Good lord, I meant rose bush!
I was taught something about rose bushes recently, which I thought I would share with you. They are complex little devils, which need a great deal of attention, and their care and maintenance is not wholly dissimilar to nurturing your productivity as an entrepreneur.
Did you know that as a rose bush grows it creates more buds than it can sustain, which is why it's imperative to prune your bush? Whilst all you wise and knowledgeable horticulturalists are nodding sagely, I didn't know this before. Rose bushes need to be pruned, to bring out the best in both their appearance and productivity. Whereas a tree will just grow taller, wider and stronger, a rose bush will eventually exhaust itself, if left to it's own devices; there is no off switch and they can't self-regulate.
Learning this rose bush fact made me smile, as a mental slideshow of all the budding entrepreneurs I've known, flashed before my mind's eye. You see, the entrepreneurs are not totally dissimilar from rose bushes: forever productive, rarely able to self-regulate and highly likely to exhaust themselves if left to their own devices. They don't seem to realise - until it's way too late - that there are only so many resources to go around, so the tasks they busy themselves with, need to be pruned so they can flourish.
TO PRUNE OR NOT TO PRUNE?
Think of your own To Do List: how many ideas, projects, commitments and priorities have you got written down? Do you have special access to a 25th hour, eighth day or thirteenth month the rest of us know nothing about? Have you discovered the elixir of eternal life, affording you time immemorial to complete the list? Has my sarcasm gotten way out of hand? Hmmm, okay.
When you're dealing with finite resources, having an undisciplined number of drains on those resources is only going to guarantee failure for each of your To Do line items. None of your ideas, projects or commitments will have enough of what they need to thrive, so they will either wither and die or stall. Like the rose bush that will keep creating new buds, without the means to sustain them all, you must limit how much you take on. You must focus your attention and energy on your MVP's (Most Vital Priorities).
Despite my earlier sarcasm, we all have 24/7/365, and other constraints upon our time. It's also natural as an entrepreneur, especially a newly minted entrepreneur, to grab at every opportunity that presents itself, but these must be kept under strict control, to safe guard your resources and ensure your success. Like the rose bush, new growth is natural, but full growth and optimal living requires pruning. As Elizabeth Roth (gardener and writer) explains...
Roses that are left unpruned can become a tangled mess of old and new canes, all competing for air, water and light. Pruning is essential to the health of the rose bush. Cutting out dead and diseased wood will encourage the regular development of healthy new canes and, ultimately the goal of all rose growers; beautiful masses of blooms.
WHAT TO PRUNE
If you think about rose blooms as your results, productivity and lifestyle, the question about what to prune becomes easy to answer: anything that needlessly drains your resources, everything that slows (or stops) your productivity, all that is between you and the lifestyle you aspire to. Your rose bush (re: life) may look a little scarce and sorry for itself to begin with, but what's left will benefit from all of your resources.
Rather than go to that party you don't really want to go to, with people you don't particularly care for, prune it!
If you have that friend or family member who only serves as a drain on your energy, due mainly to their nay saying negativity, prune 'em!
Look at your To Do List. As CEO of your business, you must focus your attention on growing the business, brand awareness and visibility. Therefore lesser tasks must either be struck off the list altogether, or delegated out to others.
Start saying "No" and cutting the "fat" from any aspect of your business that's draining your time, energy, attention, money, focus or availability for MVP's. By saying "No" to more resource drainers, by cutting away all the dead wood, you can say "Yes" to (and nurture) the things that really matter.
Like a correctly pruned rose bush, your finite resources can then be directed towards the remaining aspects of your business. This is how to promote growth and ensure hardy blooms (productivity, results and lifestyle).
HOW TO PRUNE
Not everyone is comfortable saying "No", I understand this, so let's look at it another way. Instead of getting caught up saying "No" to XYZ, focus on saying "Yes" to ABC. For example: by saying "No" to that party you don't want to go to, with people you don't like, focus on the fact you're saying "Yes" to an evening with your loved ones instead, who you actually adore spending time with.
Instead of breaking your concentration and flow by answering every text, email and phone call, don't answer - hire i.e.: a virtual assistant and say "Yes" to increased MVP productivity.
If you're offered a "golden opportunity" that'll take you far and wide off your designated path, don't be afraid to say "No" to the opportunity, so you can "Yes" to your designated goal. Did you know, for every 100 great opportunities that are offered to Warren Buffett, he says "No" 99 times?
When you're faced with a decision to prune, or not to prune, here's a great test to find out if you should proceed or not: Does it make you say "HELL YEAH!", or not? Remember, one of your finite resources is time - and you don't have time to waste on parties you don't want to go to, on people who drain you, or apparent opportunities that'll take you away from your MVP's. If you have an instinctive "HELL YEAH!" response, then there's your answer, on an instinctive level. If you don't have a "HELL YEAH!" response, then there's your answer, on an instinctive level. This is a huge and efficient filter. Your instinct gives you the correct answer, and spares you a life of backtracking out of "Maybe".
Don't let your mouth overload your back
One thing is for certain, you can't let your To Do List, or your people-pleasing reflexes gain control. Remember what happens to the rose bush if left unattended, to it's ultimate detriment. Don't let yourself get too tangled into too many commitments before you start pruning, don't wait until you have to take action, take preventative measures by working mindfully.
Take your To Do List and study it forensically. Do YOU really need to do it all, or even at all? What can be pruned? What can be delegated? Too many tasks (re: buds) cannot be sustained, and you will eventually exhaust yourself. Don't wait until you're forced to focus, focus now. Apply the Hell Yeah! principle and keep your bush neatly trimmed!
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