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American novelist Mary O'Connor reminds us why the bee is praised, but the mosquito swatted. Discover how to make sure the work you do brings you closer to your dream, instead of being slapped down by failure.

 

If you're anything like me, you have the shelves filled with amazing, highly recommended books that you've never read. And you've bought courses from some of the top experts in your field, and you haven't finished them. And some you haven't even started yet.

 

Like many entrepreneurs – especially those needing to wear the owner hat, the website builder hat, the email manager hat, the social media, content creator, advertising, marketing, and more hats – I have gotten trapped in a learning vortex.

 

And the problem is there's so much to learn and so many moving pieces, that it is all easily justifiable to stay a student while never making progress towards your dream… towards what you're actually seeking to build.

 

Drowning in Safety

I was swimming – I was probably closer to drowning in this learning vortex. For example, I wanted to launch a product. So I bought a course and I began to study. And during the course, I realized I needed to build my email list so I had people to serve with my product.

 

So I pause the product launch course to learn how to build an email list. And when I was doing that, I realized, oh, there's two more things that I need. I need to build an audience that can be turned into a list. And I need to learn how to use some kind of email management software so that I can consistently send content to my list.

 

And sometimes that all felt overwhelming, like there was so much to learn and figure out.

 

But really, most of the time it felt safe.

 

I was doing things that would help my business. But I was never having to face the really scary parts, like rejection.

 

Why Being Busy Can Be Bad

Then after doing that for a bit, I had a coaching session with my mentor. And he started making some great suggestions. But I began to get frustrated with myself because I realized our conversation was not moving me to where I really wanted to go. Sure it was moving me where I told my mentor I wanted to go. But it wasn't right. Because I just wasn't sure. And I wasn't being honest with myself.

 

So the topic changed to focus on what it was that I really wanted.

 

And I pulled out my most recent vision for my future business. And I used that as a benchmark for our conversation. And once I did that the answers came quickly. The final 20% of our conversation, easily produced my direction.

 

But I was still worried I would get stuck in the learning vortex again. So I asked about these other pieces like building my email list, or creating content, or figuring out how to do email marketing.

 

And the answer was simple.

 

I only needed to focus on those things at the immediate time I needed them, and to the extent that they served my ultimate vision.

 

The three months following that conversation with my mentor, or more productive and created more real forward momentum in my business than the eight months prior. And because my focus is now intentional, my life holds better balance.

 

See there is a difference between the bee and the mosquito. Remember American author Mary O'Connor stated, “it's not so much how busy you are, but why you are busy. The bee is praised. The mosquito is swatted.”

 

So the lesson to take away from this if you want to stay focused on your goals if you need help having the discipline to continue working on your goals, you must clearly understand the what and the why of your goals. You must define your ideal future that you're working toward.

 

And that will not happen by accident.

 

Make This Work for You

So here's what I want you to do. I want you to go grab a notepad and a pen, find someplace quiet, where you can take 15 minutes to be free of interruptions and distraction. Just 15 minutes.

 

And I want you to free write, what a day in your ideal future looks like. How does it begin? Who do you spend it with? What does work for that day look like? How does it wrap up?

 

Now, this is just 15 minutes to get started, you can add more later. This is not something that has to be written in stone. It's a living document that you're going to create.

 

The key here is just to get started.

 

Summary

So remember, a lack of focus and discipline on your goals comes from a lack of clarity on how you define your ideal future. If you want to be praised like the bee rather than swatted like the mosquito, you must make sure you understand the purpose behind your actions.

 

And you can improve your focus and discipline with just 15 minutes to start defining your ideal.