When you think about constraints, the first thing that comes to mind is being held back or being stopped from doing something you want to do. But, constraints, especially creative constraints, can actually be helpful in the achievement of goals in your business.
In fact, creative constraints can become your number one competitive advantage if you’re an entrepreneur with big ideas and a lot of goals.
When you have big ideas and believe the sky’s the limit, trying to figure out how you will get it all done can be overwhelming and you might feel stuck.
This is not fun, because then, your ideas start to feel like tethers holding you back instead of propelling you forward.
When you have big ideas and believe the sky's the limit, trying to get it all done can be overwhelming. Your ideas will start to feel like tethers holding you back instead of propelling your #business forward. Read more: Click To Tweet
This is where constraints can be super powerful. Let me explain, but first, let me tell you a story.
Around 7 years ago, I was really sick and I was fearful that I would have to have surgery again. I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease when I was 13 years old, and I was in the midst of an acute flare-up.
One night, while visiting my sister Nathaly in Toronto, we ordered Indian take out. Indian food is one of my favourites and to say we enjoyed every last bit is an understatement. We ate until we could eat no more.
And then… the pain set in.
I was awake all night with horrific pains in my stomach, each wave bringing me one step closer to calling 911. I was not in my home city, so I really didn’t want to go to the hospital. By the early hours of the morning, around 4 a.m., the pain started to subside, but for the rest of the day, I felt terrible.
I felt as though someone had kicked me in the abdomen over and over again. The tenderness I felt was a constant reminder that something was wrong.
It was October, and we were getting ready to leave for Florida. I was afraid I’d end up in the hospital there, which for a Canadian without health insurance for a pre-existing condition, was not good. That evening, I met my friend Christine Kane who was in town on business for dinner. I told her about my night and how I was feeling.
She looked straight at me and said, “Stop eating gluten.”
I explained that I had tried this before, and it hadn’t helped. She then said something that made me think differently.
She said, “It takes 90 days to get it out of your system. If you’ve never stopped for 90 days, you haven’t given it enough time to work.”
That night, I stopped eating gluten for good and low and behold, 90 days later, I was symptom-free and have been ever since.
By constraining my diet, and sticking with the decision to do that 100% for 90 days, I changed my entire health situation.
Now, what does this have to do with business?
In business, you need constraints too. You need to look at where your attention is fragmented and identify how constraints can help you.
When you try and do too much, you don’t get anything done.In #business, you need constraints. You need to look at where your attention is fragmented and identify how constraints can help you. When you try and do too much, you don't get anything done. Read more: Click To Tweet
A few years ago, I hired someone to help me start a podcast. This guy had big ideas, too big.
The simple concept of starting a podcast went from the podcast to a livestream video show, to enrolling ambassadors to help promote the show, to a Facebook group where we could engage with listeners, and all of a sudden – there was so much to do that nothing got done.
We needed constraints.
If we had started with a simple podcast, just audio, and had done that for 90 days to learn and build some momentum, then we could have introduced some of the other things. But, when you think too big and without any constraints, you will fail.
As you move into a new quarter or year in your business, I encourage you to consider what constraints need to be put in place in order for you to attain your goals.
Here are three places where you may need constraints:
1. Limit the number of goals you focus on in any given quarter to one main priority.
While this may feel really constraining, ask yourself when was the last time you accomplished any of your big goals in 90 days?
Instead of focusing on multiple goals at once, start a goal book where you capture all of your ideas, and then pick one and go all-in on completion over a 90 day period.
Finishing is how you scale your business. Stop starting multiple projects, dividing your energy, and not completing any of it. This does not serve you. Constrain your ideas and become the type of person who completes things.Finishing is how you scale your #business. Stop starting multiple projects, dividing your energy, and not completing any of it. It doesn’t serve you. Read more: Click To Tweet
2. Limit your marketing distribution channels.
People look at me like I am crazy when I say this, especially when marketers like Gary Vaynerchuk say you need to be everywhere. I disagree.
Think about it this way: If you were building a fence and needed to dig holes for fence posts, would you go from hole to hole and take one shovel of dirt out at a time, or, would you dig one hole, and then move to the next? No.
When you have too many marketing channels, none of them will be successful because each one requires a different approach, and they all require time and effort to nurture and build.
Pick one each quarter, build it up, establish a network, build momentum, and then add another one if you need it.
Stop following the trends and chasing leads. What you chase is running from you and using up all of your energy.
3. Limit your content creation.
I know, you want to have a YouTube Channel, a Podcast, a blog and be the next TikTok star, but you can’t do everything.
Each of these content channels requires commitment, time and energy to be done well.
Pick one, go all in and be consistent for 90 days. This means creating a piece of content, every single week for 90 days without ever missing a deadline. If you can do that, then you can consider adding another one to the mix. Only add another platform if you have time, and – and this is important – if this is where your buyers are.
TikTok is the latest trend, don’t get sucked in by vanity and popularity metrics. This channel is great if your ideal buyer is under 30 and wants to be entertained. Are they?
Here’s what you should take away from this:
More is not always more, and constraints are not always bad. Use constraints to your advantage. Use them to help you finish and gain momentum in your business.
Without creative constraints, your energy, focus and ability to grow will be diminished.
What one goal are you going to start by focusing on?
P.S. I highly recommend reading these two books: The One Thing by Gary W. Keller and The 12 Week Year by Brain P. Moran.
2 thoughts on “Creative Constraints for Goal Achievement”
Practical and creative post on the value of setting constraints in your business. Thanks for sharing this entrepreneurial wisdom Lisa!