My week of international travel couldn’t have come at a better time. Things have been cruising along here at Aligned Entrepreneurs, and my super-human tendencies had started to get the best of me. I have recently added a fantastic new feature to my premier coaching program, AMPLIFY. It’s called “Aligned Entrepreneurs University” (AEU), and AEU consists of a comprehensive business curriculum which is beyond anything I’ve seen, and is intended to provide full support of my awesome clients.
I’m teaching all the solid business concepts an entrepreneur needs, but with a few core distinctions. One, they all come from a perspective of operating in alignment with YOU. This means each area of your business that you develop will first be put through the ‘what works for YOU’ test and I guide you to adjust the business strategies according to YOU.
Two, the courses are designed to be taken when YOU need them, not when your coach decides to teach them. This allows me to coach you in the most important skill in business… decision-making. More specifically, on how to decide your priorities.
I’m beyond excited about this because I’ve seen the inside of coaching businesses that create client dependence and actually cripple people’s decision-making skills, and I am about something different than that. So I’m giving choices with high-level guidance on how to choose.
BUT… here’s the real deal with that.
I’ve created a lot of work for myself. A lot.
It’s work that will continue to reap rewards for several years to come, for me and my awesome clients, and its still work.
I could tell you about how great I am at getting things done (I am) or how I believe in the content of this curriculum (I do), but that doesn’t matter. What matters is that I’ve allowed my vision, my ambition, and perhaps a touch of ego :), to make my life harder for the next six months.
I wouldn’t change any of those decisions, but what I would do (and will do) is get real about what I’m dreading, and new boundaries and systems I need to create to accommodate this goal.
How about you, what do you dread?
What have you created in your business (or life), maybe because you’re highly ambitious and get very excited, that now causes you to dread the new creation, or other parts of your business that aren’t as fun as the new creation?
As I come back from being out of the country for a week, intentionally unable to quickly respond to emails on my phone, or spend my ‘down’ time planning three steps ahead in my business, I can see with fresh eyes some things I need to change to make room for the proper creation of Aligned Entrepreneurs University.
The Yes, And Pitfall and the Hedgehog
When I occasionally bring improv instructors into my retreats, we often play a game called ‘Yes, And.’ Yes, And is a great concept for improv… critical even. It’s also a great concept for sales conversations.
Prospect, “That’s a big investment.”
You, “Yes, and I know you can use this to get what you want.”
But Yes, And doesn’t work when it comes to your business.
As I was traipsing around Banff National Park this week, mostly in my car due to an abundance of bear sightings, I plugged in an audiobook version of “Good to Great” by Jim Collins. He has this thing he calls the hedgehog principle. In short, the hedgehog principle has to do with a disciplined focus on your key priorities. (Generally ONE big focus).
When we play the ‘yes, and’ game in our business, we lose our hedgehog factor, we are spread too thin.
Yes, I’ll do that, and that, and that, and this new thing too…
No wonder you don’t take a real weekend, or have any more hobbies, or take time to create intimacy with your spouse! You are ‘yes, and’ing yourself to death!
It’s easy to do. I JUST DID the same thing back in March when I created AEU.
I added the creation of two new, in depth, high level, high quality courses, from scratch, EACH MONTH. Which is completely fine. But I didn’t make room for it. What I needed to say was, “Yes, and I’m willing to let go of X, Y, and Z to make it happen.’
I’ll Let Go If You Will
Coming back from vacation I’ve identified three things I can let go of, or create new boundaries around, to make space for AEU. I’ll share in case this is helpful to you as an example, and then I want you to think about yours.
- I am becoming a 4-day a week company!
Announcing this here makes me a little queasy… for me it’s kind of a big deal. I’ve thought about it for years and resisted because I LIKE to work 5 days. And I love to create and write and learn on the weekends. What would I do with an extra day off? Becoming a 4-day a week company is about creating power and efficiency during the work week, and an extra day for creation that doesn’t involve getting online, and doesn’t encroach on my personal life. Besides, boundary decisions also make you unique. I actually went to school 4 days a week growing up – they found it to be more efficient – and that made me pretty unique!
- Develop a system for newsletters for the next 4 months that requires no more than 15 minutes of my time. 🙂
You’ll still get great content, and I’ll still be right here with you. I’ll just be focusing my attention to my paying clients first for the next few months. I don’t have the system yet, but I do have a few ideas for a system that can repurpose the work I’m doing without taking additional time.I’ve been writing newsletters weekly for 6 years straight, and the last three weeks I’ve literally forgotten to write it. In fact I write this right now past the time I should have gotten it to my team. This is a signal that this is a piece of what needs to shift right now.
- New short-term calendar boundaries.
The only people who get on my calendar are: Team, Private Clients, and someone who has paid for my time via a paid strategy session. In my normal course of business I have calls with potential JV partners, with prospects who inquire about working with me, and sometimes with people who just ask. I’m all about connection, and it is super important, and I like to be generous. But for the short term, as I focus on my top priorities of delivering top-notch retreats and coaching programs, it needs to go.
These are some examples that hopefully have you thinking. What are some things you can let go of, or create some more intention around, in your own calendar?
Master and Systematize
When I teach marketing, which I call “Client Connection,” I recommend choosing no more than THREE strategies at any given time. Your newsletter, or keep-in-touch mechanism is one of the strategies for almost everyone. This leaves room for two more. Speaking and video training. JV list building and webinars. Especially in the beginning you don’t want to try to learn too much.
Once you learn how to do something and you know just how it works for you (i.e. you’ve mastered it), then you can put it into a system That means you have someone on your team do it, or you use technology to do it for you, or some combination. Then and only then, when you’ve let something go, do you have room to bring in something new.
Reason, Season, or Lifetime
We’ve all heard the idea that people come into our life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. The email that went around about this has to do with embracing what is and having it be OK.
The same is true for your business priorities. Some of them are short term, one-time, and will be gone. E.g. you want to bump up your cash flow by adding two private clients. You ‘launch strategy sessions’ to your list, fill the two spots, and move on.
Some of them are systems you are going to put in place that you will always do. E.g. in your ideal business model, you want 10 private clients that you talk with twice a month, so you always need 20 sessions in your calendar every month.
And most often, you’ll be focusing on something for a season. Like me creating and recording new content. If I thought of making room to do this all the time indefinitely, it would not be doable for me to make that room in my calendar all the time. But for the next 4 months, I can shuffle things to make it happen. And then a new ‘seasonal’ focus will come into place.
When you can start to actually THINK about your business priorities in this way, you can take your power back, stop being victimized by your schedule, and make the bold moves you know you need to make to become the business of your dreams. 🙂