At a recent networking event, a couple of attendees (business owners) were commenting that it was too late to save their year. Too many barriers and challenges, some real and unavoidable and some self-imposed, to consider the year a success. As a coach, I of course challenged their thinking, asking them what would make the next 13 weeks a success if they put their minds to it. They were both a bit stunned by my question, and took a minute to reply. In the end they both identified things they could do to have a successful Q4, and strong end to a long year.
The reason I share this is that even in ordinary times, too many business owners let the challenges and struggles of the past impact their efforts and potential success in the future. Growing a business is hard, it really is, and growing a business profitably can be even harder, yet success is always there if you push through the challenges. The biggest wins often come from break throughs, break downs, break aparts, or break withs. Growth and success in business (and life) often happen in steps, and most of the time you have to push through something significant to move up to the next step.
So how do you push through to the other side when it seems impossible? Well, here are 3 ways I help my clients succeed.
1. The first method is setting and focusing on long-term goals and vision – you WHY, your PURPOSE, whatever you want to call it, that thought and the associated emotions that help you get up in the morning. When clients get despondent or distracted, I often ask “So Client, have you decided to give up on <insert goal/purpose>?” You can ask yourself this same question too.
If you don’t have a clear Why/Purpose, I suggest you work on developing this to get you through the tough days/weeks. Owning and growing a business is hard, and if you don’t have a clear higher purpose for all this hard work, the setbacks and challenges may become too much. Once you have it, read it at least twice every day, once when you start your day and once right before you go to bed.
2. The second method for growth and success is letting go of yesterday, last week, last month, the last 18 months. They are what they are, there is nothing you can do to change what has already happened. Just before letting go, I want you to revisit the challenges one more time, not to feel bad or wallow in them, to LEARN from them. I guarantee that if you CHOOSE to, you can find a nugget or two that you can apply going forward.
Now let it go and focus on what you CAN do starting today, not worrying about what you can’t do. Remember, you are where you are, you can’t change how you got here. What you can do is change where you will be the end of the day today, or next week or next month. Identify the thoughts that are holding you back and change them to something more productive for you, your business and your life.
3. The third method for achieving success is to establish clear priorities and goals for the next time period – week, month, quarter, pick a timeframe. I always start with priorities, as they are easy to remember, easy to share with your team if you have one, and make it easy to bring yourself back to the task at hand when you get distracted. After you establish your Top 3-5 priorities (fewer if your timeframe is less than a quarter), then set goals that are both aligned with your priorities and growth/success oriented. Make sure they are positive and move you forward towards your long term Why/Purpose. Make sure they are results-oriented and stretch you and your business a bit. Make sure they are realistic based on where you are right now, and that achieving them is motivating.
As I said above, growing a successful business is hard, even without the unexpected obstacles the world throws at us sometimes. There are always hard choices and important decisions to make, and it is easy to let the world distract us and disrupt our business for longer than necessary.
If you’d like help taking stock of where you are and where you are going, and the identifying the first few steps to get you going there, I would like to help. To get your free (and zero obligation) 30 minute success strategy session, simply find a time on my calendar and let’s get you started down the path – it’s NEVER too late. https://calendly.com/markmcnulty/business-owner-strategy-session
Author: Mark McNulty, Business Coach in Louisville, KY