As you guys might now, I’m an all-out fan of anything that explains our funny, irrational human behavior.
Which is why when I saw the revised and expanded edition of Predictably Irrational (you can get some free sample chapters here) in hard cover for $8 at Mr. K’s, I snatched it up like a hungry bird who missed his alarm clock goes after the first worm of the day.
Which is also why I read it before bed almost every single night and just can’t seem to put it down.
It’s full of interesting discussion material for those of us nerds who like to dissect how survival instincts make us total idiots in the real world… but as someone who’s facing some pretty monumental shifts in her business, the chapter on Keeping Doors Open was hugely insightful and a little bit heart-chaffing.
The subtitle of the chapter is “Why Options Distract Us from Our Main Objective.”
Which, if you’ve ever decided you needed to close one door of your business in order to open another—even if that new door is more enjoyable and more profitable—you know how hard it can be.
We hate to close out potential opportunity, especially when that opportunity has proven itself to provide really, really well for us.
The chapter mentions dating and finding a mate, and career-wise it mentions keeping your options open should something happen somewhere that’s less than ideal. Making sure you’ve always got a Plan B and Plan C, if you will. (And maybe a D, E, and F.)
It makes sense from a survival standpoint, but it counter-intuitively also means that we can’t pursue what’s absolutely best for us.
Our time and mental energy are limited currencies. So any of that currency we spend keeping one door open means it’s currency we can’t spend going towards something that’s actually way more beneficial for us.
And there was a quote in that chapter that I just loved. So much that I shared it with my business mentoring group instantly upon reading it:
“We have an irrational compulsion to keep doors open. It’s just the way we’re wired. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to close them. Think about a fictional episode: Rhett Butler leaving Scarlett O’Hara in Gone with the Wind, in the scene when Scarlett clings to him and begs him, ‘Where shall I go? What shall I do?’ Rhett, after enduring too much from Scarlett, and finally having his fill of it, says, ‘Franky, my dear, I don’t give a damn.’ It’s not by chance that this line has been voted the most memorable in cinematographic history. It’s the emphatic closing of a door that gives it wide-spread appeal. And it should be a reminder to all of us that we have doors—little and big ones—which we ought to shut.”
That’s good, isn’t it?
Recently I’ve been facing the reality that I need to shut down the offering of one particular service in my business that’s currently my bread and butter. And I’ve been facing it for going on six months now.
For a while, I didn’t shut it down because I had no pipeline coming in.
But now that I have a pipeline and now that I’m empowered with the knowledge of how to build that pipeline up if I need to, there’s really no excuse except for the comfort of the current situation and that it is, in fact, “good enough.”
And I’m coming head-to-head with my own levels of severe irrationality.
Rationally, I know I could have made this shift six months ago, been fully booked with my ideal work, making more of an impact for my clients, have a wonderful pipeline built up, and be making more money.
But… I haven’t done it yet.
And I don’t think I’m the only one who sits around in my life boat waiting to reach land even though there’s a huge cruise ship right next to me promising to take me there if all I do is leave my life boat behind and get on board.
What’s even more ridiculous is that cruise ship has things my little life boat doesn’t. Showers, for one. A kitchen and delicious food, for another.
But my life boat is enough, and that’s all my irrationality cares about.
Humanity at its finest, I guess.
So sometimes, when you know you need your ass kicked, you’ve got to hire someone to do it for you.
I knew I was stuck.
I knew I needed my ass kicked into gear and that I wasn’t the one who was going to do it.
So I started looking around for people to do it for me.
Not to offload my own responsibility, but for some danged accountability that you don’t get when you work alone from your home office.
And I’m working on it.
And I’m making a commitment to have those doors closed completely by the end of 2016 so I can start 2017 absolutely rocking it the way I know I could have been for the last six months.
I’m scared shitless, but I’m also excited out of my mind about what’s to come.
What about you? What are some doors you’re having a hard time closing in your business?