Do 1 thing…

I’ve written before about how anxious I get about seemingly silly little things and I’ve noticed that running a business on facebook is really fabulous for not needing to actually speak to anyone. If you can type, have an idea in your head then you can engage people, create a community and hide. Yes I did say hide. A facebook business is great for shy people, people who want to dip their toe into the business market whilst keeping overheads down but it’s also good for anxious people like me.

My anxiety takes the form of little things escalating into big things by over analysing and overthinking. Spontaneity is my friend whereas planned events sometime in the future aren’t as that gives time for doubts to creep in, thoughts to go into overdrive and the sleepless nights then start. If there is too much time for me to think and worry I want to cancel or back out as I feel I can’t do what’s planned or what I’ve been asked to do. I can’t email as something physically stops me and I can’t ring as I have issues with the phone (I’ve blogged about previously).

I’ve read a few blogs on how to run a business and whilst I think some are inspirational I don’t think I’ve actually acted on anything that I knew to be a really good idea. I’ve nodded sagely, picked sentences out and read them aloud to Hubbie and sat and dreamed of how I would take the next step but I know, in my heart of hearts, that I won’t be acting on any of the advice given. I will watch other people build their businesses whilst I sit and wish I could be more confident, more proactive as that kick up the backside I regularly give myself just doesn’t work. I see time management blogs where they tell you to set the big idea down on paper and work out long term goals then medium term goals then short term goals and the daily lists and to do lists and I used to do this in teaching so this doesn’t faze me. What does faze me is the endless bits of paper and the long lists that have me paralysed even before I start. I don’t speak the language of business and I can’t pretend to. Watching the apprentice has me laughing at the lunacy on one hand but then wondering how I’ll ever run a business when I don’t speak the language on the other. I don’t ‘think outside the box’ I have ideas, I don’t ‘push the envelope’ and I certainly don’t even understand what ‘low hanging fruit is all about’ so I’m scared of even having a business conversation in case they find out that, in the words of Manuel, ‘I know nothing…’

Yesterday I listened to a radio programme. Women’s hour had their culmination of their ‘Women in business’ series and there was again a lot of inspirational talk that was certainly inspiring as I used the cross trainer. They discussed the barriers women face and along with childcare, confidence came out as something that hinders women in business but also to start their own business. At school it certainly wasn’t mentioned let alone encouraged that anyone could start a business. My brothers’ then went into banking (not their fault all this crisis one is out of it now and one isn’t even in the country) and they were the ‘business’ brains and talked between themselves and I never joined in as I was younger had no idea what they were talking about so I slunk off to play the ‘cello or do other stuff.

Being a teacher, ironically, has given me a few of the business skills I have. When chatting to Hubbie about writing a business plan I described what I would do in teaching and how a curriculum is decimated down to each day (long term plan, medium, short and daily lesson plans) he said ‘Ah, that’s agile management, you are running an agile business.’ I knew what he meant but didn’t like the language. It was business speak and my ‘what the heck???’ guard was beginning to rise. I have a business plan though there are some gaps as I felt completely bogged down by the paperwork and as I struggled with it I admit I got jaded and went off to make a cushion or something…

I’m not lazy, I work like hell but I am unconfident and there are many reasons as to why this is. Whilst listening to the radio 4 programme I decided to have a chat with my facebook page likers as they are always interested in sharing opinions and I’m so pleased we can all agree and disagree and that it doesn’t turn into a mumsnet bun fight (those of you on either mumsnet or netmums know what I mean). I asked you what hinders you in your business and you said the same as the radio programme and also what I thought. Childcare and confidence. Whilst I can’t do anything about childcare could we, as a group, do something about confidence? I mentioned I had a phone call I’d been putting off and that today was going to be the day where I actually made that phone call. I said I was going to do 1 thing that I’d been putting off and did anyone else want to join me? A few ladies did and I was so pleased that some of them came back later and said they had finished that one thing and were so chuffed with themselves. I also did my one thing though not strictly making that phone call I did make contact via email and actually wrote quite good email pushing forward my skills. I felt good. I had achieved something important, I had a spring in my step but most of all, I had beaten the anxiousness and I was a winner. The other ladies felt this way too and I know that by achieving that one thing they were more inclined to plan another one thing to do the next day. We all want to feel good and not anxious so this was good for me. I have planned my next one thing and although I do have my long term goals I’m not going to think I have to climb the big climb or not do anything at all. I used to think that I would never get to where, for example, Alan Sugar is is so much that I began not to even try. A self-fulfilling prophecy is all well and good but there is a bit of determination in me that wants this business to succeed and I’m ready with the baby steps.

I’m not writing a ‘to do’ list ever again. It scares me. The length of mine was just ridiculous so much that it had the opposite effect and made me do nothing. I am going to stick with my daily 1 thing. I’m not talking of the ordinary day to day things we need to do with our businesses more the creepy things we like to ignore. They thing that makes you feel uncomfortable, makes your tummy turn over and after a week of not doing the one thing you begin to feel a little sick. For some it’s phone calls, for some it’s writing content for a website. Others find booking craft fairs, meeting clients face to face or just simply telling the next person you meet just what you do and how bloody marvellous you are. So I’m not climbing any mountains anymore or hiding in the cupboard, it’s going to be very simple the fix I’m giving myself. I’m going to do one thing a day that scares me a little and after I have I can pat myself on the back, stick a little sticker on my reward chart and punch the air a little if I like. I’m going to share my one thing to help others face the things they don’t like doing with their businesses too.

I have my one thing I’m doing tomorrow, do you?


About littlewhitecottage

Emma is a qualified teacher with 14 years of teaching in many different settings. From teaching adults and children at a music school to choosing to work in a demanding primary school that was failing (which meant moving from an outstanding school – her colleagues were aghast!) to running her own sewing business for the last 5 ½ years teaching all ages how to sew: Emma loves to teach.
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2 Responses to Do 1 thing…

  1. mother duck says:

    I do hope you have an actually star or sticker chart. Small rewards for a job well done is a great way to go. My reward for a job done (that I have been putting off and promise to do tomorrow) would be allowing myself one hour to read, something other than business related books or magazines.
    I have a long list of things to do ~ I shall put them into order of importance and tackle the one at the top tomorrow.

    Thanks for the inspiration x

  2. Fab blog post. I think you will find a lot of creative people are like you, maybe we are more sensitive souls? I find some really silly things stress me out and make me feel sick – if I get more sleep it helps me be more confident but with 3 kids you can’t schedule that 🙂

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