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Never-Ending Business Challenge: The Concept of the “And Then…”

Updated: Mar 24, 2021

Managing or owning a business carries with it all sorts of responsibilities. 

Now that I’ve proclaimed the very obvious, let’s delve a little bit into the less obvious.  Goal-setting, planning and expediting we all know to be the building blocks of managing or owning a business.  But achievement and success are the constantly moving targets which can unsettle the soul as we move toward accomplishing them.  I like to think of this as the concept of “and then…”

For example, you get up for work in the morning and then you prepare your physical and mental self for the tasks ahead.  And then you get in your car, check the traffic app, check the sports station for the baseball scores.  And then you start thinking about the plan for the work day as you’re driving.  And then you hear on your local music station that your favorite band is coming to a local venue in a few weeks and then you make a mental note to go on-line to buy some tickets.  And then you notice that you’re low on gas.  And then you try to think of the closest gas station that’s on the way to work.  And then you get a text from one of your employees saying that he won’t be in today because of an illness.  And then you start shifting your planning gears to best handle that day's work plan to suit this situation.  And then…and then…and then…  All this and you haven’t even gotten to work yet. 

My point is this:  The life of an effective business manager or owner is a constant, non-stop onslaught of “and thens.” 

You’ve heard the phrase “juggling several balls in the air at the same time.”  The concept of “and then” promotes this phrase, only ad infinitum.  It never stops and it's not supposed to ever stop.  Once one project has been accomplished, you already started a myriad of other projects that are in various degrees of completion.  It is truly the perpetual motion machine on steroids in real time and every day.  Quite the daunting task, wouldn’t you say?  Hang in there, stay with me, I’m building a case.

The whole idea of the constant barrage of “and thens” is not a myth.  It’s a daily truth that needs to be handled.  But how do we handle it?  It’s handled by knowing that your working toward a myriad of goals that, in the end, will culminate in a profitable, ongoing enterprise.  And the work itself can be its own reward.  You wanted to own or manage a business, well, here you are and this is a big part of what you’re faced with every day – the “and thens.” 

Man smiling for picture

My Dad used to tell me, “Every job is a series of smaller jobs.

Break the big job down into smaller, more easily attainable jobs.  Before you know it, you will tie all those little jobs together and you accomplished the big job.”  Sound advice from someone who used it every day of his personal and business life.


Something I’ve found that helps me assuage the constant onslaught of “and thens” has been to take the occasional respite from the daily regimen and think back on the sheer amount of work, effort and compromise it took to accomplish the any number of goals required to qualify your business or your life as a success.

This is not a “pat on the back.”  This is a self-acknowledgement that what you’ve achieved is an accomplishment in and of itself. 

All of the thousands of “and thens” start to seem worthwhile when you accept the fact that you, indeed, dealt with the decisions, the inner conflicts, the myriad of management issues and the toll it sometimes takes on your psyche and personal life.  You did OK, you did good.  Now it's time to move on to the next project…and then.

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