A couple of years ago, I heard a guest on a podcast say that you can’t level up your business using the same skills that brought you to your current level. It sounded true to me then and it sounds true to me now because I’m living it out. It also applies to more areas than growing a business.
My go to strategy
Here’s how it plays out for me. I enjoy taking risks. I have so much risk tolerance that I approach new things like this: Ready, Fire, Aim, jumping into the next thing and taking off. That’s how my coaching career started.
I didn’t even spend a lot of time agonizing over what I was going to do after teaching. I trusted it would come to me, and it did. When my friend, Christina, suggested that I become a career coach, I jumped all over it. Why? Because it felt right. I left teaching and the next month I had my first coaching client.
That was 37 months ago. Today my business is growing steadily, but I have to level it up so I can continue to coach. For me, that entails doing the work that I’m not as good at. Of course, I need to keep networking (hooray – my favorite next to actually coaching), but I also have to get serious about marketing.
Serious, as in, create a marketing plan and execute it. Execute it. I have no problem creating the plan. I create the plan, develop the content, sometimes I even remember to work out the SEO (search engine optimization so you, dear reader, can find my work), and then I stop. Full stop. It’s that dadgum resistance to change. Remember the resistance? It’s the gremlin that wants to keep us where we are. It rears its annoying head when we venture out of our comfort zone.
I cannot even tell you how frustrating it is to fight the resistance. I will literally be sitting at my desk where I’ve created a great email about a class or a product, and I don’t send it out. Instead, it lays in wait on my hard drive, waiting for me to find my faith somewhere – in following the process, in my growth mindset, in my resilience so I can send that campaign out into the world.
Do you see the two issues here? First, I have to execute a plan. Second, I have to trust the universe with my plan and let go of the result. Did you notice I didn’t have any problem doing that when I jumped into coaching? I just jumped in with both feet. And yet…. I refused to follow the business plan I wrote. I ignored the excellent advice I received from professionals, including a core concept of online marketing: producing my content (blog) on a regular basis.
So, my business grew a little. In my first 18 months as a coach I made barely any money. I’m not telling you how much because you’ll faint. It was that bad. But at that 18th month, something happened. I started attracting more clients. I had more months with revenue than those without. Bet you can guess why.
Yep. I buckled up and wrote a blog post every single week, whether I felt like it or not. I created a social media calendar so I shared other people’s articles every single week. And people started contacting me. People I didn’t even know. They found me through Google (remember the SEO?) because I was creating content regularly.
Go into the void and level up
I put those blog posts out in the world – or into the void as I call it many days – and trusted that it would work. I reconciled myself one of the things that makes me insane. When I publish my blog posts, I rarely receive input from readers about whether or not they enjoyed reading them. And it makes me crazy.
Here’s something you may not know about me, I need feedback, I crave input, I thrive on brainstorming and constructive criticism, and the work I put out every single week goes out into the void. Silence. And I do it anyway. Every time I write a blog I get smarter, grow a little, write a little better (I hope so, anyway), show faith in the universe one more time.
Do the thing you’re not good at
We all have similar experiences. We all get to the place where we’re floating along. Maybe we’re doing okay, maybe we’re stuck. But the one thing that will move us forward is the thing we don’t like to do. The thing we’re not really good at. And it’s just so hard to trust that doing this thing will actually make a difference.
Listen. Do we really even want it to make a difference? Wouldn’t we be vindicated in some way if we did that one thing and it didn’t work? You know that in our heart of hearts, we’re scared to do that thing that’s not our best thing. We know how to trust our best thing. It’s kept us moving forward up til now. We know how to act and how to re-act in the context of doing our best thing.
Here lies the rub
You and I are not willing to settle for where we are now. We don’t want to stay stuck, ever. Why? Because we are blessed with a mindset that insists that we keep growing, that we get out of our comfort zone, that we do whatever it takes, no matter how scary or painful, to get to the next place.
So we send that email, let our friends know we’re looking for a job, take that class, raise our hands for that promotion. We do it because we know we have to so that we can level up our lives and our careers. We do it because we know we can trust the universe, even when we don’t trust ourselves.
Be ferocious, go ahead and do that thing!