Learning to take the path of least resistance
In the past, I have not taken the path of least resistance. I tend to be stubborn (ok, a major control freak!) and I don’t like to be told what to do. When an idea, system, process or even a decision was put before me, sometimes my contrary nature would come up and I would think that I would do it my way. I thought I could do it better. Let me tell you there are many, many hours of my life that I will never get back. I didn’t need to reinvent the wheel.
It took a lot of work for me to let this go but once I did, I was free. Honestly, it is amazing when I don’t have to spend hours trying to figure something out, recreating something that is good or actually letting what is be ok. It also saves me a massive amount of energy – being the one holding on to every little thing is exhausting.
Trying to reinvent the wheel may be costing you money
In one of my businesses instead of just letting a pre-written email be sent out monthly to my database, I thought I could do it better! So every month I would go in, delete all the contacts, then wait for the email that I would then rewrite it in my words and send it out – it makes me tired just thinking about it. I did it for a few months: I would just delete the contacts and write the email. Guess what? It didn’t happen.
One day, a colleague told me the results they were getting from the pre-written email. (Really I couldn’t just let it go and send the damn email?) I still didn’t make it happen thinking I could do it better – yet I wasn’t doing it at all! Finally, I let it happen and the first month it went out, I got six calls and every month it goes I hear from a few people, all of which turns into business for me. I try not to think about the disservice I did to my clients by not letting it happen sooner, how I was just being stubborn, and it cost me money
Focus on what matters
This doesn’t mean that I just do what is put in front of me, that I just do what others tell me or use what is easy – I have to be ok with it, and I have standards. It does mean I really think about it before I decide to take something on. I have a set of questions I ask myself.
Do I honestly care about this enough to invest money in having a different look, flow or system?
This came into question recently. Our online learning platform did an upgrade, and we had to change the look of our site. If we wanted to continue with the way it was, it would have cost thousands of dollars to upgrade it. Speaking with my partner, we decided we really were not attached to the look and we would go with one of the themes. It is not perfect, yet we love how it looks now.
Do I really care enough to invest the time to have it different?
Again, the same website brought this up for us. For the new look, I had to invest time to make it happen or spend the money on the old site. We wanted a new look and was ok with giving it the time it needed. So it was a combination of both; we used a template, and I put in the time to make it what we wanted.
Can I honestly make it better? Do I care enough to do that?
When I ask this question, I usually come up with the answer of no. If I have to ask the question, I am already one step closer to just using it. If I don’t like something or I think it’s, crap my reaction is I will do something different. If I don’t have that reaction, it is usually ok to go with it. I know I am weird in some ways.
The fundamental one: Do I care?
If my name is on it, yes I care and I will make sure it works for me. If I don’t really care, I just let it go. The reforming control freak in me wants to control everything and this is a conversation I have in my head.
Sometimes the key is to let it go
Bottom line is the path of least resistance is a way to just let go, to take time for you instead of trying to control everything around you.
In the beginning, I had to count in my head. Before I would react to something, I would count to 10 as many times as I needed so my reaction would not be explosive. (A little background, one of my business partners use to call me Nitro – I would explode at ideas and suggestions, they knew to throw them at me, let me blow up and then a few hours later, I could talk about it. I look back at that now and honestly I don’t like the way it makes me feel.)
Now I don’t react nearly as much – I am still me and yes I still react– I also ask the questions. I honestly don’t care about things nearly as much as I once did – I just ask the questions and see what the answers are.
Sometimes it is just easier to do what is easy. It took me a long time to learn this.
Where do you need to take the path of least resistance?