I get so excited at the notion of building my writing platform. Ideas flood my mind: newsletters, retreats, guests post topics! I also love connecting with other hussle hard, ambitious lady dreamers and doers. This often means I’m joining new meetup groups, attending writing workshops or classes, and discovering who I can collaborate with on fun new projects.
This is all good fun until…I’m spread so thin, I don’t know how I’m going to meet all the deadlines of the commitments that I enthusiastically said yes to at some point.
What do you do when your ambition is compromising your progress?
I recently learned how to deal with this question. I had been searching for an in-person writers group, where we’d meet to discuss our writing and receive constructive feedback. After months of searching online and through my personal connections, I had finally found one! I attended the weekly discussions and in the beginning it was super helpful. The group critiqued a personal essay of mine and showed how it would benefit from a re-write. I took their advice and that essay ended up being published on theeverygirl.com.
This was great but soon after, the majority of our weekly meetups became a “free writing” session—time for attendees to just write. Group members loved this because they often found it hard to make time in their normal schedule for writing and this forced them to write for at least one hour per week.
For me, I already had an established routine for writing everyday. Spending my Thursday evening to free write didn’t add any value to my business of being a writer. Did it still make sense for me to attend the meetups? I had searched for months to find this group. Members were all so welcoming and nice. How could I just quit the group?
The answer is more simple than you’d imagine—I quit the group.
A few months later I joined an online community of women writers and through that group I connected with a woman who is in the process of writing a book proposal for her first manuscript. She was looking for an accountability partner: someone who she could receive constructive feedback from and who she’d be responsible for sending her work to on a weekly basis.
This was perfect for me! She and I were a match because we were at the same place in our writing careers and had similar expectations of a writing partner. She’s not local and the relationship is completely digital with us emailing our work and meeting up for Skype calls, but the benefit of what we provide each other impacts my writing progression more deeply than being able to meet with folks face-to-face.
I could have tried to do both: stay in the group and work with my new writing partner. But then, what would that have done for me? I would have spent time investing in a group that was producing little to no return for me. Instead, I chose to dedicate that time to projects that could push me further toward my goals.
As an ambitious entrepreneur, you will inevitably crave more. More projects, more ideas, more collaborations, more conversations, more social media posts, more, more, more! For me, it often feels like being involved in a romance that’s ready to sweep me off my feet. But as an entrepreneur, it’s important to stay grounded in your goals to make real progress toward achieving them.
Try this exercise to help extricate the activities or projects in your life that aren’t serving your mission and for you to regain focus on the things that will push you ahead.
Step 1: Grab a piece of paper and draw a line down the middle. Title the left column “activities” and the right column “business goals and priorities.”
Step 2: Reflect on your average week and in the left column jot down everything you’re working on as it relates to your business. For example, write blog posts, post to Facebook, design website, attend online class about digital marketing, meet up with friends for brainstorms, etc.
Step 3: List 2 – 4 goals you have for your business over the next 6 – 12 months. It may be something like, bring on 12 new clients or, land a speaking gig.
Step 4: Highlight the things in the left column that will directly impact the items in the right column. For example, attending an Instagram crash course may help you achieve your goal of increasing your number of social media followers.
Step 5: Begin to restructure your weekly schedule to accommodate the highlighted items, making these your priority. This might mean removing other activities or projects from your schedule or dedicating less time to them in order to create time for the priority items. Remember, these priority items are the ones that will push you toward achieving your goals.
Best of luck my dear and keep shining that brilliant ambitious light—in the right direction.