Growing Your Business? Get Out of Your Own Way
by Connie Vanderzanden
When you’re growing your business, there’s only one word that separates success from failure.
I learned this lesson myself during the growth phase of my business.
As I look back, I can easily see the strides forward I made. Being IN the moment though, it kept feeling like I was taking 10 steps forward only to take 5, 6, or even 12 steps back.
Problem Identified: Success is Continually One Step Out of Reach
I eventually realized what was missing -- and it wasn’t a new tool or a missing skill set.
See, part of what I was experiencing is just how growth naturally works, and that is something I definitely want you to keep in mind.
Growth is not a straight path. There will be plenty of roadblocks and unknowns. In fact we often jump into growth knowing where we are starting and what our intentional ending may look like and everything in between, that’s the unknown. As we jump two feet in, it adjusts and morphs which is why it doesn’t feel like we make constant strides forward.
Here is the thing I want to focus on here: the one thing that will stop that growth, that will move us towards failure rather than success, is one word. That word is commitment.
The more committed you are to reaching that end result, the more successful forward movement you will achieve.
The problem? Commitment can be weakened and sometimes destroyed during the growth phase of our business if we don’t intentionally do something about it.
Learning Stage: How This Showed Up
I remember when I made the first step into growth. The vision was so strong and I could feel the desire throughout my entire body. I was excited and would tell anyone that would stop long enough to listen.
It was a little scary and I jumped anyway. I had no idea “how” to get there, I was blind, I just had some inner trust that I could and I was all-in to achieve it. I didn’t really know what that meant at the time, I just had the confidence that it could be done.
Then the first roadblock came up - which for me was learning how to adjust my time from the “doing” to the “managing”, or maybe a better way to phrase it is “juggling the business, the team, and the growth process itself.” Managing and leveraging time would become a recurring roadblock that would pop up anytime I lost my focus.
In the moment I can’t tell you if it felt like failure, as it was a prime example of negative self-talk by my lovely ego. In the beginning, I beat myself up quite a bit for not growing “perfectly”. How little did I know at that stage that there was, or is, no “perfect” when you are growing! There is only a little dash of testing out this theory, and a little more testing out that process. Think more “science project” and less structured “road map.”
As I mentioned, the more I lost focus of what the growth goal was, the more negative self-talk came up. Which ended up draining my commitment level. I found support in restoring my commitment by hiring a coach - that’s their job, to keep you focused on your intentions and goals. Hindsight now tells me that I could have also focused on taking better self-care of myself and taken a day or two for more planning and ultimately tapping into the purpose of why I stepped into that growth phase in the first place. (Hint, it all goes back into jumping blindly into my growth stage.)
Small side note - At the time I didn’t realize what that negative self-talk really was. During this growth phase, I took some time to learn more about how I tick, what inner things stick me, what are my natural strengths, and even counseling. During these inner educational moments I learned that negative self-talk was my ego talking, and it had a definite idea of where I need to stay and how small I needed to play. Of course, that was the complete opposite of my growth plan!
Initially, I wanted to yell and scream at my ego and tell it to go take a hike. I learned though, that ego is essential for us because it is also tied to the internal gut feeling we have. However, it is up to us and our extreme power of choice when we actually listen to ego and take his (or her) advice.
Today, my ego is my co-passenger in this life journey and his name is Joe. Yes, Joe and I still have conversations about my choices and while I will ponder them, I also thank Joe for his feedback before I go ahead and jump off the cliff anyway. The more you know yourself, the easier it becomes to make the changes you desire.
Finally, after many bumps and bruises, I changed my mindset about prioritizing taking care of myself and finding the time to commit to and plan for my growth. Now don’t think this was the magic cure for all that ailed my growth. Nope, this is something that can be duplicated for anyone willing to STOP, take a breath, reflect, and adjust the plan before stepping forward again, and again, and again.
Oh and the big kicker -- be prepared for your end result to not look like what you originally imagined! There will be small signs of your original vision and at the same time, your growth journey could easily blossom to something you never quite expected.
For me, my original vision had me teaching others how I use numbers to create a holistic view of the health of any business. That took many forms over the last eight years now and it is morphing, yet again. At the core of the business is still that original dream - using my gift to see the business as a whole being and empowering others by using the numbers of the business as metrics to measure growth and success while they work towards their ultimate visions. The vision and purpose are centrally located in me, in my values, and in my gifts. We all have that, it simply requires that we take a moment to quiet our minds to tap back into what makes us, well us; which is our purpose and mission.
Moral of the Story
Growth and success rely on continually tapping in and expanding your commitment to your desire and vision.
- Identify negative self-talk (which is your ego attempting to keep you safe, small, and stuck where you currently are). Once you can identify when ego kicks in, then learn techniques that show your ego appreciation and still allows you to take the action required.
- Prioritize your self-care and keep your energy and health in top-notch shape. You’ll need that energy because this is a long-distance journey, not a short sprint.
- Roadblocks identify when focus has been lost. Schedule a planning session each month to track where you started, what you’ve done, and where you currently are at compared to what the goal is. That way your commitment level will continually be fed and tapped into, setting you up for success.
To be successful in your growth or setting any goals for yourself or your business, the main thing is to keep your commitment level top of mind, consistently fed, and alive in your heart.
Feel it, live it, dream it, to ultimately achieving it.
One of the best ways to create change in this area is to work with a coach or mentor. I am currently offering profit and business mentoring services. Schedule a free call to see if we’d be a good fit for working together!