As entrepreneurs, it can get easy to get stuck in a rut. You can get focused on a task, or get distracted by a new shiny gadget. Or worse, you get in your head with negative talk that ends up paralyzing you from accomplishing what you have set out to do. Here are 10 easy things all entrepreneurs can do to shake up their life.
When you feel stuck or like your life is getting boring, it can feel like your dreams are much farther away than you had first thought. Instead of focusing on your big dreams, try taking small actions that could lead to your big dreams. Things you may not have thought of could inspire or motivate you towards your goals.
Small actions lead to big actions.
Taking a series of small steps can end up becoming something unbelievably big. Here are 10 you can do starting today. Note how you feel after doing each one. If you enjoyed it, make a conscious effort to do more of it. If you weren’t a fan, then maybe don’t do it as often.
1. Perform a Random Act of Kindness
While we can get caught up in the day-to-day of our lives, work, family, and all of the activities that come with it, you often do not realize how much time it take up. Take some time for yourself and surprise someone with a random act of kindness.
Pay for someone’s coffee at Starbucks.
Let a car into your lane that you would have otherwise passed on.
Help an older person across the street.
When you perform a random act of kindness, the person you help not only feels better, you feel better.
2.Throw stuff out and declutter
It is easy to collect a bunch of stuff. Stuff that you don’t use. Stuff that you didn’t even know you had. Collecting all of this physical stuff can also make your mind feel cluttered.
Going through the process of sorting, cleaning, and getting rid of things can be refreshing.
Especially where you work. If you have a cluttered office, it can make you feel cluttered yourself.
Spend a couple hours and get organized. Your mind will feel more organized as well.
3. Go to lunch with someone you barely know
I have personally taken quite a few personality tests in order to better understand myself and how others relate to me. It is something I enjoy doing. And I have seen several improvements in myself because of it.
One of the things I have begun doing recently is going for lunch or coffee with people I’ve met through @Shapr. Shapr is a professional networking app that allows you to swipe left or right on professionals you’d like to meet. I’ve met close to 60 people through Shapr over the last 8 months or so. Because of it, I’ve made new friends, have built business relationships, and have built a network of amazing people here in Chicago. And it’s free!
4. Learn something random
I am a life-long learner. While I didn’t enjoy school as much as others, I do enjoy learning. Mostly on my own, at my own pace, based on my own interests. When I feel stuck, sometimes to break the spell I relentlessly study a subject that is indirectly related to what I am currently working on.
When I was consulting to the Air Force, my team of subject matter experts and I had very tight timelines we had to meet. In order to get the team performing at our highest level while maintaining top quality, I began studying process improvement. This led to change management and organizational psychology – and led to Six Sigma. I then took all of that new knowledge and applied it to my team. We systemized the entire process. Each SME had their own process that rolled up into the final product we delivered to the client. I was able to control the system through checks and balances along the way to ensure we met our quality standards. This process allowed our team to produce 12 highly technical reports in 4 weeks time, 2 weeks of which we were in remote locations without access to a steady internet connection. We repeated this process nearly every month.
5. Photograph your city
Throughout my career, I have always enjoyed photographing new cities, people, and landscapes wherever I go. When I moved to Chicago, I began to take my dog Emmet on epic walks around the city. Our 4-mile excursions led us throughout the city, along the lakefront, and throughout the museum campus. I began to enjoy watching the sun rise over Lake Michigan, waking up with the city. I then began photographing as much as I could; sunsets, sunrises, trains, buildings, shadows, Buckingham fountain. All of these pictures brought me closer to the city I now call home. They made me be thankful for where I get to live and all that the city has to offer.
This then inspires me to get involved with the city and become an active Chicagoan by giving back.
6. Talk to strangers
I have always had a quiet personality. So much so, that many of my teachers often asked my parents if I was understanding the information they were teaching. I did, I just chose to be quiet and take it in. My childhood was spent building with Lego, drawing, and playing basketball. Aside from basketball, the other two were incredibly quiet activities.
Except when you are sifting through thousands of tiny Lego bricks in search of that one piece to finish your masterpiece. Then, it can get pretty loud.
When I began traveling and consulting, I found myself in some pretty far off destinations, usually in transit by myself. Whether it was a boat, train, cab, plane, airport lounge, coffee shop, or hole-in-the-wall sandwich shop, there is always someone around looking to have a conversation.
At first, I was reserved.
Over time, I’ve learned to open up more and it has led to amazing conversations. As an entrepreneur, it is so important to talk to others and share your story. On a trip to Guam, I met a man on a mission in search of Amelia Earhart’s plane and remains on the island of Saipan. He and his team had raised a round of private money to back the exploration as well as a campaign on Kickstarter. His theory was that Amelia’s plane crash-landed on a small island, was picked up by the Japanese and brought back to Saipan. At the time, Japan controlled the island of Saipan. His team had information stating that Amelia’s plane was burned on the runway and pushed off diagonally and then buried. According to the specs of the plane, some pieces would not have burned. And they had the coordinates of where these supposed non-burned plane parts were.
It was an amazing story. It is still thrilling to think about, even it turns out to be not true. Through that conversation, I ended up consulting with him on a few other projects. You just never know where a conversation will lead.
7. Wake up earlier
I like to think of myself as a morning person. Though I can sleep in with the best of them. When I do get up early, I absolutely enjoy it. There is something about being up before most of the world that gets me fired up and inspired to get to work. In Hawaii, I’d often be up and out the door by 6am, which was bright and early for the island.
Now, in Chicago, I try to be up and out the door by 5:50am to walk Emmet, work towards my daily exercise goals, and get ready for a good day of work ahead.
Waking up early can shift your mind and help you get more done. Try it for a week and see if you notice any change.
8. Volunteer for a good cause
In Hawaii, I worked in downtown Honolulu. And there were certain areas where many of the homeless congregated. It was heartbreaking to see and there wasn’t much I could do.
When I moved to Chicago, I began seeing more homeless people throughout the downtown area and in my neighborhood. Again, it was heartbreaking to see them, but I didn’t know what I could do to help. In February of 2016, I found a board position open for Goldie’s Place, who helps homeless and those at-risk get employment training, job placement, and free oral health care. Joining the board was one of the best decisions I made. I have met a wonderful group of people who are all passionately fighting for a cause they strongly believe in. We are having a roaring 20’s casino themed party at the Newberry Library benefitting Goldie’s Place on October 7. Come join!
9. Send a thank-you note
While we all get busy as entrepreneurs, are we really too busy to write a thank-you note? This form of gratitude has fallen by the wayside and is why, when done now, is seen as such an over the top gesture. The best part is – you feel better writing the thank-you note!
So send out a thank-you, or ten. You’ll feel better and you will make that person’s (ten people’s) day!
10. Test drive your dream car
I love sports cars. Especially European sports cars of German descent. I have been lucky to have had three different BMW’s over the last few years. A BMW was a car I dreamed about but never knew I could afford. That was until I began researching it and figured out a way. My dream car is a Porsche. I’ve not yet decided on the model, but I love the attention to detail and extremely high quality of product that they produce. Their brand strategy is also extremely impressive.
Whatever your favorite car is, go down to the dealership and take one for a test drive. It will inspire you, motivate you, or make you realize why you do not need to buy one. In fact, we may not be driving our own cars in the near future anyways, so now may be your chance.
Wrapping it Up
We all go through ruts and periods of feeling stuck. Adopting these 10 things or trying one or two of them can get your fire back. Being an entrepreneur is hard enough – making sure you are keeping active and your mind buzzing is incredibly important for both your mental health and the health of your business.
Over to You
I want to know, how many of these things have your tried in an effort to shake up your life? As an entrepreneur, what are some of the biggest hurdles you face as you work to achieve your dreams? Leave a comment and let me know!