When things aren’t going as well as you’d like in your business, chances are that your natural inclination is to “try harder,” as in work harder and work longer hours.

Otherwise known as the “brute force” approach to success, the problem is that this approach doesn’t typically work. The only guarantee with this approach is that you’ll end up working harder and longer hours. But it doesn’t guarantee success, no matter how you define success.

When one “tries harder,” the predictable outcome is tension – inner tension of the mind and body and outer tension in how your thoughts, feelings, and attitudes get expressed in your daily life. No freedom here.

I’ve found that principles of success in sports apply equally well to the world of entrepreneurship. One of my friends, David Ranney (www.MaxTennis.com) writes in his book, Tennis: Play the Mental Game: “Although trying harder may seem to work in the short term, you will find that when the match gets tight or when it comes time to win, your game may break down.

If “grinding it out” and working harder isn’t likely to win the day for you, what’s the alternative?

…Relax. Really.

Relaxation means different things to different people. It may be meditation. Reading a good book. Going for a run. Maybe singing or playing a musical instrument. Or, if you’re me: hitting tennis balls.

Diverting your attention away from your private mountain of projects and tasks gives you a valuable opportunity to see solutions and opportunities from a different and unique perspective.

Most people don’t realize that Dr. Albert Einstein was an accomplished violinist. In fact, he attributes his experience with musical improvisation as contributing to some of his greatest insights.

Whatever you do, it’s vital to schedule regular, consistent times away from work. Of course this makes good common sense, but common sense isn’t commonly practiced!

To avoid the “I know this already” trap, I recommend that you schedule times for relaxation, “scheduled relaxation.” Go ahead, do it right now.

Put in your schedule the times for you to practice singing or playing an instrument, times for running or working out. And if you really want to stay on track, get a relaxation accountability partner, that is, someone who will help you make sure you both take regular relaxation time throughout the week.