If It Hurts, Stop Doing It

Posted by on April 7, 2011 in business, choices, habits | 0 comments

Kid: “Mom, it really hurts when I do this.” (Kid holds elbow in the air and swings hand around)

Mom: “Then STOP DOING THAT!”

When  you are doing something that is causing you pain – in business,  marriage,  health, whatever – it can be ridiculously easy to just keep on doing it while noticing the fact it hurts.

Years ago, I had a job teaching Spanish at a small, private school. It was a k-8 school with no affiliation or trust fund or anything like that. Enrollment had been declining for years, partly because the part of town where it was had gone downhill and partly because the administrators flatly refused to make any changes.

It took a while for me to realize just how committed to “doing things the way we’ve always done them” these folks were. In fact, I spent the first six months or so asking questions, making suggestions and being yelled at for thinking of changing anything about the Spanish program.

Every year on Grandparents’ Day, there was a performance in which each of the Spanish classes would put on a skit or sing a song. They had been using the same program since the first year they had a Spanish teacher. Exactly. The. Same. Show.

Need I actually type the words “the school ended up closing due to lack enrollment?” Because, of course, that’s what happened. There were obviously far more factors involved in the eventual shuttering than the worn out Grandparents’ Day program. The yearly rehashing of exactly the same show was a symptom of a much deeper refusal to change.

If something isn’t working, start tweaking. Change is scary, but not as scary as what could happen if you don’t change. If your marketing efforts aren’t making the phones ring, try something else. Evaluate. Plan. Adjust. Repeat.

Is there something you do on a regular basis that hurts? (Besides paying taxes. We all already know how painful that can be!) Maybe you cringe every time you rent an expensive booth at a trade show because you simply do not see the return on your investment. Maybe you spend hours writing blog posts that have never brought you new business. Where does it hurt? How can you change it?

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