157 – June 6
“Successful people think up things for the rest of the world to keep busy at.”—Unknown
It was the time management session of the Financial Stress Reduction Workshop, and I had just explained how to prioritize activities: “A”: Most important tasks; “B”: Important task but can be delegated to someone else; and “C”: Unimportant task that anyone can do.
Cindy spoke up then. Kind and generous to a fault, She was a successful businesswoman owning two stores with thirteen employees. But she complained that there wasn’t time to get everything done. She’d love to send out more ships, but she “just didn’t have time.”
You must know by now that this excuse is useless. Everyone has the same twenty-four hours in their day. I thought for a moment, then asked her to describe a typical day. This was her list, which I wrote on the blackboard:
- Open the store
- Listen to phone messages
- Talk to employees or customers
- Return phone calls
- Go through mail
- Prepare bank deposits
- Go to the bank
- Prepare bids
- Make sales calls
- Attend networking meetings
The biggest problem business owners—and mothers!—have is that they are so good at everything, they have a problem delegating tasks to other people. They want to know everything that’s going on, have every detail carried out perfectly, and be in charge of the whole show. This works well when a business (or family) is small—and there’s only one person or two people involved. The minute you add a third person, however, the prime mover has to delegate.
I asked the class to help prioritize each one of Cindy’s tasks in order. Open the store was definitely a “C” as was listening to phone messages—anyone could do that. Other “C” tasks were: Go through mail, prepare bank deposits, and go to the bank. We determined that talking with employees was an “A” in some cases, “Bs” and “Cs” in others, as was talking with customers. We delegated half of Cindy’s daily tasks to her employees, which freed up her time for the “A” priorities: Prepare bids, make sales calls, and attend networking meetings. In the next few months, Cindy created a lot more income in her business by focusing on obtaining new customers and delegating everything else.
For all you mothers reading this, I suggest you realize you are the president of your home corporation. You need to decide where your priorities lie, and delegate a lot of tasks to your vice president (husband) and employees (children.) The tasks you delegate may not be done perfectly, but they’ll be done well enough. And you will have so much more time and energy for the fun things your family wants to do, it will be worth having a few crumbs left on the floor or a kitchen sink that isn’t spotless. Give up perfection and put everyone around you to work!
“I take time to be happy and to know that I am.”
Missed Opportunities are Like Missed Buses—There’ll Be Another One in 5 Minutes
Even our friend Thomas Edison wasn’t right about everything. He also invented the phonograph. Of that invention, he said, “The phonograph is of no commercial value.” Given the billions of dollars generated in the music industry now, I bet he’s rockin’ and rollin’ in his grave over that mistake.
Here’s another missed investment opportunity:
Walt Disney was passionate about his goal of creating Disneyland. Big dreams require big money, and he was looking for investors in his company. One potential investor’s account told of how Walt took him out to the site in Anaheim where Disneyland was just beginning to be built. As the tractors rolled, and dirt was dug, Walt spoke of his vision of the park. He described the different sections: Main Street with horse-drawn carriages, Tomorrowland with its rocket to the moon, Adventureland with a shooting gallery and Golden Horseshoe Revue, Fantasyland with Sleeping Beauty’s castle. The investor thought it all sounded too risky. He passed. He didn’t invest in Disneyland. He kept his ships safe at the dock.Family – Mom & Daughters at Disneyland (60s)
Later, when Disneyland became a smashing success, the investor calculated that every step he had taken that day back to his waiting car had cost him a million dollars.
People are wrong all the time. The soap opera Santa Barbara deemed Julia Roberts “dull.” Sharon Stone was rejected by General Hospital and As the World Turns nixed Hugh Grant. Mike Medavoy, one of Hollywood’s super agents, told a young Steven Spielberg his career was “doomed” and passed him off to another agent. Cary Grant and Jeanette MacDonald did a screen test for Fox, but were turned down with this explanation, “We feel neither of these people has a screen personality.”
Let me give you a tip: Pay attention along the way. The goal you’re here to get might not be the goal you think you’re here to get. I set out to be an actor but turned left and ended up a speaker and author. Christopher Columbus headed for the West Indies in the right direction—he just didn’t know there was a New World in between.
Be passionate, follow your North Star, and the worst that can happen is you live a life full of great adventures. It’s all good.