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Are you throwing stuff overboard?

It’s a classic, if not overdone scene.

A plane, low on fuel and starved for altitude, flies over the ocean. As far as the eye can see, nothing but water. Her crew hustles to throw unnecessary items off the plane to lighten the load in hopes of gaining altitude and getting a few more miles out of what little fuel remains.

For a struggling business owner, the situation might not seem all that different.

Like a plane empty of unnecessary gear still flies because it has the essentials (thrust from the engines and lift from the wings), the business owner sometimes has to focus on survival strategies that keep them from crashing.

The trouble with working from a survival strategy is that’s all you often accomplish: Survival.

Your goal isn’t to just to keep from crashing, it’s to thrive, to accomplish that big thing that got you into this business in the first place – whatever it might be. It’s tough to see that when you’re barely afloat, but that focus is exactly what you it’ll take to get your business out of that survival mode.

Sure, spending time on the things that will get you over that current bump in the road is important – but if you do nothing else, all you’ll do is barely get over it and then be faced with the next. And another. And they’ll keep coming.

So what do you do? Take some time to think about where you really want to be. If everything worked out perfectly, what would you accomplish? It’s essential to spend time focusing on the long-term. “Where am I going?” is easy to look at as fluff, but that mission/ vision / goals stuff isn’t fluff because it drives everything else when nothing else will.

It tells you who you serve and who you don’t. It tells you what you focus on and what you ignore. It gets you out of bed in the morning when nothing else will. It’s what you talk about when anyone will listen. You know what you’re heart’s in. Admitting it to yourself is the hard part for many, especially you tough guys.

Without that and the focus it brings, your business focuses only on surviving (don’t let the plane crash), rather than cruising at 33,000 ft.

Find your mission and refocus on it

Spend some time over the next few weeks focusing on the real mission you want to accomplish. What got you interested in what you do? What gets you out of bed in the morning, excited to do this work? Cash flow – while critical – isn’t it. Sure, it’s important, but few people get into a line of work solely because of it.

You’ll spend a lot of fuel climbing to cruising altitude, just like a plane does, but you’ll still be interested in the destination once you get there.

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