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How Shoulding Gets in the Way of Business Strategy

Shoulding & Business Strategy

Strategy. It’s how we intentionally achieve what we desire, with more clarity and less effort.

Shoulding. Let’s admit, shoulding all over ourselves as we move towards what we desire is not only NOT working, it creates roadblocks and detours (and a whole lotta angst) along the way.

The more things we feel we ‘should’ do, the more overwhelmed we get and the less productive we become…this is often when procrastination and shiny object syndrome kicks in — ringing true for any of you? I’ll admit it does for me.

When we focus on the ‘shoulds’ repeating in our head, we can easily miss hidden opportunities.

How often do you have thoughts that play over and over, saying you should do more? For example, that you should exercise more, call your mother more, or blog more consistently.

Vision, Goals, Boundaries

Vision and Business Strategy

Or, perhaps you feel you should spend less energy on social media, networking, or friend that doesn’t support you.

We get so caught up in what we perceive we should and should not do that we lose sight of what we WANT to do, and WHY we want to do it. We lose our vision AND our critical thinking diminishes. This is when strategy gets eaten by shoulding for breakfast.

Here are three ways to stop shoulding and start getting into aligned action that will create a path to your success and happiness rather than adding to the pile of pungent shoulds:

3 Business Strategies for More Relief and Less Shoulding:

Business Strategy #1: Design Your Vision for Your Business and Life

You need a vision with goals for what you want before you can create an aligned action plan to achieve it…instead of a ‘shoulding’ list. Yes, you’ve heard me say this before, and I can’t stress this enough (for anything you want, personal and professional).

Why is having a vision with goals so important?

Because…Let’s admit; VAGUE goals Bring VAGUE Results.

…and vague results can put us into full-on shoulding mode quickly. Things get real damn quick after a few P&Ls with vague results.

Defining your vision becomes a picture of the possible. It becomes a blueprint for an aligned action, a ‘buffer’ if you will, against shoulding, procrastinating, and adding more spinning plates in the air.

A vision supports you to make choices from a thoughtful, reflective place rather than a reactive ‘shoulding’ place. Can you feel the difference in that statement?

We seldom differentiate between the ‘day-to-day busyness’ (email, phone calls, admin, etc.) and the work of growing our business and achieving our goals …. because both are necessary for the survival of our business.  Having a crystal-clear vision of what you want, helps cut away the non-essentials in your day and minimize the shoulding.

SUCCESS starts with focus…with your vision. With vision comes clarity, with clarity comes better choices, and better choices bring improved results (and less shoulding).

Business Strategy #2: Establish Clear Boundaries

You could have all the best business strategies in place, but if you don’t have boundaries that support you to (unapologetically) do the work so that you can achieve your goals, your strategy will not work, and you’ll continue to ‘should’ throughout your day, week, and year.

Boundaries are what define the edges for your business strategy, and hence, your business success. They establish what you will do and what you will not do. Boundaries create relief and spaciousness in your day, as well as help you unhook from the constant shoulding.

Business Strategy #3: Accountability 

Get an accountability partner that’s going to hold your vision up for you to keep focused on so that you will continually make choices that are aligned with your goals.

Accountability to your vision and goals is what will be the magnetic pull towards your dreams, rather than a push which has resistance to it (shoulding has resistance to it).

Girlfriends are great, and oh so necessary. Can I get an ‘oh hell yeah’ on that one please?

Out of love, compassion, and empathy, girlfriends will often pour another glass of wine, nod their head in agreement and commiserate rather than hold you accountable to your dreams.

An accountability partner means making a personal commitment. You’re making a personal commitment to yourself, your accountability partner is committing to support you, and you her.

Find a mindful community, expert, or professional coach to be your accountability partner.  Someone who has been there. They’ll help keep your eyes, actions, and words focused on your ultimate vision so that you can have the life, business, and career of your dreams.

It’s time for the shoulding to stop.

Need some help silencing the shoulding chatter in your head? I’d love to help. Comment below or shoot me an email.

Riverbanks and Allowing Alignment to Flow…

Alignment Invites Flow

I recently spent some time in Maine celebrating the 35th anniversary of my family’s bakery and restaurant.  Such a great time and what an amazing turnout- over 250 people came to celebrate with us!  It was an honor to listen to everyone tell stories from over the years.  It brought such joy to have my family together.

The picture below is from 1988 with my parents, sister, brother and his wife, celebrating an earlier milestone in the family business…and yes, that’s me on the left with the big 80’s hair! Allowing Alignment

On the drive back to Vermont from Maine, the event got me thinking about the importance of fluidity in business as a base for longevity, success, and fulfillment.

Being rigid and doing things because it’s how things ‘should be done’, or ‘it’s the way things have always been done’, doesn’t support our growth, work-life alignment, evolution, or (most importantly) joy in business…or our personal life.

If we’re continually working against our natural flow, attempting to swim upstream so that we can achieve success and experience fulfillment, it’s simply not sustainable.  We eventually call uncle and wonder why it didn’t work out.

If who we are isn’t in alignment with what we do, we will continually struggle.

This made me think of a client I’ve been working with recently. He runs two businesses, is incredibly talented and extremely passionate about his work.  He was getting caught up in the ‘shoulding’ of business.

  • He should be more organized (in the traditional sense).
  • He should manage his time better.
  • He should know what to do when to do it, and how to do it…without fail.
  • He should be more technical.

You get the picture.  But here’s the thing, he was working hard to build his business from a set of ‘rules’ that didn’t align with who he is.  He was struggling, not allowing his beautiful, creative mind to flow, to ALLOW.

We talked about the metaphor of a river bank and using the edges of the river to guide him, but not confine him.  Creating an ebb and flow to his day, week, month, year that feels inviting.

Going with HIS NATURAL FLOW, instead of against it.

Life would be rather ‘beige’ and unexciting if we all approached our days in the same way, yes?

It’s the contrast, the learning…the unfolding that invites us to truly experience and expand.

As my client settles into doing things his way, owning his style of doing business, he’s finding the river banks an inviting place to slow down, relax, and relish, not something to avoid.

Alignment Activity:

I invite you to take some time to think about and journal on the following questions to help you find and stay in your flow:

  • How do you stay in alignment with who you are as a business owner?
  • Where do you get tripped up in the ‘shoulding’ of business?
  • What beliefs would benefit you to let go of so that you can embrace ones that serve you and your goals at a higher level?
  • And, who do you need to be to make that happen?

I’d love to hear from you if you’re willing to share!

Alignment Allows Flow

Alignment Allows Flow