Don’t Take the Bait

“food used to entice fish or other animals as prey.”

That’s the definition of bait. Something to entice you in order for you to become food for something else.

As this new year begins you’ll most likely have plans to do some memorable things. Some of you will look to make it your best year ever…which is BS by the way. You’ll set revenue goals for your businesses. You’ll set fitness goals to help you look sexy.

At 12:00am on 1/1 you’ll fire out the gate with enthusiasm in pursuit of your goals. Nothing will stop you.

Then about 3 days into the new year…or 3 weeks…or 3 months you will see it. It’s shiny and attractive. It smells good. You can taste it and it tastes good. So, you bite and are pulled away from where you were headed.

You have become the prey.

The Many Shapes, Sizes & Colors of Bait

Why does bait work?

Because it appeals to what we want.

You hop on Facebook just to ‘check in’ and then you see the ad that says “get more customers.” You have a goal of growing your business this year so you think ‘what’s the harm?’ You click and then a video starts. You watch. You bite. You sign up for an email list and then you receive a series of emails over the next few days that steal more of your time. At some point they ask you to send money and even if you don’t you’ve spent valuable time chasing the bait…

Maybe you set a goal to spend more time with your kids this year. Things are going good…board games, tennis, movie nights, reading…then, your phone rings and its a client who needs help with something. Because you’re the type of person who believes in amazing service for your clients (and you know you have bills to pay) you bite…

An hour later you’re trying to recapture the momentum you had before the phone call.

Bait works because it promises us something we desire, but rarely fulfills that promise and leaves us disappointed.

Taking the Bait Always Begins with Good Intentions

Years ago I owned a painting company. There were times when the leads were few and the money was tight. I had a huge payroll and overhead to meet and it often guided my use of time.

I would go out of my way to squeeze an estimate in at times that were inconvenient for my family. I would step away just for a minute to take a ‘quick’ call.

My intentions were always good. I wanted to meet the needs of my family, clients and the business.

What I learned is that when I take the bait something else is going to suffer.

How to Not Become Prey

We have good intentions. You and I both want to accomplish our goals because we believe that in doing so it will make us better people. In reaching your goals you’ll have a stronger life…a stronger business. Unfortunately, you’ll have many opportunities to take the bait. Here are a few ways to not fall prey:

  1. Define what is most important. List everything you need to do and then prioritize them. What are the non-negotiable’s? If everything is most important then nothing is.
  2. Put it on the calendar & honor the appointment. Our calendar and our checkbook are the greatest indicators of what’s most important to us.
  3. Say ‘no’ to everything. “Can you meet for coffee tomorrow at 7?” You say, “I’m sorry. I don’t think so. Can I let you know a couple of other times that work?” Do your best to take control of your time instead of trying to fit everything in to your schedule.
  4. Join a mastermind group. Find a group of people who will kick the crap out of you. Avoid the ‘feel good’ groups. Find people who won’t let you off the hook. Surround yourself with peers who will not allow you to take the bait.
  5. Give yourself deadlines. I’ve had things on my ‘to do’ list for months. I gave no deadlines and so anytime I began working on them I’d get distracted by the bait of other things. I now have deadlines and am getting things done. Don’t be afraid to put some pressure on yourself. Get creative and establish a reward/penalty system for not hitting the deadline.

What you achieve this year depends on how focused you are on the right stuff. Don’t buy into the lies of the bait and you’re more likely to win more.