Archive for the ‘skill’ Tag

Multi-tasking

Our world of commerce operates on many assumptions that we routinely do not question, and often that’s just as well.  If society, for example, makes the assumption that time-saving devices will make life easier, it may be most productive to simply accept that premise and progress from there.

Every now and again, however, assumptions surface that are truly counter-productive.  Any given company used to assume the public was one homogenous mass; now we know that assumption leads to failure, and we must understand ‘the public’ in terms of very specific demographic types.

So this post is about the assumption that multi-tasking is an admirable trait.  In my business, I work with busy small business owners, and most of them multi-task constantly.  Perhaps they were able to rise to ownership partly because their multi-tasking opened many doors simultaneously.  But here’s the hitch:  by being in the groove that requires doing many things at once, these folks never do anything throroughly.  They flit amongst their obligations like crazed bees in a summer field, but never drink deeply of any nectar.  Unbeknownst to them, others are left feeling disconnected and dissatisfied.  Tasks are touched upon but never completed.  Strategies are launched, and then lost in the distractions of time passing.

Multi-tasking is a hindrance and liability, and not at all the wondrous skill our hell-bent society suggests it is.  It’s far more fulfilling and successful to cultivate careful attention to the task at hand.  Make a list and go through it methodically, but don’t try to do two things at once, for neither will be properly addressed.

Urges

While you hear the occasional tale of a bright young graduate (or drop-out, as the case may be) striking it rich with a clever idea, for the most part entrepreneurs base their business on skill of some kind. It could be anything from skill in customer service, to skill as vice president, to skill in creating and dissolving entrepreneurships by the dozen. Generally speaking, going into business for yourself means offering a skill of some kind.

Problem is, it takes time to develop marketable skill; often a great deal of time. For this reason, it may be well into your adult life before business ownership becomes feasible.

Another factor that’s crucial to business success and that requires significant maturity to acquire is doing what you really want to do in life.

That may sound inane, but ask most any young person (say, under age 35) what they really want and you’re likely to get mumbled, confused answers. Ask yourself right now: what is my deepest, truest want at this moment? what do I most profoundly want in my life and my future?

Young people rightfully don’t dwell much on these questions, unless they pertain simply to a Friday night’s entertainment, or perhaps where they should attend college, or which company offers the best working environment.

It is more towards the middle years that you start questioning whether you even want entertainment on a Friday night; or you suddenly thirst for new knowledge in a way you never dreamed of while you were in school. Or the awareness slowly creeps in that it’s time to become all of yourself, to use all your skills, to serve your highest wants and offer the fullest expression of your gifts – in other words, you finally realize it’s time to get started in your own business.

Indeed, it’s not easy to know what you truly want. We both want and don’t want so many things: e.g., temptations of all kinds, disciplines, new technologies, taxes, all that stuff. The old immediate gratification so often grabs the stage from our ultimate wants. Only such folk as Zen monks and the Dalai Lama can say they act according to their deepest wants exclusively. Nonetheless the rest of us do our best to follow their example, whatever our creed.

All the above is meant to introduce another essential creativity practice (of course!), which I call urging. This comes from theater improvisation exercises. In that arena, half of a group sits as an audience, while the other half goes onstage – a specifically marked out area of the floor. Those onstage are asked to urge, to do whatever they are moved to do. There are no other instructions.

This is difficult for many, requiring some getting used to, yet it brings continuous revelation even to the seasoned practitioner. Later on, perhaps I’ll discuss this exercise in detail. For now, look at possibilities for urging in your life. Or it may be more relevant to suggest, look for the times when you naturally respond according to your urges rather than according to reason. When you think about these times, what do you learn about yourself? Do you know what you want?