Ask yourself this: “How will I know when I’ve got my business to where I truly want it to be?” It may be a certain amount of money in the bank, the size of your team, the days or hours per week you wish to work. What would be your way of knowing? This is what I like to call your criteria. It’s your measurement tool.
One of the best criteria I have ever heard is from Timothy Marc of the Freedom Business Blog. Tim has built and grown numerous freedom businesses (if you don’t know what a freedom business is, check out this page) and all along, he has used a very specific criteria to check in and confirm that things are truly how he wishes them to be.
Tim runs something he likes to call “the crepe test”. I love this. In order to pass the crepe test, Tim needs to be able, at any point in time, to call and book a flight to Paris and have crepes for breakfast. That’s it. That’s his criteria. So as long as he can jump on a flight to Paris and have crepes for breakfast, life is good and the businesses he’s running are aligned. That is his Freedom Business Target.
What is your crepe test? What is your target?
For some of you this may quickly and easily roll off the tongue. You may know exactly what it is. However, for others and in most cases the majority, you’ll only kind-of know and not be able to confidently answer the question. This is ok, but I want you to keep asking yourself. What I don’t want you to do is list the things you DON’T want.
You see we will naturally run towards pleasure or away from pain and not even be conscious of doing it. Try it! Ask someone what they want to do on the weekend, what movie they want to watch or what they would like for dinner. The “away from pain” people will answer with things they don’t want, like “well I don’t want to go to my mother in law’s birthday” or “I don’t want to see that horror movie”.
If you fall in this boat, what you can do is write an exhaustive list of all the things you don’t want. Get them all out there. Then think to yourself, “Ok, now I know what I don’t want, so what does that mean to me? What would that allow me to do?” The story might go something like this: “Well if I don’t have to do all of those things then I’d definitely be able to……” You see?
We all get very lost in our day to day lives and lose sight of exactly what it is that we want, which is very sad. Usain Bolt wanted to be the fastest man in the world. He stayed laser focussed, backed himself and never lost sight. Rob Nixon built a life coaching for accountants business and I was actually mentored by his team when I first started my business. His criteria is “doing what you want, when you want, with whom you want, in a manner you want.”
If you’ve got a couple of minutes (more like 20) here is his TEDx talk that is a little contrarian and may rustle a few feathers, however, this small investment of time will leave you asking questions about your life as it is right now, today. I have very recently run the crepe test on another business that I am a large stakeholder in. It was making me more and more frustrated and unhappy and essentially it wasn’t passing the test.
This meant I had to have difficult conversations with the other parties involved. The easy option would have been to ignore it, let things drag on and be a “creature of circumstance” as Tony Robbins would say. But life should be fun and business should be fun. Run the crepe test and if something doesn’t pass, do something about it.
Oh and remember, doing nothing is also a choice in itself…and sometimes a riskier one.
Brad Turville is the virtual CFO of BJT Financial Services. This article first appeared on his blog here.