Do you run a business? Self Employed or have an Executive role in a major company? If so, this article is for you. It explains how one lady turned her life and fortunes around and how you might avoid needing to.
Jenny was really bereft. In another language, totally stuffed. Her business collapsed leaving her with a huge pile of hard work, massive worries and a personal accountability way beyond what appeared to be her means. She couldn't even pay my consulting fee, but at least she was up front about it.
I don't work for free. People get what they pay for in life, and good advice doesn't come cheap. So, Jenny and I worked out a way and then got on with the job of rebuilding her enterprise.
Step 1. Work Out What Went Wrong and make sure we close that potentiality for the future. Simply put, we evolved her by learning from the past. That's essential if we want to make the past the past. If we don't learn why stuff happened in the past, we either fear it happening again or stay stuck in the past. Just look at business people whose business is repeating and repeating old mistakes. To get past the past, learn from it. Jenny and I went through every step of her business and how things would have been different if she'd done things different. She learned, it was, in her words "almost worth failing to learn all that."
Step 2. No More Ground Hog Day .. Reinvent Yourself Often.. many people find themselves digging their way out of struggles and simply hoping for recovery, to get out of desperate places. They say things like "I just want to be free of this mess" or "If only I could free myself up from this crap" .. Jenny was no different, so I explained to her that escaping desperation is no way to create what she wants. What she really needs to do is to take a weekend to go into suspended animation and find a new picture, new vision of the future she wants to create, not based on escaping the drama, but on building success. We did this sitting by the beach for two whole days just talking, visioning and creating the model of the enterprise she wanted to create. It wasn't the same as the old one, we'd learned from the past, it was new and exciting but leveraged the past. (nature never destroys the past, she just builds new future's on top, greater in consciousness (smarter) less in number (simpler).
Step 3. Clean the Pipes... Sure Jenny was in the poo in her current situation and she was dragging that desperation wherever she went, including the future. That's like trying to put water through a blocked pipe, pressure builds up, hard work in business language - get put in but barely anything comes out. So, we needed a pipe cleaner. We sat for a day and cleared every fear, every disappointment, every insecurity, until we found all the order in her chaos, linked all outcomes to a cause and dealt with the causes. By the end of the day, I was looking at a woman ten years younger, with that child like spark in her eyes. Energy was back, not forced, just unblocked.
Step 4.. Healthy EGO.. When Jenny got into business she was enthusiastic about creating the company but in some wonderful way, detached. However, bit by bit she started to take everything personally, mainly because it was personal, and her personal assets were sucked into the business mix .. a big mistake ... what we needed to do was put a distance between Jenny and her business that would allow her to work on, not in her company. In other words .. give her some ego space. To do this, I simply raised the level of the horizon. Instead of a business vision, we created a life purpose for Jenny. A purpose bigger than herself. Now, all seven areas of her life had visions, which we all very personal and included the word, I, but there was something bigger, a bigger motive, an inspiration and that inspiration, her purpose was transportable across any area of her life. A sudden calm came over Jenny, a confidence I'd not seen in her before. Even her husband was awestruck and somewhat confronted by her new found sense of detachment.
Step 5. BE Real. A vision's purpose is to get what's in Jenny's head and heart, out and down onto paper. It's an artistic process because this vision is a picture in the mind, so sometimes we are best to draw, cut or paste pictures on the wall in order to jump the gap between mind's eye and real eye. We did it. She cut out thousands of magazine pictures, some for each of the seven areas of life. She also worked along the sequence of BE, DO, HAVE so there were seven areas of life, and three layers to each area. We hired a conference room, plastered the walls with pictures and got out the video camera and recorded Jenny, tearfully painting this magnificent story of where she would be in years to come. It took most of the day, but now, we sent the audio of the video to a transcribing service and there was a document, an amazing document, Jenny's dream, Vision, Inspiration and Purpose.
Step 6. Turn Energy into Rocket Fuel. Because all the six human senses must work together to create a vision, we did a bunch of things for Jenny to make sure she would stay aligned. We didn't want her head in one place, her eyes in another, her ears another ... we wanted all Jenny's resources working together in harmony, not arguing. So, we created an audio of her vision for her iPhone, a video for her TV, some photos for her wall, and then, stunning as this might be for some to hear we associated taste and smell with it. We chose one healthy sweet she loved "dry ginger" and one fragrance, an essential oil to burn in the office, use in her car, and have at home. Her six senses were awake and tuned, 100% recruitment of even her subconscious brain. Now the energy was rocket fuel.
Step 7. Time to focus... Jenny, like most people, loved adrenalin. She loved the uppers and the downers of the roller coaster ride of business. She loved it. On the other hand she hated the roller coaster ride of her domestic relationship, health and mental anguish. So, it was time for a wake up for Jenny when we sat down an linked her uppers at work to her downers at home. Suddenly work wasn't work, and home wasn't home, and what happened in each place became linked through cause and effect. Suddenly Jenny recognised that she'd been blaming so many things for her unhappiness when really, 99% of it, was consequential. Consequential on Jenny's mistaken expectations. TIme for a reality check. It took a week. Time after time Jenny dropped back into her old model of seek uppers blame downers, and think smart hate dumb. It took a huge effort but finally after just a week Jenny started to see balance everywhere. She finally knew that the principles that build great business, kill great relationships. She had an epiphany, and with it, an overwhelming sense of focus. No more wasting time trying to create myth with real expectations of life, Jenny got on with cutting out wasted time.
Step 8. Prioritise - Be Smart Don't Make it Harder than it Needs to be.... Now comes the coal face. Time for Jenny to take the big picture of her vision, inspiration and purpose and start translating this into her daily routine. We talked long and hard about how, if you do the right things every day, you eventually get where you want to go. She realised that about 70% of what felt great everyday, would never, ever ever result in the outcome she was working to create. For example: she'd spend hours talking about irrelevant things, go to exercise classes that occupied her best working time, spend too long giving free advice and some of her relaxation activities were just rhetorical band aides rather than real recuperation. Her focus became effectiveness, and targeting what she did and the time she spent with the outcomes she dreamed. We worked hard on this: creating four top priorities for her day: design, manufacture, promote, explore. Each task she did had to fit one of those groups which were her four top priorities. She delegated the rest.
Step 9. Systematise... too much of what Jenny did was still manual. Her clients ordered by sales rep contact, her order system had mechanics involved, her accounts needed hand held management. I made a rule for Jenny, "anything that gets done the same way more than three times, becomes a system" She became emphatic about this, creating automation, systems and APPS for clients. She cut 70% of the workload that was distracting her focus simply through automation.. Organise, Supervise, Deputise... Jenny complained "I used to be busy, and that, in spite of the stress used to make me feel productive and useful. Now, I don't have much to fill the hours I have and it's confronting to earn so much money doing what feels to be so little. It's a miracle to cut out the repetitive rubbish that didn't need to be reinvented every day."
Step 10 Make it Sustainable ... Jenny carried a few extra kilo's and looked 10 years older than she needed to. She was not a shining example of the wonderful life a self employed entrepreneur can be. We needed to re-invent Jenny. First, I helped her find her body constitution. She's a water element and with that came a huge aha. She'd been spending half her time imitating her icons and heroes trying to emulate people whose whole constitution was different to hers. It's like trying to race a mac truck in a formula one car race. So much of Jenny's personal stuff had come from generic advice on management skills, leadership, diet, health and mind ... she is water element, and she can't change it. So, we simply gave her awareness of what's suits her constitution. With this, another piece of the puzzle fell into place and a whole heap of wasted time and energy was eliminated. Jenny spoke in awe "I am so angry about the time I've wasted trying to be someone I'm not. I just thought there was one management style, one best way... I've been trying to lose weight and be a good person but actually doing the complete opposite things to make it happen"
Step 11. Down TIme .. Shut up and Listen. Jenny had energy, she had incredible smarts, she was wise, and savvy... so why dod Jenny hit the brick wall? She hit the brick wall in business for many small reasons but the big one is that she stopped listening to herself. She stopped hearing her own voice. All she could hear were the noises and sounds of worry, anxiety, ambition, enthusiasm and drive. But there's another voice. Instinct, intuition or inspiration all add value in business life but stress blocks them or distorts them. Jenny needed more frequent time outs so she could hear herself think .. and to do that we created a sport goal. She'd do something she's always wanted to try and that has to be something that can be done easily each day (like running), is fun (like swimming) is intense (like tennis) and demanding (like rock climbing). Jenny lives near a park and in the park there's a gym and in the gym there's a Zoomba class.. wooo hoo Jenny took up dancing again. First step, learn the Zoomba system and then, well maybe she'll get back into some gymnastics or even rock climbing... but there needed to be a competitive element. Jenny set the goal .. Dance the Tango in Cuba... in 18 months...... for a week.... alone.
Step 12 ... Be Nice... what's now obvious to Jenny is that she became obsessed about building new business and didn't spend enough time being humble and thankful and careful for what she had. Jenny resolved to displace Happiness with Contentment as the core objective of her life. She realised that happiness is always a want and sure it's great, but contentment, the appreciation for what she has already got is where the love for life, work and family really comes from. This shift changed Jenny's life and I'm happy to say, changed the lives of those she loved too. Jenny now had a big vision, a purpose bigger than herself, she'd unblocked the energy pipes and made space in her day to use all her resources including those that come from silence. Jenny was back, just like she was when she was 5 years old...
Strange isn't it that we have to learn to be how we were...