Stop the Madness - #PM40
Hi everyone, it’s Pat Mussieux here.
As you saw in my preliminary note, hopefully you did, I’m going on a little bit of a rant today, which is not something I normally do. I’m just going to chat for a little bit here about what brought this on. I do take a lunch hour break. I take it away from my desk and I take it away from my computer, which I know many entrepreneurs don’t do. They get in a bad habit of eating lunch at their desk, and I don’t. One of the habits I also have in taking my lunch break away from the office is that I read a chapter in a book every day. Today, what I was reading was this, “Words That Matter.” It’s life lessons, every day lessons, and written by Oprah.
I was reading this, and it’s rather interesting because yesterday when I got home there was a box at my door from Amazon, and in that box were these two fabulous books, this one and this one, Oprah’s newest book, and I had been wanting this. It was on my Christmas list, so I’m just thrilled because they showed up in a brown box from Amazon, no note. I have no idea where they came from, but I’m absolutely thrilled, so whoever you are out there in the world who kindly gifted me these books, thank you from the bottom of my heart.
I started reading this one today at lunch, and there’s an excerpt in here that got me going based on some conversations I’ve had with some of you this week; some emails, some messages, but also just being out in the world with entrepreneurs and paying attention to what people are talking about, and how they’re feeling these days, in particular since we turned the calendar to the month of December.
Here’s one of the things that Oprah wrote that got me thinking, and why I wanted to do this. She says, “What I know for sure,” and you all know her for this common expression. “What I know for sure is that no matter where you stand right now, on a hilltop, in a gutter, at a crossroads, in a rut, no matter where, you need to give yourself the best you have to offer in this moment. That’s it. Rather than depleting yourself with judgments about what you haven’t done, who you could have become, why you haven’t moved faster, or what you should have changed, redirect that energy towards the next big push, the one that takes you from enough to better, the one that takes you from adequate to extraordinary, and the one that helps you rise from a low moment and reach for your personal best.”
This is the excerpt that got me going, as I was sitting there and I was thinking about what I wanted to talk about here on my lunchtime rant, it comes down to a few C’s, and some of you know I think and talk in terms of C’s. One of the first ones was when it comes down to calendars, people. We all know that we just flipped the calendar to December. Anybody in business knows that when you flip the calendar, the first of every month comes up. This is no surprise. So when I was reading the excerpt from this book with Oprah, it started me thinking about the calendar, and for those of us in business, listen, I know you have electronic calendars. I have one too. I also have this calendar on my desk and I have a wall calendar, and any of you who work with me know that I focus a lot on my calendar and planning ahead.
Here’s what really gets to me, and I am going to rant a little bit. It gets to me on the first of every month when I start hearing people talking about how they don’t have money or how they can’t get clients to pay, or how they can’t pay their own bills, and particularly the self-imposed stress that comes with that when we turn this calendar to this month. This month right there. People flip the calendar to December and all of the sudden it’s like the stress levels are on steroids. Here’s what I have to say about that. It comes every year. People, December comes every year, and the first of the month comes 12 times in a year, and so I just don’t get, nor do I understand, why some entrepreneurs, some people in business, in particular, and I’m talking business today, why they’re just surprised, astonished, shocked or disorganized when it comes to that.
I want to talk to you about the calendar and those of you in business because what I sense from the stress and chaos around the 1st of December is that you, in business, do not have a bookkeeper, do not have an accountant, and so you’re not having regular meetings with those people. How are you running a business like that? Seriously, and so if you don’t have a bookkeeper and you don’t have an accountant, then you need to run out and get one, and start planning and getting prepared to meet your business commitments. That was one of my next C’s, commitment, but beyond that or before that, I want to talk to you about what happens when you fall into that habit oh my gosh, it’s December 1st and I can’t pay my bills. It comes down to compromise.
I happen to have written a really great book about this, “Stop Compromising and Make All the Money You Want.” Stop compromising. A lot of you are compromising in the month of December when it comes down to the stress that you’re feeling, all the invitations coming in, and so you feel like you have to say yes to everything. You don’t. You don’t have to say yes to everything. I get excited about this topic. You don’t have to say and compromise your energy. Also, you don’t have to say yes and go to all these parties and invitations, and compromise your health and wellness goals, and if you are, then just hydrate. That’s one of my keys to success. Just keep drinking water. But it comes down to compromise, and so where are you compromising in your life? What’s stressing you out in the month of December and what questions do you have?
Honestly, I believe I’ve mastered it, for the most part. I have control over my energy, my time, my commitments, my cash flow, my calendar, and when I see people just going around in a frenzy around me, it breaks my heart, but where it ticks me off is when it does come to business, and when people are compromising and reneging on their contractual commitments, they’re not paying their bills, and they’re not following through with their commitment and the power of their word. I just really have very little tolerance for that because, honestly, did you not see that the first of the month was coming? It comes back to the calendar and it comes back to, for those of you serious in business, making sure that you’ve got the bookkeeper, you’ve got the accountant, you’re meeting with them regularly, and you know your cash flow projection because, when you do, then you can pay your bills because you know the money is coming in.
But here’s the thing, and here’s why I wanted to talk to you about it today. January 1st is right around the corner, and so I know some of you are slipping into a mindset right now, “Well, it’s December. My focus is on my family and I’m going to take some time off.” Well listen, you’ve got cash flow in the bank? Go for it. Enjoy your time off. But where you’ve not been able to meet your commitments for December 1st, don’t you dare slack off right now. You have to get your butt in gear and make sure you have your cash flow in place to follow through on your commitment for January 1st. Seriously.
That was the compromise part. You’re compromising on your integrity when you’re not following through on your commitments, but that also is the commitment to yourself. How many of you are going out to Christmas parties?
“Trying to get relatives to agree to no gift-giving and they won’t stop.” Well listen, we can’t change other people. I hear you and I’ve been through that experience. You can’t change other people. If this is something that’s really important to you, whether it comes down to the time and energy of getting out and doing the shopping, the wrapping and the giving, or whether it comes down to money, and I keep telling my clients, in particular, “Do not be spending money you don’t have buying things that people don’t need, for people you don’t even know or like. Stop doing that.”
So where does change start? It starts with us. What I did was I stopped. I stopped the insanity. I stopped the bleeding. You know my story, when I first moved here a number of years ago. I had no money. I had no money and I was not about to go into debt to try to impress some people, and so there were no gifts, period. Whether or not you have my story, when you decide you want to make a change in your family, then you be the change agent. You start it and stick to the power of your word, and demonstrate that which is important to you.
It takes courage to change anything. It certainly takes courage to be in business, and it takes courage and it takes guts sometimes to pick up the phone and keep making those sales. The other piece around the whole mindset is people aren’t doing business in December. Yes they are. For those of you who are going off and settling with that mindset, I’m stepping in and I’m getting the money. People are spending money. They might as well spend it with me. Be thinking about that.
I really want to get this message across today. Stop with the compromising, get the calendar out, make sure you have a bookkeeper and an accountant in your business, act like a real business owner here, and monitor your cash flow.
The other part that I wanted to talk about is with respect to the cash flow. Listen, if you don’t have the cash flow, then what’s happening with your client base? So where you are compromising in the power of your word to your contracts, your commitments, things where you need to stand up, fess up, pay up, what about your clients? How are you treating them? How are you modeling to them about how to be a true professional in this day and age, particularly again, when it comes to December? I don’t know why that throws so many people off. Be thinking about your cash flow but also be thinking about what you’re modeling to your clients.
For some of you who are struggling at this point in time, you do need a business coach. You need someone, first of all, to hold you accountable, hold your feet to the fire, guide you through how to manage your commitments, and make sure that you do honor your commitments. It’s a small world out there, people, and listen, word travels really fast in whatever industry that you’re in.
The other piece around the commitments is getting back to the calendar. If you don’t have the electronic calendar, get yourself a black and white desk calendar. It’s so simple. I have the fabulous calendar that was made for me last year, which I love. Get yourself a calendar and recognize that already we’re three weeks away from January 1st, so what are you doing now to prepare for your cash flow commitments, your payments, your contracts, whatever for January 1st? Get ready now.
That’s the calendar piece. All I have to say as well is you have to get in the game and get real serious with this. Get in the game with this because it all starts with you, and what you do is what message you’re sending out to the world, so yes, that’s my rant. I mean, I just don’t get it when people are frenzied and stressed out in December. You have the power to make the change, so quit acting like somebody else is in control. They’re not. You are, so get a calendar out, get professional about the way you’re doing business, get serious about the way you’re doing life. If you’re not happy already about the way we’re heading into the holidays, then make the change, but be consistent in your word and watch the power of your word. That’s the important part.
Stop with the compromising. If you need to learn, just go online to http://hirepat.com and check out my book. You can get an e-version and it’s a quick read. Quite frankly, it’s a good book. So stop compromising right now. Get a grip on what you want the holidays to look like and feel like, what you want your business to look like and feel like, how you want your clients to feel about the way you’re doing business, but seriously, first and foremost, it comes down to you and how are you doing business, how are you showing up and are you showing up, and be true to yourself.
All right, that was my rant. Because I started off talking about this fabulous book that showed up my door, from Oprah, as I was mentioning, I read a chapter a day at lunchtime, and there are just so many great life lessons in this book. What I love about it, for those of you who feel like I don’t have the time, listen, it’s an easy read. It’s short little paragraphs.
Let me end with this. She’s saying that if you can allow yourself to breathe into the depth, the wonder, the beauty, the craziness, and the strife, everything that represents the fullness of life, then you can live fearlessly because you come to realize that if you just keep breathing, you cannot be conquered. So keep breathing, keep being, be your best self, get a grip on things. Get a grip.
If, in fact, your head is saying no but your heart is saying yes, sometimes follow your head. You can’t be all things to all people, and when I see people spinning around out there like that and attempting to be like that, you’re in control. Take charge and, if you felt this message was of any value in interest, leave some comments in there then certainly hit share. That’s my rant for today.
All right, I’m out of here. I have work to do and clients to serve. Bye everyone.