The War of Art, by Stephen Pressfield has changed my workday. This small book, with one page chapters, tackles the problem we all face: fighting ourselves to get our best work out into the world, instead of putting it off, or finding other things to do instead. If you are in business for yourself, I think this should be the next thing you read. It really made that much difference for me.
In a nutshell, this book is about Resistance. That which keeps us from moving forward. Procrastination is the classic form of resistance, but this book explains that it also comes in much more subtle forms as well, all designed to keep us in mediocrity. It comes in the form of small voices in the back of your mind, telling you that you really don’t have what it takes to run a business. Or well-meaning colleagues and family members who tell you that you should probably try to find a real job, instead of going it alone. Rationalization is a strong form of Resistance, probably because it has elements of truth.
But what this book teaches is that if you just sit down and get to work, miracles occur. Your business plan starts to take form, new clients show up and all of a sudden, people ask if they can work with you. And it’s all because you battled Resistance and won. In referring to a quote by Somerest Maugham, Pressfield writes ” Maugham reckoned another, deeper truth: that by performing the mundane physical act of sitting down and starting to work, he set in motion a mysterious but infallible sequence of events that would produce inspiration, as surely as if the goddess had synchronized her watch with his. He knew if he built it, she would come.”
This book helped me see that some of the work I do was keeping me from accomplishing the most important work that would move my business forward. So once I was able to see it as a form of resistance, I removed it. I have a weekly staff meeting with myself on Monday mornings to get my head in the game and see what needs to be accomplished by Friday. I cross off my assignments as I complete them and challenge myself with sales calls to keep me focused on growing my business. When you run your own business, you are often so busy dealing with the urgent that you don’t take care of the important.
This little book gives you a tool to move your business forward. I hope it helps you.