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Is Busyness Getting in the Way of Your Growth?

July 11, 2023

How's your summer going? Have you been able to grab a vacation, yet? At least a little down time to camp, get to the lake, or visit family?

Too busy, you say? Who isn't, right? Well, that's a problem we all share and one we need to really take a hard look at because busy is getting in the way of our growth.

Growth as business owners, community leaders, family members.

Growth as fully functioning human beings.

Busyness, not to be confused with business, is the #1 obstacle to achieving our goals. That may not make sense at first, but when we're stuck in the trap of busyness, we're not making thoughtful strategic decisions about the future of our business. We're more like circus clowns riding a unicycle and juggling chainsaws, focusing hard so we don't cut off an arm or something worse.

The key to escaping the busyness trap so we can achieve our goals is adopting a growth mindset.

Why Is a Growth Mindset Important?

A growth mindset is crucial for business owners and leaders because it helps them adapt to challenges, embrace learning, and continuously improve their business.

Here are some reasons why a growth mindset is important:

  • Resilience: A growth mindset allows you to view challenges as opportunities for learning and growth. Instead of being discouraged by failures, you see them as valuable feedback and adjust your strategies accordingly.
  • Innovation and Creativity: A growth mindset encourages business leaders to think outside the box and explore new ideas by employing experimentation and taking calculated risks. Innovation helps businesses stay competitive in a dynamic market.
  • Learning and Skill Development: Leaders with a growth mindset prioritize learning and personal development. They seek knowledge, acquire new skills, and stay updated with industry trends so they can make informed decisions and adapt to evolving customer demands. Speaking of…
  • Adaptability: Markets and consumer preferences change. Business leaders with a growth mindset are flexible and adaptable, willing to pivot their business model, explore new markets, or diversify their product/service offerings to stay relevant and seize new opportunities.
  • Building Relationships and Networks: A growth mindset encourages leaders to seek collaboration and build strong networks because they understand the value of partnerships, mentorship, and seeking advice from industry experts. By leveraging these relationships, they can access resources, support, and new business opportunities.

While a growth mindset is critical to business growth these days, many people are feeling overwhelmed and way too busy. If we prize innovation, and we recognize professional growth and creative thinking are essential for today’s businesses to thrive, we must find ways to slay the biggest impediment to developing a growth mindset—busyness. Here's why:

When We’re Busy, We Suffer From…

  • Lack of Time for Reflection: A growth mindset requires self-reflection and introspection to identify areas for improvement and develop new strategies. When we are busy and overwhelmed with tasks, we won’t (have or) take the time to reflect on our experiences, learn from our mistakes, and adjust our approach, all critical to growth.
  • Limited Mental Space for Learning: A growth mindset focuses on continuous learning and seeking new knowledge and skills. However, when we are occupied with numerous responsibilities and tasks, we may struggle to allocate mental space and time for learning opportunities, such as reading, attending workshops, or engaging in professional development. When we’re excessively busy and find some downtime, we tend to use it for recuperation and performing unproductive activities as a “break.”
  • Reactive Decision-Making: Busy schedules lead to reactive decision-making rather than proactive and strategic thinking. When we are constantly putting out fires and responding to immediate (and seemingly unpredictable) demands, it becomes challenging to think long-term, plan for growth, and consider innovative solutions.
  • Lack of Prioritization: Being busy can result in a focus on urgent but less important tasks, rather than prioritizing activities that contribute to long-term growth and development. This can prevent us from allocating time and resources to initiatives that foster a growth mindset, such as experimenting with new ideas, investing in skill development, or building relationships with mentors and industry experts.
  • Burnout and Exhaustion: Chronic busyness can lead to burnout and exhaustion, which kill motivation, creativity, and overall well-being. When we are drained and overwhelmed, it becomes challenging to maintain a growth mindset because we lack the energy and enthusiasm needed to embrace challenges, persist through setbacks, and seek out new learning opportunities.

While you may support the idea of adopting a growth mindset, and recognize its benefits, unless you are willing to scale back on busyness, instituting a growth mindset will be impossible. To overcome these challenges to attaining a growth mindset, it's essential to prioritize and manage your time effectively. Look to delegate tasks, set boundaries, and create dedicated time for reflection, learning, and strategic planning (schedule it in your calendar). If you’re in a position to do so, creating a supportive environment that encourages a growth mindset, such as fostering a culture of learning and innovation within the business, can also help overcome the impediments of busyness.

Written by Chris Bailey. Chris is the Executive Director of the Lewis County Chamber of Commerce. When he's not helping his community and businesses prosper, Chris enjoys hiking West Virginia state parks with his wife Carrie, having a good beer and barbecue, and solving the daily NY Times crossword puzzle.