Over the years, I’ve gotten a lot of credit for knowing how to run a successful business. This is funny to me because I think the key is to be nice and keep your commitments. Oh, and surround yourself with awesomely talented people. Over time, you’ll have enough of a following that the business supports itself through word of mouth. That’s why some companies that make it don’t appear to have a great product. And why some of the most talented people seem to struggle getting work.

Today as I was reviewing my to-do list, I realized I didn’t want “to do” most of it. I figured I was just a little burned out from having so many things to manage in my day-to-day life. Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful for everything I have. nGen Works has given me the ability to live life on my terms. I’m not wealthy by any means, but I can come and go as I please. Or can I?

This was the question I asked myself. What if I just quit doing the things I don’t want to do. What would happen?

As a tribute to Charlie Sheen’s insanity I created two categories, “winning” and “losing.” Once I started assigning my tasks I quickly created a third category called “?.” I realized that I didn’t know whether many of the things I do are winners or losers. To try to have some semblance of knowledge for what drives nGen, I looked over the current project list. Here is where our current projects came from:

80% – Referrals/Relationships
20% – Promotion

It wasn’t lost on me that our business fit nicely into the 80/20 rule. The question becomes how much does that 20 percent of promotion feed the other 80 percent? Or is it all set in motion and my efforts only steer it a little in a positive direction, if at all? Or am I just trying to rationalize my way out of doing work I’m not excited about? Regardless, I’m starting a two-week experiment today.

If I’m not excited about it, I’m not going to do it. And if nobody else on the nGen team wants to do it then it’s gone. Buh-bye. Obviously, some of the things I don’t want to do involve taxes and paperwork. And not getting fined and going to jail are great incentives, so I’ll find a way to have those done.

Here’s how my list broke down:




What becomes obvious for me as I review this list is everything under Winning creates positive energy. Everything under Losing sucks the energy out of me. And with the ? category I just don’t know that it matters. It really does feel like busywork that’s neither positive or negative. While I can’t just walk away from things like difficult clients, I can act more swiftly to correct the issues. And if you’ve ever fired a difficult client you know it creates an amazing positive energy. So maybe that’s part of the experiment. Only focus on the positive energy, not the neutral or negative.

What scares me is I’ll find that all the hard work for eight years wasn’t really necessary. What scares me more is I’ll find out it was!