Growth isn't easy and we are not excluded from the struggle. At first it sounds wonderful - more of everything! It's positive. You're contributing to your community. You're creating jobs. You're growing! It should be like a plant - nothing but positivity and sunshine! Right? In truth, it hurts. Growth does mean more - more of your time, more of your resources and sometimes, you just don't have it. It takes more of your energy and time on top of the hours e you're already investing just to get the work done.
For years I've used the excuse, I don't have time to spend on marketing my own business. I relied heavily on client referrals and had enough work from those referrals to not worry about it. That has to change and is changing. In spite of everything this year has presented a growth opportunity. It's not one I saw coming at all. COVID-19 hit and for a bit I thought I might be looking at early retirement. But that's the rub. A problem is really just an opportunity in disguise and that opportunity became evident as businesses came creeping back to life. I had to make a decision - grow or maintain status.
You know what I chose - growth, of course! At first I basked in that warm glow of growth. Yes! I don't have to retire and I always love the smell of a new client and the challenge of helping clients through rough business waters. I love the challenge of growing when everyone expects the opposite.
Then reality hit. Wow. This is taking a lot of time. Time I don't have. And just like that the growth I looked forward to and worked hard for became a burden. It's sucking away what little time I have for my family, personal pursuits and spending time with friends. Even if I’m not working I’m thinking and worrying and not sleeping. Even downtime feels like work. We advise our clients on this all the time. We relish having clients with strong, specific, and clear growth goals. I advise them as though growth is so easy. It’s positive so it must be great - like a field of sunflowers. But someone has to pick those flowers.
It's during times like these that the challenge of it all eventually reaches down into my innate business soul and I hear my own words - Suck It Up. Do what you need to do to make it happen. Figure it out. You can't advise others about this if you can't do it for yourself. Be an example. Learn from others. Look to your mentors. Make a plan. Make a schedule. Stick to it and do it already.
I’m sharing our journey of growth. I'm right there with you. Whatever you're going through - the self doubt, the exhaustion, the uncertainty of the future, the over thinking the over thinking. I get it. So, let's do this together. I'm dedicated to treating my own business as I would a client. In fact, you need to treat your own business as the best client in the world. Be a reflection of what you advise to others. Be that example. Set goals and be realistic and yes, don't lose sight of yourself and your own personal priorities. At the end of the day, don’t forget to take care of yourself and your family. Do activities for personal care. Take care of yourself, too. Are you with me?
Here are some things that have been helping me during this growth spurt:
Reevaluating the structure of my schedule and optimizing “head down” time.
Recognizing when I need to sign off and step away
Being vocal with my family and my staff about my experiences
What’s your advice? What’s your experience? Do you have growing pain stories you want to share? I want to hear them. Let’s help each other.