As we navigate through the third quarter and take some time to enjoy summer, we need to think about wrapping up the year with a bang and taking action now to make the coming year our best yet.
The skills and strategies that got you to this point in your business are unlikely to be the same skills and strategies that will take you to the next level – whatever that may be.
And the biggest thing we need to worry about is getting tripped up by our fears.
Franklin D. Roosevelt – our 32nd president – said it best when he said “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”
Man did that guy nail it.
Fear can cloud your thinking and hijack your actions. And since we entrepreneurs are walking a tightrope every day it can get pretty scary out here even on the days when things are rolling our way.
It’s worse for those of us who have emotional baggage we’re in the process of unpacking.
There are 10 steps we absolutely must take that will enable us to take control over not just the rest of the year but also over the rest of our business life.
These actions have helped me put down those heavy bags I’ve been dragging around for years and have helped me step forward with confidence and positivity as I actively create the future I dream of.
- This influences success in several ways. First of all, you’ve got to recognize that what you want isn’t what you’ve got. You’ve also got to recognize that often problems start with us. Maybe we have faulty or fuzzy thinking or poor execution of strategy. Maybe we’re not communicating our offers effectively. Or maybe we’re not putting ourselves out there in a bigger way to attract more of our best audience.
- Take Responsibility. The next step is a natural off-shoot of the first. You have to take responsibility for everything you have control over – your thoughts, actions, emotions, and (at least part of) the results you get. You can’t control whether someone buys from you or not. But you can take responsibility for understanding your audience so well that you create messages that resonate with them and help them move forward.You can’t control whether someone on your team does their job or not but you can start by hiring the right people, giving them the tools they need to do the job, helping them understand their role, and communicating with them clearly and frequently, and creating an environment where it’s easy for them and not threatening for them to ask questions.While you do your best to deliver the promised results to your client you really can’t control whether they’ll be satisfied or not. Some people are impossible to please. But you CAN be sure you’re on the same page with them and that their expectations match your intended deliverables and results. Taking responsibility might seem scary at first but it’s incredibly freeing when you accept that you’re not responsible for the rest of the world.
- This is probably the biggest reason we don’t get what we want. We don’t really know what we want to start with. “More clients” isn’t clear and neither is “more money”. Having one new client that’s a pain to work with and who doesn’t pay you is still “more clients.” Finding a penny on the ground fits the definition of “more money”. Here’s how I explain this to my clients.Imagine you could put out an All Points Bulletin through the police to catch what you want (it could be your ideal client…the amount you want to charge….or anything else). Your description of what you want needs to be so crystal clear that the cops could catch it and bring it right to you. No case of mistaken identity.I know that’s a little crazy of an example but it’s usually one people get.
- End the Conflict Between Your Needs and Wants. When I finally faced the fact that I was the only person who was going to create the outcome I wanted I was then able to start uncovering why I wasn’t as successful as I dreamed of being and as people told me I “should” be.As I thought about what I was doing and what I wasn’t doing along with the results I wanted, I realized that my needs were getting in the way of my wants.This was a powerful aha.I’ll give you the biggest example.I want to make money. I want to serve people and I want to be handsomely rewarded for the work I do.
But I had lost my sales mojo.
I would just not get into sales conversations.
Why? Because I had a fear of rejection tied to my need to be loved.
So the “want” — money, impact – wasn’t going to happen with the business model I had constructed as long as my fear of rejection and rear of being unloved and unlovable was there.
As long as I feared rejection I wouldn’t take the chance of being rejected.
As soon as I created a model and adopted the belief that I’m sharing information and people either want it or they don’t, the pressure came off me. Also, I realized that looking for love from my clients is a big mistake. Business is business and people saying no to me wasn’t a rejection of me personally. But hearing no is depressing so I needed to develop skills and design a business model that minimized my reliance on a sales process.
- Make Peace with the Past. This is a truism we may not want to face but we’re the product of our past in addition to our DNA.And “unfinished business” as therapists, coaches, and counselors call it can haunt us into our adult lives.I know because it happened to me.I had adopted strategies that were pretty effective at navigating life as a child in an emotionally abusive home.As I got older and started to work for emotionally abusive bosses, I used some of the old strategies and developed some new ones.
For example, I decided that if I did everything perfectly as a child then my mother wouldn’t have any reason to yell at me.
That’s a pretty reasonable bit of logic for a 7 year old to make and in my mind it provided some level of protection.
Unfortunately we know perfectionism will hold you back as an adult.
Another strategy I adopted as a child was I wouldn’t speak unless I was spoken to. And it helped that that was a cultural norm for children in my generation anyway.
So while if I didn’t say anything that would draw attention to myself or upset my mom’s emotional applecart the child version of me felt she was doing a good job of self-protection; the adult in me who doesn’t speak unless spoken too can struggle to make connections with strangers. That makes business building activity like networking difficult to impossible.
Once I recognized this pattern of behavior I was then able to examine the connection between my conflicting needs and wants while choosing new strategies that were appropriate for life as an entrepreneur.
Next week, I’ll share the next 5 steps to building a courageous business life. For this issue, your cocktail – or reflection – exercise is to reflect on each of these 5 steps and gently reflect on how they currently present themselves in your life and behavior. It could be a lot, a little, or a moderate amount.
And your action step for this week is to start a notebook or journal where you can begin to get clarity on what you really, truly want – in business and in life.
Until next week, keep moving towards your goals and don’t let anything stand in your way.