From Corporate Prisoner to Thriving Entrepreneur Pam's Blog Moved.

The upside of economic constraints

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My country is obsessed with choices.

Common thinking says: more is better.

“Have it your way!”

“31 Flavors!”

“The Land of Opportunity!”

The upside to endless choices is you are filled with wide-eyed possibility.

The downside to endless choices is you are filled with wide-eyed possibility.

The global economy just delivered us a handy set of economic constraints.

  • There is less time to dilly-dally on the road to building a business. You need to take action today.
  • There are fewer fat pockets of easy money. You need to identify and dig deeply into the profitable veins of the market.
  • There is less tolerance for poor performance or mediocre employees. You must step up your game or be moved out.

The most helpful advice that I give friends, family and clients who are faced with any kind of adversity is:

What can you create within this particular set of constraints?

  • Instead of fragmenting your energy with 12 new projects of indeterminate value to your market, how can you zero in on the one with the most possibility and work the execution and implementation relentlessly?
  • Instead of endlessly drumming up new subscribers or followers or clients, how can you deliver killer results to the ones you currently have?
  • Instead of looking for comfort in endless Apple products, how can you get back to simple, inexpensive pleasures like playing Go Fish on the living room floor with your kids? (Admittedly, that last tip was for me)

When I was on a long walk in Portland with my dear friend Jonathan Fields during the World Domination Summit, he asked me:

“What lights you up more than anything?”

My answer: Cultivating leaders. Helping to light the inner fire of bright young people and passionate world changers.

His answer: Then do it. Clear your decks and make it happen.

So I am. Big moves are underway to make Escape more of a well-oiled machine led by me and run by others. I am pouring myself into the proposal for a new book about leadership. I am firing up a project with Willie Jackson to hit the hearts and minds of young leaders.

Constraint feels liberating. It leads to focus, and results.

So if today’s gloomy news has sent you into panic and you worry that endless possibilities are a thing of the past, I say:

Thank goodness.

Endless choices are highly overrated.

And as Jonathan’s powerful story about his new book illustrates, uncertainty can be the fuel for creative brilliance. Check it out and be inspired! Uncertainty Trailer.

 

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22 Responses to “The upside of economic constraints”

  1. Great post, Pam. You know how sometimes you read something and it zings straight home to an uber-relevant point? This was the one for me:

    “Instead of fragmenting your energy with 12 new projects of indeterminate value to your market, how can you zero in on the one with the most possibility and work the execution and implementation relentlessly?”

    I’m blessed and cursed with a brain that seems to be a nonstop idea factory. Trying to implement them all inevitably means implementing them all half-assed. Good reminder to get focused (as much as I resist it).

  2. MaryS says:

    Thanks for the reminder about the importance of focusing on a niche. Wasn’t it Lily Tomlin who said, “I always wanted to be someone–I guess I should have been more specific?” I think of her quote often when I feel overwhelmed trying to do it all.

  3. [...] I am a coach myself, when I started SoloBizCoach.com, I started working with two coaches–Pam Slim and Justin Lukasavige. Since I was new to the coaching world, I wanted to accelerate the growth of [...]

  4. Rich says:

    It’s good you like to cultivate leaders because we really do need more *real* leaders.

    There seems to be a disconnect in the entrepreneur world. Some people think entrepreneurs turn into long term CEOs when the company matures enough to offer a salary to executives.

    But that’s incorrect. An entrepreneur acts as CEO only when the company is too young to either attract or to need a full-time CEO. A true entrepreneur will already be bored when a full-time CEO is needed.

  5. You have to decide what you will and will not learn. That includes deciding what positive and negative news you will aloow into your life.

  6. [...] the Silver Lining Pamela Slim says there are upsides to economic constraints: “The global economy just delivered us a handy set of economic [...]

  7. [...] the Silver Lining Pamela Slim says there are upsides to economic constraints: “The global economy just delivered us a handy set of economic [...]

  8. Laura Click says:

    Can’t wait to see what you have in store, Pam! I’d like to think of myself as one of the young leaders you are inspiring! :)

  9. [...] the Silver Lining Pamela Slim says there are upsides to economic constraints: “The global economy just delivered us a handy set of economic [...]

  10. [...] a Silver Lining Pamela Slim says there are upsides to mercantile constraints: “The tellurian economy only delivered us a accessible set of [...]

  11. [...] the Silver Lining Pamela Slim says there are upsides to economic constraints: “The global economy just delivered us a handy set of economic [...]

  12. [...] the Silver Lining Pamela Slim says there are upsides to economic constraints: “The global economy just delivered us a handy set of economic [...]

  13. Jakie says:

    When I was living in Europe the grocery store selection was significantly smaller than what I was accustomed to in the US, however, the selection was superior. I think fewer choices that are better choices is the key to success.

    Also I like the idea that “Constraint feels liberating.” I have a habit of spreading myself too thin and when I decide to let certain projects go and focus more on the higher goals, that feeling of freedom usually arrives.

  14. Gwyn Michael says:

    PS I totally love that you are focusing on young people Pam. We must carry them through to a better way of living that is not about more, more, more.

  15. Gwyn Michael says:

    I love what you suggest Pam, but I also agree with Bill. I find myself with constraints that have presented me with creative challenges. Sharing a car with my husband rather than taking on a car payment when Mine died. Being a photo artist with an entry level camera after my professional equipment was stolen. But these things are manageable.

    Our finances are limited, but we have our home and plenty of food. My husbands salary has been cut but he has a fairly stable job he likes. I have resources enough to peruse my art and writing. I read so many blogs about quitting your job to do what you love, but it requires you have something to start with. I can’t ignore the fact that not everyone does.

    I feel very lucky to be someone that still has choices albeit too many.

  16. michele says:

    I think you have to decide on an area that you want to concentrate and find a niche. This will help you concentrate and focus to move ahead. On the other hand, when necessary you must be flexible enough to try any reasonable job while discovering your passion. Pays the bills!

  17. Bill says:

    Quote “There is less tolerance for poor performance or mediocre employees. You must step up your game or be moved out.”

    For many companies this means, “Good now we can abuse and overwork our beleagured staff and when they are burnt out from having to do the job of 3-4 people, we’ll just kick them to the curb and get some fresh meat from hungry multitudes looking for a job, any job. I agree with you that in some circumstances constraints are good (I myself use a limited palette for example). However, ask the people from the great depression if the constraint of having absolutely no jobs was good. The people of Biafra also did not do so well with the constraint of having no food. Perhaps, the constraints you are talking about only apply to those who only have minor constraints and are basically well off.

  18. Too right! Narrow down and EXECUTE!

    Constraints are something that people love to complain about, but they truly can be a blessing in disguise. Use them to motivate yourself.

  19. Art is all about constraints, isn’t it? The painter includes & excludes colors, the composer includes & excludes notes, the writer includes & exclude words. And, so, in our lives, when we use constraints from an aesthetic stance, we can live lives that are richer and deeper.

  20. Gene Marks says:

    Excellent point – like you said, not only does this lead to more focus in the business sector, it can also lead to us spending more time with our families and loved ones. Great post.

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