It was a normal Tuesday afternoon and I was sitting in my home office, typing away, when it hit me:
I bet, if I tried really hard, I could squeeze into the very small space between my desk and the window. If I tried really really hard, and twisted my body into a pretzel AND held my breath, I bet I could do it.
You see, the freakouts don’t go away.
They become less frequent, yes.
They become easier to recover from, yes.
It takes time, consistency, accountability, and improving your personal learnability factor. (The learnability factor is one of the survival skills of the modern day entrepreneur. In a nutshell, it’s your ability to take ANY situation and grow from it. It’s easy to retreat into your shell, cinch down and SQUEEZE into a super small space between your desk and the window. This not-so-easy-and-totally-worth-it alternative is what will distinguish you from the coaches out there that are working way too hard, are way too stressed, and are serving way too few clients.)
As the Universe would have it, we often end up teaching what we most need to learn.
And it just so happened that I completed a call earlier in the day with one of my clients who is building this muscle for herself.
So, I asked myself the same question that I ask my clients, “What are the lessons for you here?” As I allowed my mind to shift to what I’m learning (and away from why my current challenge was a sure sign of my imminent demise), here’s what I came up with:
1. It happens.
To tell myself that I’ve magically reached the point of never facing my fears and insecurities again is pretty much a load of you-know-what. It happens, will continue to happen, and it’s actually a blessing if I choose to take a deep breath and strengthen my learnability factor. If it never happened again, I wouldn’t be challenging myself and I wouldn’t be growing (which is the opposite of what I want for me – and for you).
Another part of this lesson: Remember to breathe. Deep breaths are one of life’s best remedies that’s available to us, no matter where we are.
2. Have your marketing plan in front of you at all times. (And TRUST it.)
Action is the antedote to fear and overwhelm. When I can very clearly see that I know what I’m doing and that I have a consistent plan in front of me, the stress goes away.
I now have my 12 month calendar hanging on my wall that contains only my upcoming speaking engagements, networking events and the rest of my marketing strategy so that I know I’ve got a plan. And the plan works.
Prior to posting it on my wall, it was on my computer. That’s a great place for it except for when I need to see it right away.
In preparation and expectation of an inevitable future freakout, I posted it in an easy-to-see place.
Another thing about TRUST? My dry erase board clearly said, “I have space to welcome in 3 new and amazing clients.” After that, it’s a wait list to work with me (and as I type this up, that number has been changed to two).
3. Don’t go it alone.
It doesn’t have to be hard. As humans, we tend to make things harder than they need to be.
Stop doing that, OK?
Working with my business coach has saved me from being paralyzed with fear, overwhelm, and trying to squeeze into really small spaces in my office.
She’s helped to pull me up – and out – when I can’t see anything except for reasons pointing to the fact that I’ll be living under a bridge, eating ramen noodles in no time flat.
The mind is an amazingly powerful thing and when you are getting out of your comfort zone – which is exactly what you should be doing on a regular basis when you are building your business – your inner critic is going to go crazy. (The plus side here is that if you notice your inner critic speaking up more frequently, that’s a good sign that you are getting out of your comfort zone.)
Most business owners don’t build their dream business because they allow this voice to tell them to stop, play small, or that it’s not really possible. They allow this voice to tell them to wait, to invest in the support that they need LATER, and to ultimately stay stuck.
What my coach does for me is exactly what I do for my clients: Reconnect them (regularly) to their vision of an amazing life, challenge them to step forward, bravely, towards what they are being called to do, develop a marketing strategy that works, and strengthen their learnability factor because building a business is the most awesome, amazing, and scary self development journey you’ll ever go on.
Today’s challenge: Take a situation that felt like a “failure” or that didn’t go as you intended and translate it into 3 possible lessons below. I’ll be in the comments to cheer you on and challenge you to witness your own growth. Ready, set, go!