I’m Busy Because… I Work Because…

If anyone recalls the moving Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, where Fat Bastard said “I eat because I’m unhappy. I’m unhappy because I eat“.

If you indulge me, let me start by saying that Fat bastard reminds me of what I say my fellow business owner regularly say – “I’m very busy” or “We are very busy.”

So, what’s my point? Do we say this because we need to justify our significance and success by ensuring people see us as being busy or is it a competitive need that we need to be at the top of the food chain because others are not as busy as we are? Maybe, but I don’t think so. What I do think is that there are two important reasons why the “busy” word always surfaces:

First, when someone asks me how my business is doing, I always respond by saying “very busy,” to which they respond in turn saying, “being busy is a good thing.” It’s no different when I ask any other business owner about how their business is doing. Can you imagine if someone asked you how your business was doing and you responded by saying “not that busy”? Most would respond by asking if “the economy” has affected your business or if you were “having difficulties finding new business.” In many cases, people would probably think to themselves that your business has challenges and is not doing very well. Consequently, we now have no choice but to always say we are busy, otherwise face the consequences of being judged through false interpretation.

The second reason is probably the most important reason and what I will focus on for the rest of this article. Other than us saying we are “busy” in order to naturally guard against potential risk from negative and false impressions from others, the main reason I think we are always “busy” is because we are too busy…novel thought!

We are far too busy not because we particularly want to justify our value as business owners and business; we are busy because of our constant failure at the most significant obligation we have as entrepreneurs. This obligation is our ability to balance the usage of our time. Time working on the “everyday stuff” in our businesses (which is the “busy” most of us think of) and time we need to plan and build our business infrastructure, so we don’t continue to overwhelm ourselves each and every day.

As such, we are busy because we work, and continue to work relentlessly because we’re so busy. Another way to look at this is we work because we are busy, but remain busy continuously because we work on the day-to-day stuff that honestly never really goes away.

Our ability to not only build this skill-set, so we are finally able to be released by the “busy bug” but to finally stop and take a breath and see our business for what it is, not at the ten-thousand-foot level but from the sixty-thousand-foot level. It is essential that we discipline ourselves so that we realize the need to build systems and processes that allow us to move away from the day-to-day tasks of our business and move to being the architect of business.

Once we can achieve this, we may be able to start being comfortable responding differently. When others ask how our business is doing, instead of saying “very busy”, you can say “my business is very busy, but I’m not”.