Being unaware of your true effective capacity as an individual and as a company is deadly. If the leader of the company overestimates his capacity, he’ll flood his company with unrealistic expectations, fantasy projects, and vague goals that will cripple the productivity, morale, and power of the team, and himself. This is horrible self-sabotage that most established owners face. This is both a problem and an opportunity. If you overcome this issue, you’ll achieve an operational edge over your competitors who all struggle with this issue – which is like all of them. So listen up if you want to get ahead.
Long before you even set a goal, start any project, or decide what and how much can be done, long before you’re choosing a marketing strategy, you’re operating on an estimate of your work capacity. By capacity, I mean the total amount of work you, your team, and the company can perform, recover from and adapt positively to over a given time period. Getting this right is an essential skill for any business owner.
Below is a laundry list of the real-world problems and conditions owners will face as a result of over-estimating work capacity. I struggled with many of them at one time or another, and didn’t see the connection to this one habit, and it caused me to pull the ripcord and go fulltilt into my own #offmode and almost cost me everything. I don’t want it to happen to you. But… you damn sure need to be aware of what eating it looks, feels and sounds like if you want to avoid it.
When you get it wrong, and over-estimate your capacity for work, and most owners, leaders, and managers are getting this wrong…
As you read them, be thinking “Does this sounds like you right now?”
1. You adopt the “visionary” or “idea man” identity and bullshit your role as if it were a gift or difficult to come up with ideas. If you have this identity, you’re basically declaring that you think but you don’t have the integrity to actually do shit. And you’re probably miserable, depressed and unfulfilled. That’s the body’s natural response to not doing anything. This is the wake-up call that desire and effort are completely off balance.
2. You set unrealistic expectations for yourself and your company and fail to hit that standard.
3. You flood your personal and company-wide schedule with projects and tasks that cannot be completed in the timelines you set. When everything is a back to back sprint, you have a serious problem.
4. People lose faith in your leadership and the quality of your work.
5. You are not viewed as a leader by your family, your team, or your customers.
6. You feel overwhelmed, overworked and constantly behind.
7. There is no time for growth or development, personal or professional.
Then things get more complicated…
8. To cope, you start succumbing to subconscious marketing efforts that instill false beliefs. You start believing garbage like
- You can have it all. Do it all. Be it all. All at once. You just have to hustle hard, put in “the hours” and use the power of The Secret. Without trade-offs. Capacity is limitless.
- You alone, your company alone is not enough…you need…more…of everything.
- The solution exists outside of yourself – this is well received as good news because it means that you’re not responsible for the problem. You just haven’t found the right “button” or solution yet.
- Easy buttons exist. A mythical creature of true turnkey solutions that transform your business at the touch of a button
- There is ONE thing, Only this ONE thing that holds you back…and when you address it, your problems will disappear.
9. You declare 100% tactical position as your strategy and as a result
- You focus on doing all the fun parts of work –
- shopping for marketing solutions (not implementing them well)
- Attending conferences and networking events
- Managing” your team – usually, this manifests as micromanaging, to help you further procrastinate facing the issues on your plate.
- You spend no time planning or doing anything strategic beyond shopping for easy button marketing gimmicks.
- You write nothing down, no process, no clear instructions, nada. So you end up repeating yourself constantly and getting frustrated when questioned.
And Then This Is What Happens…
10. The quality of your deliverables and work product suffer. Customers / Clients complain and their satisfaction and loyalty suffer and some leave, others are open to change if the opportunity should come their way.
11. You have no time to address the other needs of the business.
12. You have no time to strategize or to think let alone meet with your team
13. You claim “planning is for pussies” and “meetings are waste of time” even though all of your arguments can be destroyed if challenged but you conveniently have no time to hear them out.
14. You adopt a 0 tolerance policy for challenge and confrontation because your ego and identity as a leader have become so fragile because they are built on a throne of lies you tell yourself, not actions and results. If you’re triggered by reading this, maybe check-in with yourself, and hear it as a call to arms to step up your game.
15. You feel exhausted and burned out every day because your pacing for work is always a perpetual sprint.
16. You don’t have the time to stop and see the whole board. You can’t see the game, because you’re so overwhelmed by it.
17. Outsiders begin to offer you help. Your wife hears how things are going and offers to help and sees that you need it. YEAH, I SAID IT. How can you be the man or be seen as the man when your wife is more willing to step up than you are? If that sounds vaguely relatable, you’re in a good place to start turning it all around. You’re aware and ready to start fixing it.
18. The family unconsciously senses a power vacuum, and regularly tests you to take control and command of the household. Your wife, your kids, maybe your parents, your dog too. They may all start arguing with you, or you just find yourself snapping at them, triggering their defensiveness and inevitable bitter feelings. These are primal signals that let you know it’s past time to address these issues.
19. You go to couples counseling, forcing you to confront more personal issues when you’re already overwhelmed. Your wife and counselor wonder why you don’t make progress towards resolving them, while still failing to grant you any grace for the problems you face.
The world demands you fight on all fronts, even when you’re exhausted and brought to the edge.
And, If You Still Don’t Do Anything, This is What Ends Up Happening: YOU burn it all down. Here’s how:
20. The talented people leave and the churning of the team further hinders your effectiveness.
21. You lose good clients. You get no referrals.
22. Your business downsizes or goes under.
23. Your wife goes back to work or increases her work hours. She takes on the head of the household status, maybe not all at once but over time. The kids don’t ask you questions. They ask mom. They know who’s in charge.
24. While you either or simultaneously try to rebuild things or consider looking for a new job.
25. Fed up and sick of your own shit, feeling emasculated, you’re likely to project and blame everyone else, rather before you step up and take responsibility. This is where divorce happens – not that anyone wants it to. DON’T LET IT GET THIS BAD. Take ownership now.
The Bottom Line: It’s all too easy to over-estimate what you can do, then overwhelm yourself with too much. And that’s what makes it so lethal.
It’s never been so easy to flood our thoughts with ideas and overwhelm ourselves with crippling anxiety. The era of “if you can dream it, you can do it” without exception is over. The digital age has made it so that our thoughts outpace what our hands are capable of by leaps and bounds.
Thoughts and ideas come easy, cheap and at lightning speeds. Declaring a goal is equally free, especially when there is no time for accountability. Because these concepts and ideas are so quick and easy to come up with, leaders are easily fooled into believing that actually getting things done is relatively just as easy as coming up with them.
The new speed of thought and ideas all fool you into forgetting the space-time continuum of required actions, steps, considering likely hurdles, hang-ups, and challenges that you’ll need to overcome in order to reach the mystical land of “done”.
The land of done is the land of progress and achievement.
Much of the rest is noise and hype -that clogs your brain, steals your time, energy attention for the land of make-believe. That’s not a vision you’re holding if it changes moment to moment. You’re not a visionary. Bitch slap yourself and trusted loved ones who claim to be visionary idea guys – but never actually achieve or do anything.
Are you ready to get the help you need to hold yourself accountable and turn this thing around?
Are you tired of overpromising and under-delivering in work and life?
Are you ready to get out of the cycle and Get Heroik? If so, let’s chat and see how we can get you on a better path.