Leader unknown

Leaping Into the Unknown

I was busy. There were projects that needed my attention. There were relationships I need to continue to nurture. But more than anything I needed to take time away from the day-to-day of my business, to assess my progress as a business owner, discover any unknown bad habits, and get support.

I belong to a mastermind program to support me as a leader and business owner.   Within this program I have clear documented goals and milestones with which to measure my progress. The funny thing is if I’m not hitting my milestones I can find several very good reasons for why that is, and why everything is still perfectly fine even if it’s not what I want.

Over the weekend I hit the part of the program that requires me to leave Maine, fly to southern California, and work on my business rather than in my business. The crazy part is that I put my “everything is fine” and “I’ll figure it out” reasoning in a room full of leaders and coaches who are dedicated to supporting me and the success of my business.

To top it off, we started the weekend setting intentions and letting each other know how we can be supported in achieving our stated intention.

My request, “Say what needs to be said. If something I say doesn’t sound right, call me on it.”

And they did. Directly, lovingly, and with patience as I squirmed in my seat, broke out in a sweat, opened and closed my mouth at a loss for words.

It’s uncomfortable! It is counter intuitive to our egos, but to find the blind spots and reach the next level of success we have to take ourselves out of our current environment, and place ourselves into the hands of a capable, objective observer who is committed to our success and not our egos.

Making the Unknown Known

There were several problems I was able to discover and discuss, and as a result, able to put a solution into action.

Problem: I tend to want to produce the high-end, high-quality, perfectly polished version of any endeavor. This requires money and a level of expertise I don’t currently have and so I suffer in confusion and indecision and accomplish very little.

Solution: Just start. It doesn’t have to look good. It just needs to get done. This is how one hones a craft. A year or so from now I’ll have a great progression reel.

Problem: I gloss over how scared and uncertain I am. I want to “figure it out” before I share it. This gives me the appearance of calm, but no one knows I’m struggling, could use some help and that I feel alone.

Solution: Ask for help. Say exactly what I am feeling or thinking in the moment, even if I can’t articulate the thought or emotion at first, say that, and then give it my best shot. Eventually my experience starts to gel and I hit on the exact description. The solution often becomes clear in the conversation.

Problem: I put other people’s needs ahead of my own, to my own detriment. When I’m stressed and challenged in my own business helping someone else makes me feel better, but I fall behind in my own milestones and start the “it’s fine” talk in my head.

Solution: I can be of service to others but need to set boundaries so my business and my development do not suffer. No one is going to benefit if my business fails because I’m not getting my own needs met.

If you feel like you’ve slowed and are starting to plateau (maybe you’ve been there for some time?) it may be time to take a time-out to find those blind spots that are holding you back. Here are some of the signs:

  • You’re not happy with the progress you’ve been making (i.e. projects are falling behind or you have to work harder than you are happy about to complete projects on time).
  • You’re not getting the full support of your team or partners on your initiatives and can’t figure out why they don’t feel the urgency that you feel.
  • You’re starting to feel tired or burdened by all the work that needs to get done and you’re longing for your next vacation (if you allow yourself to enjoy time away).
  • You’re looking at your goals, six weeks into the New Year, and wondering how you’re going to accomplish them.

If any of this rings true for you, or you have more signs that you could add, comment below and let’s talk.