How Doing the Dishes Changed My Business
From the laundry to the yard, it seems as though we all have that one chore in our lives that feels impossible to tackle. For me, that one chore has always been the dishes. My kitchen looked like a tornado regularly visited and deposited dirty, crusted, and disgusting dishes on every available surface. I’d go through phases where I’d be able to keep up for a day, maybe two, or I’d focus on learning a new method from an article or video and give that a go. Having a clean kitchen has long been a symbol of being on top of my work, a visual representation that I could manage myself and my life responsibly. Yet, for nearly 20 years, no matter how much I tried to change at the end of each day, all the dishes were still dirty, and I felt defeated. One day, about five months ago, I was working with a coach of mine, and we started talking about how the word NEED isn’t productive, and she challenged me to replace it with the word CAN instead. It was a revelation to my mind, one I immediately began applying to the dishes. I realized that I was telling myself in a very judgmental way that I need to do the dishes to be successful, so I started saying "I can do the dishes." I would love to say it was an overnight success, but once again, after a few days, I crashed and burned out on saying, “I can do this.” I once again found myself staring at a kitchen full of dirty dishes each night as I started to prepare for dinner. I was determined to make a change this time, but I didn’t know where or how that change would come about, and one night it hit me like lightning. I was standing in a kitchen full of dirty dishes after dinner, as I did each night, and for some reason, on this night, I said out loud to myself, “Megan, do you have to do the dishes right this moment? Can you do them in the morning when you have more energy?” The answer, YES, resounded in my head like a gong.
I stepped away from the sink and returned to it the next morning. Low and behold, and I did the dishes without any resistance from my mind or heart. I tackled each sinkful while I waited for my coffee to brew, then I rewarded myself with a nice leisurely coffee break and marveled at what just happened. Why was this chore so easy today when I had been mentally fighting it for nearly two decades? It was easy because I’d finally allowed myself to tackle this chore when I was prepared to tackle it. It was my eureka moment. I hadn’t failed all these years to do the dishes because I hated doing the dishes. I stumbled because I kept trying to do my chores someone else’s way. When I let go of the self-imposed trap of doing the dishes the old way, I freed myself up to succeed.
So now I get to how this realization has fundamentally changed my business. After an entire week of keeping up with the dishes, I started looking at other areas of my life where I saw procrastination rearing its ugly head. When it came to my business, I saw myself putting off working on my business. I was OK working in my business and provide services to my clients, but working on my business seemed to be the same monster of a task that the dishes used to be. Everything from keeping up with the books to marketing my new services made me feel deflated, which lead to me staying stagnant in business. Like the dishes, when I started paying attention to how I imposed unnecessary restrictions on myself in business, I realized I needed to find new ways to work. When it came to working on my business, I would try and squeeze time between things rather than provide time on my calendar. So I began applying my newfound knowledge around doing tasks at the optimal moment—the moment when I had enough time and energy to focus myself. I asked myself how and when I wanted to tackle my to-dos, and I searched for more optimal times to be productive. I then made sure I leverage those times for my business. What happened next? I found myself being excited about sitting down to work on my business so it can grow. I look forward to each day because working on my business will move me to my goals, and I'm only doing it when I want to do it now. I'm saying I can do my business rather than I need my business.
By tackling a life-long nemesis, the dishes, what I’d stumbled upon was something I'd heard before, and that is that old methods won't open new doors. When I allowed myself to be me and do things when and how I desired to, I was free. When I became free, my business no longer seemed too big, nor did I feel like I would be a statistical failure like many other small businesses. I began to see that when I took the right actions at the right time, everything just fell into place like a well-rehearsed orchestra. Now I find myself full of excitement and energy. New ideas flow, new members arrive, and I feel that I’m finally on track to success.
Are you feeling restricted in your business? Then I challenge you to look at your own work and think about where you could change things so you feel more aligned with how you want to work. I promise you if you seek to find new, more aligned ways to work, you will feel free to succeed as I do with my dishes and business.