3 Breakthroughs that Allowed My Success

I’ve been recently reflecting on some of the things I have overcome (mostly) that have allowed me to create a successful business. I’ve been meeting people who have reminded me to be grateful for moving past a few things that previously paralyzed me. They are important to really getting what you want and having more fun doing it!

Breakthrough 1: Being Someone Who Can Arrange Your Schedule

This seems so simple, but I remember back when someone asking me to do something would send me into a total panic.

I had a habit of taking on all kinds of commitments by default and filling up my schedule. I was completely unaware of my real commitments. I didn’t carefully choose how to spend my time in accordance with my values and priorities. In fact, I never took the time to identify my values and priorities. I just did what is expected.

At a certain point this way of operating began to break down. As I started to see new possibilities in my life, I was motivated to look at how I was making commitments (I actually had to intentionally focus on what I called “being selfish” for a year!).

I became someone who could evaluate a commitment coming in with all of the following options available to me (vs. the default “should” or “shouldn’t” decision-making I used to follow).

  • No – it’s not in line with my current commitment or I have a higher priority at that time (no excuse needed!)
  • Yes – it is in line with my current commitment and I’m available.
  • Yes – it is in line with my current commitment – I’ll have to change some things around to make it happen, but I know I can make it work.

If I had not developed this ability, I could never run a business and get the resources I need when I need them. I make 15 important decisions daily – if the old me were running my business I’d be stuck on Decision 1.

Two things to highlight:You’ve got to be able to communicate honestly.

  1. If you are a “no,” say that you are a “no” – don’t say maybe or I’ll get back to you. It makes you seem uncertain, and it does a disservice to the person you’re talking to.
  2. The “yes and I’ve got to arrange my schedule” takes courage. Sometimes you’ll have to ask for help (someone to pick up the kids after school). Sometimes you’ll need to graciously back out of an old agreement (I know I said I’d do X, but I’ve decided to do Y instead. Is there any way I can still meet my agreement but at a different time?). These things challenge our ego!
Breakthrough 2: Being a Leader, Follower, and a Support-Requester

I was always pretty good at taking the lead on things (which is different than being a leader). I remember hearing about how good leaders were people who were good followers also. I remember that message never landed for me, because I knew I wasn’t a good follower. They called me “Miss Take-Charge” in high school.

Then one day I got it. I really did have to follow to lead. And following could actually be a service. And not only that, so was asking for help!

“The biggest obstacle to discovery is the illusion of knowledge.”

I read that quote and it punched me in the gut. I wanted to live in the discovery. I wanted to be a good leader. I wanted to make the biggest difference possible. And I couldn’t do that by acting like I knew everything or could handle everything on my own. It was energetically off to try to do that.

I began to follow. I hired a coach who’d been there before me. Then I hired another one. I committed to follow.

I began to ask for support. It is the only way I could ever get everything done in my business. I’ve hired support. I ask them specifically and directly for what I need. I request informal support regularly, and this support gives me the strength and courage I need to continue.

This connects back to Breakthrough 1. Often the reason that scheduling would paralyze me is that I didn’t want to admit that I couldn’t do it all. I didn’t want to burden anyone with my needs to rearrange.

You can’t be a leader that way. Are you willing to follow, ask for support, and get the resources you need when you need them?

Breakthrough 3: Being Someone Who Creates from the Future and Makes It Happen

I was working with one of my private clients this week on an event she is planning. We “reverse-engineered” the schedule of what needed to get done. Two weeks later we got on the phone, and she was two weeks behind schedule.

Here’s what had happened.

Rather than doing WHATEVER IT TAKES to make her goal happen, she decided instead to question the plan. To question whether or not it was really possible – whether or not it would work.

I was reminded and shared with her about when I used to do this too.

I didn’t recognize the power of “if you build it, they will come…” or whatever your version is for the project you are working on.

I was so used to living in a paradigm of looking for someone else’s approval of my ideas, my projects, my actions, that it was just normal for me to take the one next action, wait to see how people would respond, then maybe take the next one.

You cannot operate like this as a business owner.

You must take great care, and tap into your intuitive creativity, to envision the exact outcome you want.

You must make a plan as to how this will, ideally, unfold, and then go full-bore toward that exact plan. You must not honor any thought other than this plan is working. It is only after the fact that you can look backward and assess if the plan was successful or not. YOU CANNOT see it in the process. You cannot know how it will go if you don’t execute it. And you can’t execute it half way.

In other words – you must be willing to fail.

“Anything worth doing is worth doing badly, the first time.”

This quote got me through my first year in business. Are you willing to make a plan, based on the future you envision, and execute full-out with no evidence that it will work? If so, you’re ready to step into the next level of success. Congrats!

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