Dirty Deadlines

There are many perks to being your own boss. You can wear pajamas to your in-house office. You can eat (organic) popcorn all day while you work. You don’t have to worry about doing your hair or having bad breath or getting rid of the ketchup stain on your pants. You are an entrepreneur! And you rule your own world!

Any honest entrepreneur, however, will admit that there are a few drawbacks to entrepreneurial life. One of the biggest drawbacks, in my humble opinion, is that, when you work on your own time, you automatically work on your own schedule. You no longer have someone looking over your shoulder, keeping you on track. And that’s good news! As adults, we should be able to self-motivate. However, as a leader, I know that working with self-motivating individuals can be frustrating at times.

Why? One word:

Here’s the thing: when you are your own boss, you naturally need to set deadlines for yourself. And if you’re anything like me—me being a high-functioning, type-A personality—then you set these goals, meet these goals, and set new goals with relative ease.

However, if there’s one thing that you learn when running your own business, it’s that everyone has a different understanding of things like punctuality, work ethic, and time management. And deadlines are no exception.

While I make it a principle to view setting and meeting deadlines as something of the utmost importance, when you work for yourself, it is easy to get into the mentality that the deadlines aren’t really important, since they don’t really count as deadlines, since they were set by you. According to this mentality, is it therefore justified when you move and adjust and reschedule the deadlines for a later week, month, or even year.

The end result?
Inefficient time management.
Ineffective goal setting.
And ultimately, inept leadership ability.

You cannot be an effective leader and expect your team to run efficiently if you don’t even meet the deadlines that you set for yourself. We need to break out of this mentality that things can wait, that time is limitless, that there is always tomorrow. Because this simply isn’t true. And if we want to be able to hold our team accountable to the goals and deadlines that they set for themselves, we need to do the same. And we need to do it first.

So how do we get out of this mentality?

The one fool-proof way of ensuring that you view your deadlines as a non-negotiable is to get accountable. Find a mentor who will hold you to your word and be willing to deliver that tough love when necessary. Don’t find an accountability partner who gives you free passes and is more focused on being your friend than being your mentor. Find someone who will motivate you, encourage you, and inspire you to be the best, most-effective version of yourself that you can be. And perhaps most importantly, find someone who is good at meeting deadlines.

So what are you waiting for? Don’t delay this process. Don’t put this off for another day. Go find a mentor who will hold you accountable. Set a deadline for when you want to find this person. And this time around, be intentional about meeting that deadline.

Stay calm and meet your deadlines, everyone!

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