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Business Unplugged™
This blog features Carol Roth's tough love on business and entrepreneurship, as well as insights from Carol's community of contributors.

Magic Wand for Entrepreneurs

Written By: Catherine Morgan | 17 Comments

If you’re a regular reader of Business Unplugged™ I’ll bet this is the LAST place that you would go to look for a quick fix. We are all about doing the work, showing up, and achieving mastery, but there is one technique I’ve been using lately that is as effective as a magic wand – or a Staples Easy button. And it is something that anyone can use at any time.

Here it is. (Ready?) Repeat after me:

 “It’s not that freaking hard.”

Insert whatever expletive you want. I like my bourbon on the rocks with no sugary stuff, so I tend to go with the real deal, but flipping, farking, bloody, or fracking (I just made a Babylon 5 fan smile) can work too. The important thing is that you pick one that feels like a bad word and gets an emotional and visceral response.

Why? Not unlike that scene in the movie Risky Business, this exclamation will give you power, freedom, and possibility. Let’s go through a real-life example. 

Have you ever been in a hurry to get somewhere and all of a sudden you can’t find your keys? You know that you JUST had them, you are late, you get flustered and anxious – and then you finally see them. They are on the table right in front of you. But you were agitated so you just couldn’t see them.

OK, so this can happen to you as an entrepreneur a zillion times a day in your business. Every time you need to do something new or uncomfortable (which is pretty much all the time), you run the risk of going blank and not being able to see the thing that is right in front of you.

Recently I had a client call me so excited she could barely get the words out. She had a great opportunity to submit a proposal to a company that was bigger than she normally works with and was listed on the Nasdaq. The company also asked her for a contract, and she knew she would need to send something with more legal language than her standard contract. (They had lawyers on retainer!) How was she going to find something like that and get it to the prospect by tomorrow?

So I jumped in. I consulted with “Lord Google” and in about 15 minutes of clicking links I found a contract that was perfect – valid in the right state, for the services she was offering, and downloadable in a Word file for $20.

Why did I do that for her? She could have searched for it as easily as I could, except for one thing – I wasn’t attached or anxious so I would be able to see it easily. It wasn’t MY project, and I had invoked my magic phrase, “It’s not that freaking hard,” waived my magic wand over my laptop, and voila!

I went into this project with the right mindset. You rarely need to come up with anything from scratch these days. Developing her own contract would have been time-consuming and cost her a fortune back and forth with a lawyer. (She did pay a lawyer friend to review it but that was just an hour or two.)

As an entrepreneur you are often in unchartered territory. Every time you create a service or product, learn a software package, or change a process in your business, you are doing something new and doing something that could potentially set off an anxiety or fear response. Before you dive in, I urge you to take a deep breath and say, “It’s not that freaking hard.”

I think you will find that your life just got a whole lot easier.

So what do you think? Do you think it could work for you? Do you do this (or something like it)? Are you going to try it? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

Article written by
Catherine Morgan is the editor of Business Unplugged ™, an engaging speaker, and the founder of Point A to Point B Transitions Inc., a virtual provider of coaching services to individuals who are in business or career transition. Catherine is the author of the eBook Re-Launch You: Discovering Your Point B and Embracing Possibility. An experienced independent consultant and former employee of three of the former Big Five consulting firms, Catherine combines strategy development with accountability coaching. Her productivity tips and career transition advice have been featured on WGN AM 720 and WIND AM 560 The Answer in Chicago, and on WCHE AM 1520 in the Philadelphia area. Catherine speaks frequently on topics related to productivity, career transition, small business, and entrepreneurship. She doesn’t take herself seriously, but takes her subject matter very seriously.
  • Love this!!! It reminds of something I learned about being really cold. When we are cold, our natural reflex is to tense our bodies. this restricts our blood flow, making it even more difficult to get warm. If we relax and breathe, our blood can circulate and warm us up. 
    Love this post!

  • MichelleDamico

    @PointA_PointB  I can totally relate-We do complicate matters, in our excitement, distress, or just being busy. The world is much simpler than we think.

  • philgerb

    You’re right Catherine – it isn’t that hard. Often a deep breath is all we need to get clarity on a situation. And sometimes the easy part is just remembering we have trusted advisors who we can rely on to make it even easier – if only we will ask for help.

  • I’ll add this to my repertoire! Generally when I feel overwhelmed, I get past my fear by doing something to start. One task leads to another. Thanks for another great post Catherine

  • NacieCarson1

    Great point, Catherine – we overcomplicate things and blow them out of proportion, when really it’s true: most things are simple.  I think your advice is particularly well taken in the context of business relationships. The client/employee/partner/contractor is disrespectful and you always feel overwhelmed energetically by them? Simple: dump them or accept it.  It isn’t complicated. There isn’t gray area. Either it works for you, or it doesn’t. But we are too smart for are own good and see too many layers when really, as you said, it isn’t that hard.

  • PointA_PointB

    @SarahRobinson Thank you so much, Sarah! That info about cold will come in handy here in Chicago really soon. Brrrr. But I’ll try not to clench up 🙂

  • PointA_PointB

    @MichelleDamico  And everything has already been done before. Why reinvent the wheel? See what someone else has done and then tweak and improve.

  • PointA_PointB

    @philgerb You are so right, Phil. Help is a four-letter word – but a good one. And those of us who give advice for a living often have the hardest time asking for it! caroljsroth talks about that all the time.

  • PointA_PointB

    @marylynn3 Great trick that works, Mary-Lynn. Do something small and then build on that momentum.

  • PointA_PointB

    @NacieCarson1 I am a big fan of firing clients that suck your energy dry. When you “dump the duds,” invariably a new awesome client comes in.

  • Any post that quotes Risky Business is good with me.  Your point is so spot-on; I have also found that breaking the panic spiral by watching a funny video or talking to my kids is helpful.

  • CMYKSolutions

    Carol, great thought for a Friday.  My father is fond of saying “don’t sweat the small stuff .  . and by the way. . .  it is ALL the small stuff”   We live in a world that challenges us to stay focussed.   Too many distractions at any moment of the day.  If we can cut through the distractions and focus on what truly matters to US, then we will all be more successful.  

  • PointA_PointB

    @CMYKSolutions Hi Ben, I agree with your father’s quote. Following that advice definitely decreases stress. I am so glad that you enjoyed my post and thank you for sharing your thoughts. 

  • CMYKSolutions

    @PointA_PointB  Thanks Catherine, in the immortal words of Robin Williams “Carpe Diem, Sieze the day boys, sieze the day”:-)

  • In that “moment of panic” (i.e., anxiety, fear), I find it helpful to call a trusted buddy and ventilate what’s going on.  He/she can quickly bring me to clarity so I don’t feel so overwhelmed.  The panic shrinks quickly with the objectivity of an “outside” perspective.  Then I can tackle the task-at-hand full speed ahead. Great article!  Thanks.

  • PointA_PointB

    @TheRelationshipInsider Yes, this can work really well. It can be very effective to get an outside perspective. We can easily fall into the trap of only seeing things one way. Thank you.

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