As an entrepreneur, there is never a want for things to do. Your task list is endless, and the demands on your time are ceaseless. There is a trap that hides within our everyday busyness. We trick ourselves into finding comfort in activity while failing to focus on results. 


When things are tough, which they are for most, we try to outwork that difficulty. That is a fallacy, a trap. Somehow, we find comfort in busyness and activity. When facing challenges, we dig in and work harder. We violate the boundaries between work life and home life. We stay up later and get up earlier. Our weekends just blur into the week. This frenetic pace erodes our efficacy. We feel depleted and frustrated, and what we strive for doesn’t appear any closer. We aren’t making progress; we are just wearing down. 


I worked for the same person for nearly twenty years. He was tough on me, but one of his great lessons was never to confuse activity with results. It doesn’t matter how many hours we work, what emails we respond to, spreadsheets we create. What matters is results. In so many cases, we wear that activity like a security blanket. We wrap ourselves in the comfort, groundedness, and surety that we mistake that activity to be. All the while, that busyness is pulling us away from the things that matter. 


What is important to you and everyone working with you isn’t the output but rather the outcome. You must break free from the false narrative that you can outwork any obstacle. Stop spending so much time on the banalities of your job. Leverage automation, workflows, and AI to get that stuff off your plate. Don’t do things just to do them. It serves no purpose. 


Everything above is common sense. But, this activity fallacy is insidious. It’s hard to recognize when you’ve fallen prey to its long-reaching tentacles. That recognition and awareness can mean the difference between succeeding or failing as an entrepreneur. It is that impactful. 


There is no easy way to avoid this trap. It’s like not thinking when you are trying to mediate. It is almost reflexive. My practice is to get in the habit of asking myself that internal question. “Right now, am I confusing activity with results?” If the answer is yes, I stop what I am doing and examine if it is something that needs to be done. If it does, maybe not by me, and certainly not now.


Of late, I’ve been writing and speaking a lot about the importance of resilience. Pulling yourself out of the rabbit hole of activity is foundational to building personal resilience. 


As I mentioned above, things are tough, and this is a challenging journey, even in the best of times. Every hour you have, every bit of bandwidth you can offer, all the fortitude you can muster is what it takes to succeed in this business. You can’t afford to get swept away by tasks. 


Don’t confuse activity with results. You and everyone on your team should know exactly what needs to be accomplished, and every hour and every element of focus should be laser-guided toward achievement. 

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