God, grant me the serenity to let go of the work I should not be doing, to focus on the work I should be doing, and the wisdom to know the difference.
Maybe you're familiar with the Serenity Prayer. It goes like this:
“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
As entrepreneurs or people who are hoping to perform at high levels, make high levels of income, and work fewer hours, it's very important for us to invest our resources in the right places.
It's often easy for us to determine which resources we’re investing really badly. Sometimes though, it's the subtle things that we're investing our time in not so well that are harder to spot.
Let’s take another look at the original prayer. “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change.” Of course, in real life, we need to accept things psychologically that won't change, because the alternative might as well be beating our head against the wall over something that's not going to change anyway.
On the flip side, if there are things that we can change, we want to have the energy to do that, and the courage to move forward with them. The wisdom of knowing the difference between those two things is what we’re really seeking in The Serenity Prayer. We want to be able to decide whether a task or project is really worth pushing forward with, or whether it is just a waste of time.
Whether you're an employee, an entrepreneur or a business owner, you probably know that there are different categories of tasks based on how difficult you find them, and how you react to them differs.
First, there are certain things that you know you’re just no good at doing, or which aren’t working out for some other reason, and once you realize this you let those tasks go.
Next, there might be things that you know you can do, but that you hate doing. And if you’re an entrepreneur, you might delegate those, or if you're an employee, you might do those tasks as late and as seldom as possible.
Then there are the things that you're pretty good at, and you're comfortable doing them. They’re not your passion, but they’re ok and they help pay the bills.
Finally, there’s the thing that you absolutely love doing. You might think of it as your life’s work, or your calling.
If you can work out which tasks fit into which category, you can be more informed in making the decisions that can help you to spend more time on what you love, and less time on what you don’t. What work do you need to let go of that's really not your work, and what work do you need to be doing and moving towards?
So far, we’ve talked about the wisdom needed to know the difference, but when we're talking about business or money there's another variable: What can you afford to do?
If somebody asks if you’d rather give up vanilla or chocolate ice cream, assuming they cost the same and have the same number of calories, then it’s just a matter of preference.
However, if it’s the difference between taking a steady job that helps pay the bills but isn’t your passion, versus a new, exciting venture that you’re really passionate about but that might be a little riskier, then of course it’s a little more complicated. The answer to how quickly and how much you should shift from the old work, the less exciting, or the less fulfilling work to the new work depends on your situation.
If you're single, have no kids, no huge financial responsibilities, and don't mind sleeping on somebody else's couch, or you can afford to live at home with your parents, you can go right to that work. What’s more, I encourage you to do that now, because you're probably not going to have a time in your life when it's easier.
On the other hand, if you have many financial commitments, or people relying on you, then probably already know that you have to be more cautious. I know that for me as a father and a husband, the idea of just making huge changes out of nowhere is lot scarier now than it would have been for me 20 years ago. I have people I have to take care of now, and things that I'm committed to.
For me, I find a better solution than just jumping right into projects that I like is to start by investing 2 to 3 days a week in them.That way I can still spend a couple of days doing the category 3 work, the work that I’m good at and I make money at, but that it isn’t my passion. Eventually, if the new projects take off, I can slowly start increasing the time I spend on them.
Not only does this give me peace of mind that I can still provide for my family, but it also takes the pressure off those new projects, knowing that I don’t need to make money off them right away, and I can afford to get them really awesome before I launch them. It’s all about balancing the two types of work: category 3 and category 4.
This is just what works for me. There's no right template answer that suits everybody. Everybody's got a unique situation.
I encourage you though, if you're in one of these situations where you’re wanting to make the leap to doing something else, to do your due diligence first. Research as much as you can, and do whatever it is that you do to reflect. Whether it's prayer or meditation or asking mentors for guidance, give yourself time to reflect. You don’t have to make any extreme decisions like quitting your job immediately, or giving up on your dreams.
However, if you want to have an awesome life, and if you want to really enjoy working and do the job that you believe you were called to do, at some point you will need to move in that direction.
If you want to make more money, at some point you're going to need to let go of some of the safer, lower income work to make room for the higher impact, higher income work, which might not be as guaranteed.
For example, let's say you normally make $25 an hour, and you can guarantee that you’ll make that. But to find the $100 an hour client or job is more difficult. Maybe you can make $100 bucks an hour over here and you're used to that, but to find the $500 client is harder. Everyone’s situation is different.
The important thing is not to try to force anything. Instead, if you can plan things out and manage your game plan, then you can get a sense of where you’re going. Once you know your plan, you can work on getting your income back up to the level that you need.
Of course, with higher paying work, it will take you fewer hours to earn the amount you need, meaning that you can then create the lifestyle of working the number of days you want. That could be taking Fridays off, or only working a 3-day week. It’s all about what works for you.
If you need help with getting your plan in order, head to 4daygameplan.com to start creating your own 4-Day Work Week Game Plan. If you have any questions, please put them in the comments section below or shoot me an email.
As always look forward to helping you make more money in less time doing what you do best.
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