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Is This Really Necessary?

“To do two things at once is to do neither.”

-Publilius Syrus

The other day I read that the average person eats about 35 tons of food in their lifetime. So naturally I wondered how many of the tons would ultimately be pizza in my case … and then I had a major epiphany. Why not go ahead and get all the food I’m ever going to need for the rest of my life today? Imagine the hundreds of trips to the grocery store I’ll save over the coming decades! I’ll conquer the world with all my free time! Probably get some sweet bulk discounts too. Maybe this sounds like a ridiculous idea, but look out — you might be falling victim to a similarly misguided life hack attempt right now.

When it comes to buying groceries, it’s easy to make the distinction between what we need and what we need right now. But in more complicated situations - like trying to grow and sustain a business - what we actually need, in what quantity and when may not be quite so obvious. How many times in the past day/hour/thirty seconds have you been hit with a message telling you something is necessary for the success/growth/survival of your business? I don’t know about you, but if I had a nickel for every time … let’s just say I’d be hanging out with Beyonce while we compare our (astonishingly similar) piles of nickels.

Of course we all want our business to succeed, so we and our overachieving best intentions dive right into everything we’re told is necessary to make that happen. We shell out for all the seminars, books, coaches, consultants, sophisticated accounting software, social media ads, a new website and a list of 10,000 leads … only to end up overwhelmed and wondering where all our nickels went.

The problem is, when we over-commit to too many “necessary” things at once, we don’t get the chance to implement all of them (or any of them!) properly. Or maybe we make hasty decisions and waste time correctly implementing things that turn out to be not-so-necessary after all. Either way, we don’t end up getting the added value that we hoped - and paid - for.

On the flip side, when we think independently and drill down to figure out what is truly necessary for us and our unique business at this particular moment, we can focus our time and energy on whatever that is to fully achieve the desired results. Additionally, once we’ve maximized the results from successfully utilizing that one must-have product or service, then we’re in the ideal position to see what’s necessary next. We don’t get ahead of ourselves, we don’t get overwhelmed, and we don’t waste our resources. A nickel saved is a nickel earned, people! What - were you thinking pennies? I seriously doubt Beyonce wants to compare penny piles.

The bottom line is this: don’t confuse necessary with necessary now. You need 35 tons of food, but you don’t need 35 tons of food right now.

So. Is this really necessary? Think about it:

  1. Slow your roll. If you’re feeling tempted to over-commit, take a breath. What is necessary right now might be … to figure out what is necessary right now! It’s not always something big, expensive or long-term. Sometimes it’s just coffee.

  2. Trust yourself. You’re the expert on your business. If something doesn’t feel necessary for you right now, then be confident in saying no (or no for now). The people insisting it’s necessary may be genuinely interested in helping you, but they’re also genuinely interested in selling seminars/books/magic crystals.

  3. Zoom in. Once you deem something necessary, give it your full attention. Don’t look ahead (or back). Focus your efforts on the most necessary thing right now, and then later focus on the most necessary thing at that time … and so on.

At the end of the day, building a business is accomplished the same way as eating 35 tons of food — one slice at a time. Bon appétit!

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