I love a good challenge. I like testing myself to see what I am capable of. Never was that more clear than when I decided to launch my own advertising agency in 2016.
Suddenly I wan’t just responsible for my own work, or for the creative department that I oversaw. I was responsible for absolutely everything that happens at The Weaponry, my advertising and ideas agency.
Jumping In The Deep End
I quickly had to learn if I was capable of running operations, business development, customer service, human resources, production, accounting and the creative department at the same time. Which is a bit like walking and whistling and juggling gum on spinning plates at the same time.
I discovered, that like you, I am capable of a lot more than I had been doing. I discovered new strengths. I found that I enjoy addressing late payments, shopping for business insurance, and establishing leases in multiple states. Those broad new tasks have tested me in new and dynamic ways. Better yet, I have passed those test with at least satisfactory grades. And I am proud of that. Because low expectations lead to high satisfaction.
The Bad And The Ugly
But lately I have discovered something I am terrible at. It’s relatively small. But my challenge with it seems worthy of sharing.
I am terrible at calling people when they say call me anytime!
I have at least 6 people to call who have invited me to call them without stating a specific time slot. And I can’t seem to get traction on these action items.
These are all big dogs. People who I really want to talk to. The list includes 2 company CEOs, 2 company Presidents, and a cheese broker. (I live in Wisconsin, and I have cheese needs).
Here’s what happens:
- I put a tentative time for a phone call on my calendar.
- My day gets hectic (Every day gets hectic).
- I move the call off my calendar to focus on more pressing issues.
- I get a lot accomplished by utilizing that free time.
- The important but not urgent calls slip into the future with Steve Miller.
Important But Not Urgent
I am a huge proponent of the Important But Not Urgent activities. I was first introduced to these activities through Stephen R Covey’s classic book, The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People. (If you haven’t read this it should be your next book. Unless you have to retake your drivers test soon. Then read that little book on driving in your state next.)
Important But Not Urgent activities include the things you don’t have to do today but really should. These are investments in a better life, and greater success. Things like networking, relationship maintenance, exercise, planning for the future and applying deodorant.
So Now What?
I know having these invited but unscheduled calls are important. But I haven’t developed the proper skill, habit or muscle to get it done. That being said, I am looking forward to figuring this one out. Because it means I will be turning an area of weakness into an area of strength. Which is the kind of growth I was seeking when I decided to try my hand at entrepreneurship.
No one is good at everything. We all have areas of weakness, ignorance or immaturity. If you want to accomplish great things you have to be okay with that. Your deficiencies can be improved or avoided through hiring and delegation. Which means that your most valuable skill is problem solving. Because problem solving provides the answers to every test. Just ask Felicity Huffman.