18 Mar Speedbumps and Losing Focus – How to get back on track
“Jesus buddy, don't you have a chapter in your book on speedbumps and business?”
That was the first thing out of my friend Stephen’s mouth when we sat down for lunch last month. I was complaining about business and the situation I found myself in. In Stephen’s usual sympathetic/sarcastic voice he reminded me that I preach about this stuff. He was right.
I had a wakeup call in my business when I realized that I have too many eggs in one basket. As an entrepreneur, I need to be diversified.
As much as I teach, coach and talk about this stuff…sometimes I’m not very good at it. I would like to share how I got stuck and what helped get me out.
For the last 2 years, I have been working closely with one particular client and it took over the majority of my focus and time. As a result, I had a less diversified client base than I should.
Recently there was a change with the client that put my business with them at risk. I went into a tailspin and found myself in a place where I could not see an upside. I was stuck and everything around me seemed dark.
The interesting part of being stuck, is I was pushing away people that were trying to help me. As much as they were throwing me lifelines, I was throwing them back and continued to wallow in my sorrow. I spent a few weeks in the self-pity waiting for people to reach out and feel sorry for me. “Poor Michael, he has worked so hard to get where he is, he doesn’t deserve this”, or “This is so unfair, don’t people understand that you deserve more. So inconsiderate of them”.
I was stuck in a box, and to be more precise, I was stuck in an “I deserve” box.
If you want to learn more about boxes and how we justify ourselves, I encourage you to read The Anatomy of Peace by the Arbinger Institute. This is one of the books that changed my life for the better in recent years.
I was stuck in this cesspool of stink and rejecting everyone’s attempt to help me. We have all been there at one point in our lives. Whether from a loss of a loved one, divorce, getting fired, laid-off, restructuring, corona virus pandemic or as simple as a flat tire on our car. You can probably relate to the feeling. How do you get out? I can share what worked for me and I hope there is some wisdom in it for you.
The first thing was to realize I was stuck and refusing help. I discovered this when a friend was giving me suggestions for my next step and I was rejecting all of their ideas. I was closed to anything that wasn’t packaged exactly how I wanted to hear something. I noticed I wasn’t curious about anything and being negative towards the person. I remember getting defensive and feeling like the person was trying to control me. That was a red flag that I was in a box.
The next step was to accept that I needed help and I couldn't do this alone. I reached out to a bunch of people for help
I knew I needed to lean on someone to help me out of this mess and I wasn’t sure exactly what I needed, I just knew I needed to hear from different people. I probably reached out to about 10 people and in the end connected with 4 of them. Each person gave me something different and slowly I started to work my way back to a good place.
Julie helped me remember what is important to me and what inspires me. She helped me see that I get inspired working with other people, collaborating and sharing. From Patrick and Kris, it was more of tough love where they pointed out that I knew what I needed to do, I just needed to get off my sorry ass and do it. I need to make those difficult prospecting calls, I need to talk to people about what I do and how I can help them and I needed to promote my services.
When I talked with other entrepreneurs like Bill & Stephane, it sparked ideas of creative ways of getting out there and promoting my business. I need to put myself out there more and seek out speaking opportunities whether pro-bono or paid – it doesn’t matter, it’s about getting my message out there.
Each person gave me something different and little by little it brought me back. I stopped rejecting the offers for help and threw myself into the unknown, open to whatever came from it.
One needs to be open to the help that’s needed. It’s a vulnerable place where we need to put aside our armor of protection to reveal our true selves. From there we are able to see the help being offered and accept it.