Every now and then we come up for air in hopes of receiving some validation. We want confirmation that we’re taking the necessary steps and are on the right path; and there are a ton of places to find it. But how do we know which sources to trust? The more times we see a phrase or tip the more true it must be, right? Not so much. Sometimes a less popular idea resonates with you. Here’s a list of my top 5 unpopular opinions about business and success.
My Unpopular Opinions About Success
1. Take Your Head Out of the Sand
One really popular opinion is that to be successful you need to be laser-focused. For the most part this is true. Giving 100% effort to your projects and focusing on your own journey is a great way to ensure growth.
Here’s where it gets tricky for me – “If you pay attention to everyone around you, you can’t possibly be focused on yourself.” This says to me that when we silo ourselves and work in isolation we do better because we’re less distracted by our “competition.”
My unpopular opinions: Everything isn’t a competition and taking a moment to look around doesn’t have to mean defeat.
During my time in both undergrad and grad school, working in a studio setting allowed me a few courtesies. For one, being around other people grinding toward a deadline at “odd hours” helped me stay up and get shit done. Some people are disciplined enough to work well into the wee hours of the morning in solitude and for that I applaud them. However, I need “company” whether it be other people, music or other forms of background noise.
Another benefit to being around others on your quest to success is being able to look around. See what others are doing. Find out what methods are working for everyone. There may be better ways to streamline your processes.
Take opportunities to be around others and learn as much as you can. Learning from your peers is one of the best ways to grow.
We entrepreneurs are all about the hustle. If you follow any millennial business groups you’ll come across a lot of people who are about that 24 hours per day, 7 days per week grind life.
“You have to be awake to chase your dreams.”
“Sleep is for the weak.”
“NO days off.”
My unpopular opinions: Working 24/7 and never taking a break is a myth.
Never consciously taking a break might be a thing, but there’s no way you are working at peak productivity without ever taking pause. The days of team #nosleep are a thing of the past. You can be a well-rested boss. In fact, you should be well-rested if you plan on being a boss for any extended period of time.
Sleep is a useful way to recharge. It is the perfect way to reenergize after a full day of productivity. Sleep also enhances your cognitive abilities. It’s hard to be sharp when your brain is just trying to stay awake. Also, some stress can be attributed to lack of sleep.
What’s the point of being up for 24 hours if you’re only productive for 12 of them? Get some guilt-free shuteye.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not above it. I’m guilty of pulling all-nighters too. There are occasions when things just have to get done and there aren’t enough hours in the day. On those nights we burn the midnight oil and get it done. But every other night, we sleep.
3. Jill, Master of ALL Trades
It is important to give your full attention to your projects, even if for only for a couple hours each day. When you have too much going on you can become scattered. If you are scattered, your main project will suffer.
If you’re a creative, you likely have a bunch of ideas floating around at any given time. They all seem amazing and all need your attention and you probably want to try them all to be sure.
My unpopular opinions: You can be great at more than one thing and you’re allowed to do it all.
Don’t feel bad for wanting to do it all. You’re allowed to be interested in more than one thing. You’re also allowed to be dope and unapologetic and admit that you’re good at a bunch of things too. The trick is to not get carried away with trying to do it all simultaneously.
One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned in the past few years is that ideas are valuable, but so is their execution. I’ve tabled many projects because I didn’t know where to start. Or sometimes I was afraid to jump out on a limb and work through things out of fear of doing too much.
For me, taking some time to sort through these ideas is a must. If I don’t, they will continue to haunt me, which means I can’t focus on any of my other work either. Sometimes I schedule brainstorming sessions for myself so I can get a lot of my ideas out of my head. Use whatever method works best for you.
Just remember it’s fine to be a Jill of All Trades and master ALL of them too.
4. It’s Still A Job
Work, being the 4 letter word the it is, is one of those things we’re taught to loathe. We’re either lamenting about working too hard, or trying to find ways to escape the “rat race.” Fortunately for us Boss Babes, we’re working on things that we love. So life is good!
My unpopular opinions: Hard work isn’t the worst thing and work can be hard even when you love it.
There are a bunch of flowery quotes that suggest “if you love what you do it won’t ever feel like work.” This suggests that when you have the freedom to choose your path every day is rainbows and sunshine.
NOPE! There are days when work feels exactly like work! Now that’s not to say it can’t be enjoyable or fulfilling. But enjoyable/fulfilling and hard aren’t mutually exclusive. That’s just how it goes when you’re truly committed. When you commit to your business it can be very consuming. It takes up your time, energy and a lot of your mental capacity. It’s a huge undertaking and it is your responsibility to keep it successful.
Many of us enjoy problem solving. That’s part of the appeal of running your own business to some. So yes, it’s what we want it to be in that regard. That doesn’t mean it can’t be difficult, or tiring or even stressful at times.
Don’t run away just yet, though. Hard work shouldn’t scare you, especially hard, fulfilling work. You can still do it!
Listening to your consumers is a great way to learn about what’s working for your business. Your target audience knows best.
My unpopular opinions: Every criticism of your business isn’t valid and feedback isn’t always welcome.
Some people enjoy giving criticism. But Everyone doesn’t know everything. They have all of the knowledge in the world about how they would do abc if xyz was true. But here’s the thing, they’re NOT doing it, you are.
Be careful about whose criticisms you take and how you internalize what they’ve said. Every comment about your business is NOT law. You do not have to change your entire operation because of one person’s opinion, but there may be gems among all of the unwelcome information you receive.
Learn to “eat the fish and spit out the bones.”
There is no one direct path to success. We can take cues from other successful people for sure, but even that won’t be a guarantee. Spend more time focusing on what you are trying to accomplish than obsessing about trying to figure out the “blueprint.” You’ve already made the right decision by deciding to take the leap. Trust yourself and keep it going!