships and our business as heroin. But the continued practice of being comfortable and sitting on our laurels, thinking we’ve made it because we have a business that pays us a certain amount month after month, year after year, can be nauseatingly comfortable and therefore harmful. It’s that type of comfort that we get lured into that can cause catastrophic damage when a large problem arises, and we’re not prepared to solve it because we’ve let our metaphorical tools become dull and our muscles weaken.
In business, I’ve found that we are at war with ourselves and at war with the tendency to crave comfort over the habit of the consistent pursuit of success. So, it’s not the environment outside that we must cultivate to create success. It’s the internal environment that we must shape and prune to create the success we truly desire.
With lifting weights, it’s the last few reps when we’re in more pain, fully exerting ourselves and feeling the maximum amount of strain, that create the most significant changes in our muscles and physique. It’s also the times when we feel like giving up, throwing in the towel or procrastinating starting the thing we know we should be doing in which we need to change the internal environment and create habits of execution.
Life will get in the way; that’s inevitable. Children, headaches, feeling low on energy, needing to get one more thing done at work — the list could go on as to the excuses we could allow ourselves to use to continue to procrastinate the things that we know we need to do. The true power lies in realizing that we’ll never get more time in the day and that we need to prioritize what’s most important, which is self-worth, self-trust and the habit of showing up.
Yes, burnout is a real thing. And we are only capable of doing so much every day. We’ll never be able to create more time in the day, and that’s why we must create an environment inside, a set of decision-making skills that allows us to be the most effective we can possibly be with our time and our energy. That can show up as being willing to let go of control and empowering employees so that we can allocate our time and energy to different and more critical tasks and activities. It can also mean not allowing ourselves to be distracted by social media and motivational content and only allowing ourselves to be satiated by doing the things we want the motivation to do.
So, in 2023, I’m going to be creating an environment for myself and my business that allows me to stay consistently on the path toward greatness, and I encourage you to do the same. I’m not going to allow my old habits to destroy the person I know I can be and will become, and I surely won’t let the outside world dictate the way I show up. I hope you don’t either.