Here’s “small business growth killer #1,” and it’s a point of view that pertains to a lot of people, probably most of us at some time. Since I’ve been there too, I’m putting it in first person.
“Things aren’t working well for me now, and I’d really like to make my business work better. So I take steps to make that happen. But secretly I’m afraid there’s no solution. There’s nowhere to go. I’m on a downward track and it’s only a matter of time till I crash and burn. It’s scary to even look at that. I’m doomed! I’m stupid for going down this wrong track for way too long. I’m going to have to give up everything I’ve done and shift to a whole new business model. I’m way too old for this. Why didn’t I do this years ago? Look at all the opportunities I’ve missed! What a dunderhead I am! I’ll never learn. I’m doomed. I just want to crawl into a hole and forget about it. Why can’t I win the lottery?!? “
Now even if I don’t have these thoughts consciously, they’re running in the back of my head when I wake up at 3:00am.
But this below-the-surface negative energy detracts from my positive “go-get-‘em” energy, so making progress becomes a real slog. I’m constantly sabotaging myself by missing deadlines and dropping commitments. This happens because I have to drag this load of negativity around with me all the time.
What can I do about this? First of all, I can ‘fess up. Tell someone what’s going on in my mental back room. Someone credible. Not someone who will give me sympathy, and bemoan how tough things are. Not someone who’ll make a negative judgment about me. Not someone who then tells me their own hard luck story. It needs to be someone who will listen, then say, “I get it. Now what are you going to do about it?”
That’s the “business therapy” function of The Business Group. It makes a huge difference to our members who confide in their peers. I unload my sad story and fears onto them, and instead of sympathizing or judging, they problem-solve. They say, “Why don’t you do B instead of A?” I often find that my group has given me a $10,000 idea! My business improves. The negative load is lifted — at least until the next thing comes along.
Or my Business Group members may say, “The old way isn’t working. Looks like you need to change your business model. We give you permission to do this. No blame. What would work better for you? What would it take to do that? What are the next steps? How could we support you? What do you commit to do by the next meeting?” This takes a significant load off me. Then I can look around and notice opportunities I couldn’t see before because I was so blinded by fear and resistance. Then, I think, “Wow! I could do that!” And so I do.
A wise anecdote states, “When you are ready, the Universe will provide for you.” What this means is, if I open my eyes, I’ll notice things that were there all along. I meet a great connection. Someone calls out of the blue. “Create your own luck” means stop wallowing in bad luck and apply my talents in a way that people who appreciate what I offer can connect with me. Hire me. Pay me big bucks. Thank me profusely.
There’s nothing like a run of enjoyable, appreciative, lucrative clients to dispel the fear of failure!
But I must be careful not to bury my head in my work again, pull in my opportunity antennas, and once again start down the slope to, “It doesn’t work.” This is why The Business Group has regular planning workshops, review sessions, and monthly commitments. To keep all of us honest, happy, and prosperous.