How your thinking can hurt your small business and your life

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At one time I thought that how I spent my time was the essential ingredient in determining how well I succeeded. That’s so true but I now also realize that how I think determines how I spend my time, so I go a bit deeper.

Oprah is currently doing a webcast book study of The New Earth  by Eckhart Tolle, the author of the New York Times bestseller, The Power of Now. Tolle is a visionary whose ideas are so powerful that they have caused millions to experience more joy in their lives. I’m one of those people.

His basic philosophy is that we need to work to stay totally focused on the present moment and steer away from our incessant thinking loop about the past and future. Of course all that exists is the present moment, since the past is gone and the future is but a present moment that hasn’t yet arrived. Staying totally present opens us to a whole new level of creativity and productivity. It deters you from thinking about and acting on past beliefs and habits that no longer serve you well and it stops you from believing that the present is just a means to arrive at some future time when you will have achieved enough to be happy.

How can staying fully present affect your business?

Here’s an example. Say you sit at your computer answering e-mails and surfing the web doing “research”, when you know that to move your business forward your time would be better spent on product development or calling and connecting with prospects. What is going on in your head that causes this self-sabotaging behavior? What are you feeling? Most likely the unconscious dialogue goes something like this.

“I feel guilty because I’m wasting time, which is what I always do since I know I can’t succeed at this anyway”

“That project is so huge I don’t know where to begin so I’ll just not start”.

“If I call that person I’ll probably just get voice mail or they won’t have time to talk to me so I’ll wait until another day”.

“If I don’t make more money soon, I’ll be a failure

” I’m so busy I don’t have the time to create a strategy or plan, so I guess I’m stuck in overwhelm”

Where do these stories we tell ourselves come from? If you didn’t tell yourself those stories, which come from past belief systems about yourself and the world that you’re buying into, the scene would look more like this.

  • Business owner sits at computer.
  • Business owner feels inspired to write out product ideas and does so.
  • Business owner wants to connect with people who truly need this product, so she makes calls.

Period. No mental junk. Only what is right in front of you at the moment that you are inspired to do from a peaceful place. And each task would feel like it just flows.

When we buy into past stories, or spend the present dreaming about the future, we end up wasting time now.  The result could be any of the following:

  • Resigning ourselves to never reaching your dreams
  • Being regularly distracted
  • Procrastination
  • Incomplete projects
  • Avoiding important networking events
  • Avoiding making key phone calls
  • Telling yourself a story about how life or the economy is keeping you from reaching your goals.

Spend just one day working on staying present. Here’s a process that works for me.

  • Put a post it on your computer that says, “CHECK IN” in caps.
  • Each time you see it, stop, take a deep breath and pull your self out of your head and into the moment.
  • Ask yourself if you’re spending that moment doing what’s important.
  • See how you’re feeling. If you feel angry, frustrated, fearful or guilty, ask yourself what story you’re telling yourself that isn’t really true.
  • Don’t let your mind tell you a story about how you don’t have time to do this!

This is an eye opening exercise. There are many techniques that can help you begin to master this idea of staying present. When you begin to do so, you’ll find that you’re using time in a much more productive way and that your business and life will begin to flow in the right direction.

  • Jeanne May
    Posted at 01:14h, 21 March Reply

    Hi Janis…

    This article strongly resonated in me… and it describes what I am experiencing right now! Eckhart Tolle pops up in my life every now and then (this is the third time this week I’ve read about him), especially when I need to be reminded of staying in the present, of being in the now!

    Thanks for the tips you gave about being in the present. It’s good to be reminded what to do!


  • Carmin Wharton
    Posted at 00:11h, 01 April Reply


    I just had to thank you from the bottom of my
    heart for this article! As I read this article,
    I slowly looked over my shoulder because you
    wrote it as though you were actually looking
    over my shoulder.

    I have researched myself to death and still have
    not started a membership site that I promised
    myself I’d have up in March. This article is
    just what I needed to get started.

    I will definitely post a CHECK IN sign to my
    computer monitor. Tomorrow is a new day so I
    will not beat myself up over the time I have
    allowed to slip away “researching,” checking
    emails continuously and other mindless tasks
    that are not getting me and my business
    anywhere. If I’m not careful, I could end
    back up in Corporate America! Now theres a
    scary thought that, until I read your post,
    had not put a fire under my behind.

    Again, thanks a million.

    Carmin Wharton

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