The Final Countdown is upon us. It feels like the end of an era. It is. It's the culmination of a long journey for us, Yvonne and me; but also for Randy as our community organizer and everyone in the class. We're a little family at this point. We have one more session after this, but I'm wondering what it will feel like on that 3rd Tuesday in January when we don't meet for the first time. If I forget to say it then, I will be missing this class.
Yvonne and I took on teaching this class with a number of things in mind. I wanted to remind everyone of a few of them:
- Access to information is extremely powerful
- Spending dedicated time developing your business creates better businesses
- SW Atlanta is a vital part of the city with a LOT of change right now
- We had a lot of ideas that we wanted to see what would happen when they were all put into practice in one place.
It's this last item that I have on my mind currently. We're drawing to a close and getting ready to take a look at how it all worked. Some of this has been amazing. We know we planned too many elements in the program. Some things will have to be re-thought, re-organized, and re-worked for better impact. Stay tuned for more on that.
So, Session #8. Ahhhhh! Here we are. Talking about filing your LLC and record-keeping for tax purposes. This is the part of the business where I struggle with myself the most. The tasks are easy, but the work is hard. This is where an idea person or someone who likes to chart new territory can easily make a mis-step just by being themselves because this work takes consistency over long periods of time with large gaps in that time..
So when I say this, all I mean is that my personality is not administrative. So, this kind of work - where you read a form and make sure it's filled out on time each year - tends to be something that is difficult for me. I am a detail-oriented person and I'm a perfectionist. So, this is a bit of a conundrum. It doesn't make sense on the face of the work that I should have a difficult time with this. And I wonder why I do. Then, the trouble starts. Because the real trouble is not that I wonder why, but that the next thought is that I SHOULDN'T have a hard time with it.
We all know this is where the story gets interesting in our business, right? There is an area that it seems like we should be good enough to get the work done, but somehow that isn't how it works in real life. For you, it might also be this kind of paperwork; it might be having hard conversations with employees; it might be enforcement of the office rules and culture; it might be talking about your business in public. We all have an area.
I learned a very long time ago that the best thing I can possibly do when I need to get this work done is follow a simple protocol:
- Remind myself that I need some space & time to work on this - I allocate 3x as much time on my schedule for these tasks than I think they will take.
- Make a list of the steps I know that need to be done. All of them.
- Start fresh at the beginning of the day after doing one short task that is relaxing.
- rink a large glass of water before I start
- Breathe deeply while working through the work
- ASK FOR HELP IF I NEED IT.
None of these things are rocket science, but they can be incredibly easy to forget when you are uncomfortable. We lose our heads and can't remember that we have a lot of resources to deal with the issues. I like to keep this listen on an index card. My friend, Jordan Hayles, calls this a failure protocol. It's a simple step-by-step process of reasonable things to think and actions to take when you are in over your head. This will get you through the piece of work and back on track with your self.
A failure protocol like this is so easy to develop and it can keep us from getting in the weeds on something small. I've got a few of them that I use to deal with instances where I struggle. Some of them are what to do to avoid the pitfalls and some are what to do when I find myself in the ditch. So, take a few minutes now and think about one area that always causes you issues. Don't go tackle it, but take a few deep breathes and think about how you want to handle it. Write it down. Think about what might help you handle it in that way. Who is good at this sort of work? What would I tell someone else to do?
Share your protocol in the comments, if you would. We would love to see them.