You know those times in life when you have to do something you really don’t want to? Maybe it’s some seemingly irrelevant analysis in excel, or a 5 hour drive with someone you’re not super fond of.
We all have lots of things in our lives that aren’t very fun. And, in entrepreneurship, that is probably even more true. Many times founders are the ones doing the grunt work up until the company hits a certain point. This could mean doing data entry for a lead gen project, or washing the dishes someone left in the sink. The glamorous lives of startups!
In fact, a lot of a founder’s day is stuff they have to do. Write an eBook, send a newsletter, do a demo, follow up with all the people you met at the event last night, check in on an existing customer…the list goes on and on. And, honestly, sometimes it’s super overwhelming. Sometimes you’re thinking to yourself “there are so many things I HAVE TO DO!”
A “Get to” Attitude
If I was smart, the title of this article would be “the one change that will make you so much happier at work.” I really think with a slight change in perception, things get a bit more fun and exciting.
Instead of a “I have to do this” mentality, you should be adopting an “I get to” do this attitude! You don’t HAVE to do that excel analysis, you GET to do it and are now more facile with excel, gained insights into whether or not it’s worth it to do the analysis, got to challenge yourself a bit (even if it’s just to see how fast you can do it), etc.
Adopting a grateful mindset is a proven way to be more happy. If you don’t think this is true, I challenge you to spend 2 full minutes right now thinking about the things you are grateful for and really think about them. Even if it’s as simple as “I’m so grateful for a warm cup of coffee” or “I love how this pair of sweatpants feels” it will make you happier almost instantly.
The Sports Analogy
I remember watching an interview with Charlie Rose and Gary Player a while back. Gary is an incredible golfer and Charlie asked him why he was so good. Gary responded that he enjoys the challenge of being in a bad situation.
This means that when Gary hits his ball into a bunker, his attitude is not “damnit, now I have to figure out how to get this ball out of the bunker and not overshoot the green or else I’m going to lose this tournament!” No, his attitude is something more like “Ok, now I get to challenge myself. I get to figure out this problem, and get better at figuring out these sorts of problems from here on out.”
Obviously, this “get to” attitude is tough to internalize. This is especially true if you’re working 100 hours a week as a resident, or an ibanker, or whatever. It’s also tough as an entrepreneur who’s focused so closely on building a company while not straying too close to the sun.
However, I think it’s an awesome way to get over the nature of work – which is that a lot of it kind of sucks and no one wants to really do the hard things. But that right there is a reason to do them – you’re doing the things no one else wants to do, and therefore are gaining an advantage on your competition. Or, maybe your rational is that you get to provide for your family, or get to gain a new skill, or get to live in the first world where we have so many advantages.
Whatever you do with your days – whether it’s golf or entrepreneurship – try out a “get to” attitude, especially when you find yourself overwhelmed with what you have to do. I hope it brings you more satisfaction and happiness in whatever it is you’re pursuing.
As a disclaimer, someone in my travels framed this “get to” attitude for me – it’s how they try to live their life. I totally forget who and in what context, but they deserve any credit for this idea which has stayed in my brain ever since.