Have you ever noticed that when you run your own business, you can have huge highs and lows in your energy and your motivation?
One day you can feel really motivated, totally focused, you’re completely ‘on it’. Well and truly in the zone!
But somehow, before you know it, all that energy can just vanish, and you suddenly feel like you’re in a bit of a dip.
You’re in a slump, you can’t quite get yourself going and the brain fog is really taking over.
Actually, I think this happens a lot and is one of the reasons why I often refer to running a business being like riding a roller-coaster that never ends! There are so many natural highs and lows involved with running a business.
There’s a reason that very often sits behind this which I think few people recognise. And, of course, if you’re not aware of it, then you can’t work out how to adapt to it or use it to your advantage.
So today I want to help you by sharing what I think is one of the biggest causes of energy highs and lows and a reason for those seemingly random shifts from massive focus all the way through to complete brain fog and totally losing the plot about what you should be working on!
And the reason is all about performance.
Now, I know this may sound a little bit strange but bear with me.
Within your business, there will be certain moments when you are at your peak performance level.
The easiest way to explain this is to think of an athlete. So, I used to be a sprinter, as many of you know, and when you’re an athlete or a competitor, it’s very obvious when those moments of performance are.
It’s quite clear when an athlete is working through a training session and it’s abundantly clear when they’re out there competing. And the competitions are those moments of peak performance.
Now in business it’s not always quite so obvious, but once you step back and take a look at it, I think you’ll be able to pin those moments down for you a lot more easily than you might think.
So for me, the very obvious moments of performance are when I’m in front of clients.
For instance, yesterday I ran a planning day for the senior team of one of my clients and I facilitated a series of discussions over about five hours. I came out of that session absolutely exhausted.
Because for the whole time I’d been 100% focused.
I was directing discussion, making sure that we were having the right kind of conversations, stimulating ideas and input, controlling timings, making sure everybody was getting involved, encouraging commitment to action plans, plus making sure we didn’t disappear off on tangents and keeping all the banter in check!
There were a bazillion different elements all sitting on my shoulders to make sure it was a seriously productive day! So that’s very much a performing element to my business.
Other key performance moments are when I’m talking to my clients – whether that’s via a coaching call or a face to face meeting with clients, those are absolutely my moments of performance.
So for you, I would recommend that you have a think about your own moments of peak performance. It might be really obvious, especially if you’re client facing. Those are almost always your performance moments.
The key times for you will be those that need you to be really focused, totally motivated, and tuned in to deliver your best work. So if you’re not client facing think about those times in your business when you’re really super focused.
Now, you may well be asking “what’s the point of this Paula? How does this make any sense?”
Well here’s the point.
During those times of peak performance your energy is likely to be really high, you’ll be fuelled by adrenaline and super-focused. But after that performance moment you might find yourself falling into a natural energy dip.
Now, the hustlers and grinders of this world would have us believe that we should be able to work at 100% focus, 100% commitment, at least 100% of the time.
But the fact is, as human beings, we are simply not designed that way.
We cannot perform at 100% all the time. And we cannot possibly be 100% focused 100% of the time.
So what we actually need to do is recognise where the key areas of performance are in our business. And then work to make sure that we fill the gaps in our diaries in between those performance elements with less demanding work.
We need to accept the fact that there are other times in our day or our week where our energy will naturally be lower and our focus will be poorer. We need to fill those particular time slots with the work that is a bit more mundane, less focused, less intense; rather than expecting to work at a million miles an hour all of the time.
I’d recommend mapping this out through the course of your week. You can even plan this through the course of your day so that you have peak performance moments and then in between you deliberately plan in some less intense work.
The less intense things for you might be social media if that’s a key part of your business. Or you might love watching videos (like my fabulous vlogs!) or watching Ted Talks or things like that. Those are great things to put in between.
It could be focusing on your accounts or all the nitty-gritty parts of your business that don’t necessarily need massive focus or massive adrenaline.
You can plan your day and your week so that you anticipate the natural energy peaks and troughs and actually play to your strengths in that way, rather than fighting against it.
Rather than focusing on all your performance work at once, so that you get to the point where you are just totally and utterly exhausted!
Look at spreading that intense work more evenly across your week so that you can also balance your energy more evenly across the week.
So that you’re not fighting against yourself, and so that you can enjoy your work a lot more by really playing to your natural strengths and capitalising on your natural energy highs.
Appreciate the times of the day when energy is not in the right place for you, because that happens to all of use.
We are human beings, we all have our dips. This will always happen and that’s okay.
As long as you recognise that it’s going to happen and you make sure that you’re doing the right kind of work at that time, then you will find that business as a whole will just flow more naturally, your momentum will feel a lot more even, and you will stay on an even keel much more.
I hope that makes sense to you. I hope you can see how you might be able to adapt your working day and your working week to fit in much more naturally with your own peaks and troughs, and to make sure that you’re not expecting yourself to be performing at 8 million percent for 62 two days a week!
I’d love to hear how you get on with this. If you make any changes, I’d really love to hear about that. Or if you know that you need to work on this but you’re not sure where to start then get in touch and let’s see how I can help you.
Feel free to add your comments below or to share this with somebody else who you think would get something from it.