Do you know what I’ve just done? Of course you don’t, because I haven’t told you yet. I’ve just taken all the half-finished/barely started blog posts and lists of ideas and tucked them away in a folder called “Unfinished posts that you probably won’t go back to”. I almost deleted them, but I wasn’t feeling quite brave enough. Still, being honest with myself and pushing them out of sight, so hopefully out of mind, feels really, really good.
There was nothing wrong with any of those posts. Most of them contained interesting (to my mind, at least) points, useful information, and/or some decent writing. I could have finished them, polished them up, and posted them. I just… didn’t want to.
And if I don’t want to, I don’t have to. Some of those blog posts have been sitting in that folder for years, glaring at me accusingly for not having done anything with them, and I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to realise that it’s totally within my power to make them go away. I’ve been keeping them, thinking that because I spent time on them or because I had planned to post them, then I really should do it. But I don’t have to, and no one can make me.
It’s a perk of working for yourself that I’m not sure we always talk about. Running a business comes with a lot of responsibility, and there are times when we just have to put on our big-person pants and do the crappy thing that needs doing. I never want to do my tax return, for example, but unfortunately I don’t get to opt out of that. But in many areas, and particularly when it comes to marketing ourselves, with great responsibility comes great power. I have the power to say what I’m going to do today, and with that power, I have chosen to write this blog post from scratch instead of finishing one of the many old ones. When I left fixed employment, I left behind having a boss. Nobody gets to tell me what my priorities are now, least of all three-years-ago me who decided that what my blog needed was a slightly complicated post about rates. So buh-bye, rates post. You’ll all never know what wisdom I might have shared. I daresay you’ll survive, and so will I.
Don’t get me wrong: making plans, staying accountable to ourselves, and following through on our ideas is generally a good way of living. But as business owners we also have the freedom to abandon plans that no longer serve us. The burden of guilt is rarely helpful, so if there’s something lying unfinished on your to-do list or plan, either do it, or admit that you’re not going to. Walk away from it and find something you’d rather put your energy into. Do or do not, as Yoda might have said were he my business coach. There is no should.
I’m not sure Yoda would make the best business coach, mind. “Failed, you have. Learn resilience, you shall not. Go and live in a swamp, you must.” Helpful.