Here’s a challenge, find someone today who is not busy.
We’re busy ticking off our to-do lists, trying to run a business or manage our career. We’re busy hopping from meeting to meeting, trying to manage our team. We’re busy meeting client expectations, ensuring cash flow and results are where they need to be. We’re busy dealing with the hundreds of emails that land in our inbox each day. We’re busy juggling our family. We’re busy trying to maintain the relationships with our significant other. We’re busy trying to keep fit. It’s relentless.
And it’s become really bland and boring.
Here’s a cold hard dose of reality; you’re not busier than anyone else even if you think you’re doing more hours, doing better work or struggling to juggling a family more than others. Everyone is busy. It’s all relative. It’s how you handle it that is the true test of your character.
And you can no longer just be busy if you plan to be successful. There seems to be the necessity to use the language of busy to prove our worth or to prove that we are successful. In today’s marketplace you need to be so much more than busy.
We are living in a hyper connected, digital world where over three billion of us are connected and sharing incredible amounts of information. We are more connected than ever before with our networks expanding far beyond those we have a personal connection with. The workplace is competitive, demanding, complex and more challenging that every before. It’s unprecedented. This demands us to be smarter, to adapt and be agile and ensure we are relevant to our times, or we are simply going to get left behind. No wonder we are busy right?
Busy has become a status symbol of our time. It’s also become deeply ingrained in our culture. In one of my ‘Busy? What are you busy doing?workshops one of the participants was French. We were exploring the meaning of busy and he explained to the group when was speaking to friends at home he started using the word busy. It has become part of his language as he’d heard it so often from those around him. Problem was, his friends and family at home had no reference or translation for busy and asked him what he meant by this. He had to explain what this ‘busyness’ was which in actual fact was simply doing his job, spending time with friends, relaxing and enjoying life – all of this rolled up into the bland and boring explanation of busy.
Busy has become very lazy language and it means nothing. I encourage you to stop saying it. You’re not going to grow your business, attract the clients you’re after, climb that career ladder or make your mark on the world by being busy. It is holding you back.
This really challenges people because what will be perception be if people say they are not busy? This is where your opportunity comes into play.
We spend enormous amounts of time and money professionally positioning ourselves on social media in the hope that people will resonate with what we do and eventually buy from us. We write blogs, we do videos expressing our key messages and positioning our expertise to our market place and beyond. Then all of our efforts go out the window by being absorbed in busy. When we meet people we talk busy, when we talk to clients we’re busy, when we talk to friends we’re busy – what you are doing is you’re creating a busy brand that is misaligned to the key messages you are putting out to your marketplace through the virtual world.
What do you want to be known for? The busy person or what you are really good at? Your virtual and physical brands need to match.
What we are forgetting is the opportunity we have to make an impact with everyone we talk to. So how we respond to questions of how are you or how is work/business will tell a certain story or paint a particular picture. Your language is like a rudder. Where do you want it to take you? To busy land, the land of beige and boring or to the bright, sparkly colours of opportunity? We all have a choice in the language we use – choose wisely.
Think about what you do and how you can express it. Watch people’s reaction when you tell them you’re not busy but working on some fantastic projects that are really making a difference, building an inclusive and supportive culture or working with some inspiring clients doing the work you love. Notice the curiosity levels in people rise and how conversations are very different. This is your opportunity to stand out and get known for what you do. Don’t fall into our poor culture of being busy – know what you are busy doing and express it. This can also be a great check in point for you to assess if what you are busy doing is purposeful and meaningful to you or that you are simply being absorbed in busyness.
While our world presents many challenges, it also presents just as many opportunities. The trick is to harness our talents, leadership abilities, and savvy skills to challenge conventional wisdom. It’s only by doing this that we will be able to have an impact and become truly influential.
Julie works with busy entrepreneurs and business leaders to get control of busy and create a business and career that is worth leading.