Stephanie Sims
Nov 2, 2017 · 3 min read

Think “investing” not “spending”

Big Ben can only tell you what time it is, it can’t tell you what to do with your time

As with most non-Silicon Valley ecosystems, those of us in Phoenix often talk about what we need to do to improve outcomes for our entrepreneurs and for our economy.

Fingers get pointed in lots of directions, leading to a “lack of [insert your choice of culprit here]” discussion that is less and less interesting to me — and to many of the others I’m talking to lately.

Most of us are entrepreneurs because we want to make a big change (in our lives, the lives of our customers, or in the world) — so we should stop blaming others for our lack of progress and take control of our own destinies.

Given that we often want to build big solutions to big problems, we are tempted to try to make lots of changes at once…which not only decreases our chances of actually making a change, but also divides our energy and can wear down our resolve.

Bottom line? We all spend tons of time doing things that may move us forward, but we don’t take the time to understand where we want to go.

We ask for help, but can’t clearly define what outcome we’re looking for.

We “pick people’s brains” all day long, and call it progress.

We treat time like there is an infinite supply, when in fact, it is our most precious resource.

I think that what we need to do is to become good investors of our own time. We need to focus as much on getting out time’s worth as we do on getting our money’s worth!


Be intentional with your time and respectful of those who share their time with you

Since this may feel a little vague, here are three concrete steps that we can all take to put this into action:

  1. Don’t ask for (or take) meetings where you don’t have a clear idea of what needs to be achieved,
  2. Communicate that goal clearly to those you’re inviting, so they know if and how they can help you, and
  3. Show up on-time and prepared to work with the others present to achieve that goal.

Obviously, the goal of each meeting doesn’t need to be world domination, it can be something as simple as brainstorming a list of people who could be useful to your project. BUT that goal needs to exist in the minds of everyone present before it happens - otherwise think about how much time and energy we are collectively wasting.

If you’re reading and thinking “this doesn’t apply to me”, consider the fact that even fabled entrepreneur Richard Branson understands the power of intentional and respectful use of time. I would argue that this respect is an important component of his success, and a big part of the reason he is capable of such a high level of productivity.

But you don’t need to be Richard Branson to make progress.

So here’s what I propose:

Let’s all use these three simple steps for the next five meetings we put on our calendar and track our performance in those meetings to see if we get better results.

I’m re-committing to do this, and if you want to set up a meeting with me, I’d love for you to use this 3-step method when you reach out. Tell me in your initial email what your goal is and what you expect our meeting to accomplish for you and your business.

I believe that we can use these simple steps as a starting point to not only build our own personal productivity, but also as a way to grow the professionalism and raise the profile of our ecosystem.

If you’re up for this experiment, share your commitment below or on social media with #IntentionalMeetings .

For bonus points: Ask the next person who asks YOU to meet with them to follow these three steps before you agree!


Stories, thoughts, and news from the Greater Phoenix startup and entrepreneurial community.

Stephanie Sims

Written by

Recovering investment banker, champion of business owners, Frenchman's wife, mom of three. Because only you can really #KnowYourWorth



Stories, thoughts, and news from the Greater Phoenix startup and entrepreneurial community.

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