My Circus Life is a weekly livestream show in which I share lessons from my pursuits of circus arts and how they apply to life and business. This article goes with Episode 96: The F-Bomb That’s in Your Way.
The F-Bomb in Your Way
Many people default to “fear” as the thing that’s often keeping us from what we want.
There is no question that fear is often in the room, but there’s an even more powerful “F-Bomb” often at work.
When I hit sticky points in my life and business, it’s the first place I look. Many of the clients who seek my help with productivity and implementing new systems often raise this as something they want to banish from their lives.
Disarming this F-bomb can boost productivity for you and your team, increase your sales, and help you communicate more effectively.
It seems that there are lgood reasons to eliminate it.
But not so fast.
The presence of this force can boost productivity for you and your team, help you attract your ideal clients (thus increasing sales with less effort), and can catalyze creative breakthroughs.
What is this sneaky double-agent, you wonder?
What is Friction?
The most simple definition is that friction is any force that interferes with the most efficient process to achieve an outcome. That can include unnecessary steps in a process, cumbersome tools, systems that don’t speak to each other, things (or people) that move slowly, and lack of transparency.
Examples of Friction
The other day I sent an email to my audience. The entirety of the process of using MailChimp was filled with friction.
Double opt-ins. Anytime you need to ask permission or seek approvals before taking an action. Phone trees. Waiting on hold for customer service. Companies that don’t even post a phone number or contact method on their website. Oppressive return policies.
You know friction when you encounter it.
How often do you consider where you might be imposing friction that impact your clients, customers, friends, or family?
Why We Seek to Eliminate Friction
Friction clogs the pipes. It interferes with the flow. It introduces pain into a process.
Friction creates inefficiencies and is unproductive. It wastes time that we could spend on other things.
Even worse, friction drains other resources, especially the mental and emotional energy we spend to deal with it.
The pain created by friction is often the reason we don’t do certain tasks. If you’re procrastinating on something, take a look at what friction you perceive in the process.
How We Seek to Eliminate Friction
A huge segment of mobile and web-based app economy is focused on eliminating friction in our lives.
Online scheduling. Calendar sharing. Chat bots on company websites. Instant messaging. Automation tools. Social media scheduling apps.
How Friction Serves Us
Friction can be one of the best productivity tools in our tool box.
In flying trapeze we use safety lines while we are learning new skills. The safety harness and lines add friction, but this friction keeps us safe.
Creating a “velvet rope policy” is an example of friction that makes it harder for prospective clients to work with you. But the clients who are willing to push through that friction are likely your ideal clients.
Introducing some friction to the process can avoid wasting time on prospects who aren’t the right fit for you.
Friction can be a great way to enforce boundaries and preserve the space you create for doing your most important work.
And friction can provide constraints that catalyze creative breakthroughs. Art often requires constraints.
Friction is not inherently “bad” or “good.” There are places where it serves us and places where it doesn’t.
Take a look at your life in all areas, from your perspective as well as from the perspective of those who desire to connect or work with you, and consider:
- Where do you need to eliminate friction?
- Where do you need to introduce friction?
Please share your thoughts in the comments.