Working Harder Is A Trap: How to Write Your Own Job Description

I grew up in southern California, about an hour from the great beaches at Newport and Laguna. The rite of passage for teens in my part of the world was to get your drivers license the day you turned 16, then load up your car with friends and head to the beach.

That’s how we all spent our summer weekends — at the beach. We listened to rock and roll on our transistor radios. We slathered our skin with a combination of baby oil and iodine, to get that perfect tan. We sprayed lemon juice in our hair, because it was supposed to give us natural blond highlights.

But going to the beach wasn’t really about getting a tan.  It was about meeting boys!

I was a good swimmer and enjoyed a brisk dip in the Pacific. But most of my girlfriends didn’t go in the water much. Why? Because if the point of going to the beach was to meet boys, you didn’t want to do that with wet hair.

One late summer day, I broke the first rule of water sports. Tired of being hot and sticky (and not having met any cute boys), I went for a swim.  Alone.

I swam out a ways, kicked around just enough to cool off and looked back to shore. I had a hard time seeing where my friends were perched on their beach towels.

I started swimming toward the beach, kicking and stroking until I was out of breath, but it seemed like I was getting nowhere. I swam harder, until my legs and arms burned. Exhausted, I tread water for a minute, to rest and once again check my bearings. Nothing on the beach looked familiar.

What I did see was the lifeguard station. Flapping on top was a red flag. That flag meant riptide.

Now I was a little scared. I realized I was caught in a strong undercurrent that was pulling me farther out and farther down the beach, no matter how hard I swam.

Once again, I began swimming hard and once again I wore out. As I tread water, a large wave tossed me around and when I surfaced, strangely I ended up next to a young man in the water. Yes, one of those cute boys we’d love to meet. But not this way!

And you know what I did? I very politely asked if I could just rest on his arm for a minute. Now here I am, drowning, and still too prideful to ask for help.

My rest was brief because another wave separated us. And after another hard swim toward the beach and getting nowhere, I finally did what any sane person would have done 30 minutes earlier. I waved my tired arms and yelled for help. The lifeguards, trained to look for fools like me, spotted me, and a big hunk of a guy came out to rescue me.

I learned an important lesson that day: working hard doesn’t always get you where you want to go. Working harder isn’t always the answer.

Sometimes you have to ask for help. Sometimes you have to admit you’re not Superwoman. Darn, I hate it when that happens!

Sometimes, it’s time for a new strategy.

Working with female business owners, I see many women just like me. When the going gets tough, they apply more steam, more will power. When a problem arises, they work harder to solve it. They work until they are exhausted.

The most important thing we need to learn in business is HOW to solve the problems and challenges we face. Working harder isn’t always the answer.

If you are in the weeds (well, not if, but when), instead of applying more steam, do the counter-intuitive thing. Back up and take the longer view.

So let me show you how to break the cycle. I’ve put together a short webinar (35 minutes) to explore the ways you can start working smarter, start thinking differently and start leveraging what made you a business owner in the first place: You!

Download this free worksheet first, because it’s the tool that will save YOUR life (kind of like that handsome lifeguard!)

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