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"Give Yourself Permission"

by Dave Balch, "The Stay-at-Home CEO"ô

(c) 2001, A Few Good People, Inc.

It is September 14, 2001.  I am sitting here trying to think of something to share and, frankly, I can't.  I'm still in shock over the events of the last few days so I'm going to offer you this:

I have always maintained that TV is the archenemy of the home-based business owner because it's so easy to get sucked-in and completely distracted.  Iíve tried to work while the TV is on, but Iím only at 50% capacity at best.  I suppose thatís better than sitting on the couch with a bowl of popcorn, but I prefer operating at a higher level than that.

The solution I have always recommended is to never turn on a TV in the first place.  Itís amazing how easy it is to avoid plot lines when you donít know what they are!  That said, when there is a major news event I find myself in terrible conflict; should I keep my nose to the grindstone or just 'give-in' to the temptation to keep up with what's going on?  I have found myself in this predicament during major events such as the Columbine shootings, the Northridge earthquake, the Gulf War, and the Challenger space shuttle disaster.

When something happens that is so devastating, so traumatic, so incomprehensible as the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, I am not doing myself a favor by 'resisting'.  I NEED to keep up with the details.  I NEED to know what's happening.  I NEED to feel involved in some fashion, even if only vicariously.  So I gave myself permission, and just left the TV on.  I didnít even pretend that I was trying to get anything done; I just stayed glued to the tube to stay informed.  Occasionally I had to remind myself to breathe.

I didn't get much done, but it doesn't matter; I did what was most important at the time.  After all, my country was under attack.  Members of my American ďfamilyĒ were lost.  Others were heroes.  The coverage of the events and all of the incredible ramifications was nothing short of amazing.  It was a monumental moment of history, and I know I did the right thing.  If I had been in New York, I would have been out of the house (or apartment) doing SOMETHING to help SOMEBODY who was more directly affected than I.  [As it turns out, I did visit New York in October and did do some volunteer work with the Red Cross.  You can read about it here.]

In reading what I just wrote, it sounds like I feel guilty doesnít it?  Well, I do a little because I, like most entrepreneurs, have a strong work ethic.  On the other hand, we also need to strike a balance between our work and other priorities.

I'm in great pain because of what I saw and heard, but in retrospect I really had no choice.  It was simply not possible for me to ignore what was happening so that I could ďget some work doneĒ. 

If it's a really important distraction, give yourself permission.  After all, some things are just more important than a few hours of work.

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