Today we are sharing a psychological strategy that we have picked up from our own entrepreneur journey, as well as the journey we've seen from our clients. When entrepreneurs start their business there are two roads to take. The first, is an idealistic approach. There are lots of broad ideas that come with big visions that are difficult to implement. Also known as, the masterplan! Secondly, is the entrepreneur who has narrower ideas, which are focused. They have a clear understanding of where to begin and they break their bigger projects down into smaller ones. When this happens, something extraordinary happens!
The way you feel throughout your workday equates to your performance
We empathize with the entrepreneur journey because of how difficult it is to achieve the end goals. A business owner wears many different hats and is responsible for all the moving parts within their organization or startup. With so much to do, the failures begin to stack up. As the setbacks pile up, negative emotions naturally take control of how you feel, which leads to a decrease in performance. This can lead to a downward spiral that can run you out of business. The good news is that you can replace the negative emotions with positive ones and get back on track.
Win Small and Often
The big takeaway from this is to win small and win often. This is the winning formula that will keep you motivated and moving forward and is the best way to drive innovation. It's called the progress principle, which states that of all the things that can boost emotions, motivation, and perceptions during a workday, the single most important is making progress in meaningful work. For Instance, I was recently working on several e-flyers that I spent significant time working on. The program had issues and I lost my work completely. I felt frustrated, sad, and in a bad mood. I had to take a break before starting from scratch again. Eventually, I finished my work and felt an immediate rush of happiness. I felt accomplished and probably more than anything just glad it was over. Consequently, it gave me the energy and mindset to move on to my next project.
The way you feel throughout your workday directly dictates your work effectiveness and efficiency. According to Harvard Business Review, "The Power of Small Wins", the data clearly shows that your worst days are when you have setbacks at work, and your best days are associated with meaningful progress. Even small wins can make a big difference in how you feel about your workload and approach your projects.
As a small business owner you can have more influence on yourself and your employees, and increase motivation, creativity, productivity, and quality. Set yourself up for small wins by breaking down your work into smaller bites and grow your business faster while increasing your chance for survival in a competitive landscape. The energy from one small win leads to the second, third, and so on. It truly works! Think about this the next time you accomplish something meaningful to you, even if it's small. It's important to point out that the work needs to be meaningful to you. We all want to be challenged, given the freedom to be creative, and empowered to make impactful decisions. When we connect with our work in a passionate way it allows us to see a greater purpose. You have the ability to switch the way you think and feel about your workload and responsibilities. Instead of looking at the entirety of a project, try breaking it down into segments, so that one project turns into four or five mini projects. This really is the secret sauce.
The Ceramics Experiment
Big wins are awesome. Unfortunately, they're also rare. That's why small wins matter. I remember hearing a story about a ceramics teacher who conducted an experiment with her students. She broke the class down into two groups. She instructed one group to focus on making something special. Taking all the time they needed to research, prepare and construct one piece of the highest quality possible. On the other hand, the other group was told to create ceramic pieces in volume. They took less time to prepare and jumped in almost immediately creating as many pieces in the same amount of time as group one. The outcome might surprise you. Not only did the group who focused on volume create many more pieces, they also created higher quality projects. That's because the second group was able to learn from each piece they previously made and improve on the next attempt. The constant iteration process allowed them to be more efficient and effective. That's incredible! The small wins kept them in the mental zone to achieve greatness. They were also able to learn faster since they could analyze their work along the way.
Steps to achieve small wins more often
1. Break down big projects into smaller ones. For example, break down a project that takes 25 units to complete into 3-4 units at a time.
2. Take action and just do it. Spend less time thinking about a masterplan
3. Learn. What went right, what went wrong.
4. Iterate. Take those new insights and make the appropriate changes to your product or service.
5. Move on. Learn from you customers and move on to the next project.
That's a Wrap
Over the last couple years we've noticed our clients and followers are so incredibly talented and uniquely creative. You hustle and grind and are always improving on your work and projects. It becomes crystal clear that you want to create a better quality of life for yourself as well as those around you in the community. Sadly, your passion for your work will only carry you so far before you hit a wall. We all have good and bad days. The difference now is that you can have better days more often by following this powerful strategy and go for small wins often.
Thanks for reading!