I’m just back from a week in Belize and I’m committed to bringing “Island Time” home with me.
Here’s the Truth. Since DAY 1 in business, my goal in my work has been to stand for a world in which we don’t have to pretend to be someone we’re not to make money and have a great life. And, in fact, that when we really honor who we are we will make the biggest impact, because our unique ideas about life matter.
A big part of this commitment has to do with releasing the need to achieve. We don’t have to be the best to be great. We don’t have to outdo our neighbor to have an amazing life. We don’t even need to make more and more money. Though for some of this, big money is a part of our Personal Truth.
So what do we need?
We need to be clear about what matters most to us. It’s personal, and it’s important. And allowing for it requires two things – space and grace.
This is not a new lesson for me, but it’s one I learned again at a deeper level by connecting to the island time of Cayo Espanto in Belize.
Ask yourself – what if slowing down could actually speed you up?
Let me get raw about me and speed.
I like to move fast. I get bored easily. I’m a quick learner. I can be impatient. I like to have a measure of my success. I especially like to be better than other people.
There, I said it. I don’t have to win, but I do like to stay ahead. Big time.
In the game of business, money is the obvious measure of success. I love this because it’s so easy to measure. I also believe our profit is a reflection of our own growth as humans, service providers, and business owners. This is a fun and beautiful game to play.
And, like any game, we can play it from an energy of love and abundance, which is fun and beautiful, or one of fear and scarcity, which creates anxiety. In my years in business, I’ve done it both ways.
Winning, moving quickly, and pushing yourself from an ego-driven motivation will be neither fun nor sustainable. Trust me, I know. You can’t outrun your own fear of being inadequate. Ever. But you can face it with space and grace.
Allowing for Space and Grace is the bomb. And it doesn’t tend to be marketable. Who in their right mind will pay to go slower?
So let me be practical for a minute with the benefits of Space and Grace.
Bringing Space and Grace to Your Marketing Message
I have a funny role as a business coach centered around alignment. I want my clients to succeed and make money and make things happen quickly, because, well, that is what they want. Yet I know with 100% certainty that the way to choose a marketing message is not to bring pressure and stress to the decision, or even a formula for how to do it “right.” This will shut down your creativity. Your unique perception of life will go into hiding. It won’t feel safe to let the true, vulnerable, absolutely loveable and marketable you come to light. You’ll get a watered-down, follow-the-rules, people-pleaser version of your Truth. And while you might fool some people with it, deep down you’ll know it. And you absolutely will not sustain it.
With space and grace, you can choose a message for right now, without judging it too harshly or expecting it to do too much.
You’re not trying to rush to perfection, or leap to instant fame with a single tagline. You’re dancing in the process… playing your edge. You know that your decision is one that will allow you to learn, and you give yourself freedom to make another one. There’s no start and end point for clarity in your business. It can, will, and should grow as you grow.
Bringing Space and Grace to Your Business Goals
I just started reading a book, “Small Giants.” It’s about great companies that made conscious choices to keep their businesses smaller so that their businesses could meet very specific needs other than topline revenue growth. I’m not too far into it, but I already can’t wait to get back to it!
What I’ve picked up so far is each of these business owners had a moment when they stepped back and asked themselves, why am I really in business? Why am I doing this whole thing? They got to a moment in which they were faced with the choice to grow to a significantly different level, or to put their focus on other measures. They made hard decisions because they weren’t necessarily what traditional business advice would have told them to do. They chose instead based on quality of life goals, a desire to be the best at something specific, or a commitment to a specific employee culture, to name a few.
Now these are 9 and 10-figure businesses, but I’ve found the same applies for the service-based entrepreneur. There is a stage in which you need to focus on growing your revenue so you can hire a few people, pay for your technology, your travel, your marketing, etc. It’s good to learn from experts who’ve gone before you and model some things that work. But never forget why you’re in business.
Because you’ll get to stage in which you are bringing in multiple six-figures and you can choose where you spend it. And it will be easy to adopt someone else’s goals, because their model has worked for them. And you’ll scramble to hire whoever you can to save you from the business you’ve created. And you’ll get knocked out of alignment. You’ll be growing just to grow, because that’s what the people around you are doing and it seems important. But you won’t be grounded in your personal Truth.
As I said – I love the game of growing revenue. Absolutely love it. As I bring space and grace to planning, I know that my business model is about more than that. It’s right back to where I started. To stand for a world in which we don’t have to pretend to be someone we’re not to make money and have a great life. That is a foundation I can grow with.
If you didn’t have to grow just to survive, and you also didn’t have to grow just to grow, why would your company exist?
I see just as many people waiting to truly grow because they are clutching to their small amount of income from non-ideal clients and are unwilling to change, as I do people pushing their growth as fast as possible trying to outrun the pace of being average. Both camps make inaccurate decisions.
If you gave yourself space and grace, knowing your survival is certain, and knowing your growth rate means nothing about your value as a human being, what choices would you make about your business growth? Your business model, offerings, pricing, etc? Let these decisions reflect why you really exist, not some arbitrary rush to the finish line. Space and grace, baby.