Last week, my very good friend, Michael Langlois reminded me that I had not posted on this blog for over a month.
Thanks, Mike, for that awesome reminder that it looks like I am slacking over here. (Mike didn’t mean it that way..I don’t think…).
Anyway, since my poor organizational skills screwed up a meeting I had with Mike today, I was INSPIRED to write a post about the process of change. Because I blame that process for why my blog has been so quiet. So there.
All Growth = Change
If you are a parent, or even if you ever had a puppy or kitten, you know that when little things grow, they change.
I see this daily with my son. A month ago, he was a resistant reader, this week he’s asking the reading teacher for more strategies to read better. Huh. He’s also gained 60 lbs and grown 42 inches since he was born, too.
And we know that all of this growth isn’t smooth sailing. There have been tantrums, setbacks, frustrations and general disgruntlement as we all navigate his growth. There will be lots more of that fun stuff to come as he heads into adolescence as well. Yay.
So with people (and furbabies) we understand and navigate a lot of growing pains.
Your Business is Growing–Ouch!
The same growing pains exist in our businesses, too. The reality is we, as business owners, need to stretch and change as our business grows and it isn’t always smooth and it isn’t always pretty.
I talk to a lot of small business owners and each and EVERY ONE has a growing pains journey they have gone through. Trust me. Even those business “gurus” you see online have hit bumps. Some REALLY big bumps. Growing. Not easy.
Yet, we all put that good face forward, projecting the image of perfect business nirvana. We want to believe all of those smiling testimonials on everyone’s sales page, “This program changed my LIFE! I’m making so much more money!”
Which probably is true, but what they aren’t saying is,
“This program changed my life. I work with more focus and intensity and this scares the crap out of me. But it’s totally worth it because I make so much more money!”
A-ha!! Read that sentence up there again. That’s it folks. Information is important, working hard is part of the success, but it’s the people who can ride the EMOTIONAL roller coaster of building a business who will ultimately succeed.
And don’t be shocked, but lots of people give up their dream because they can’t cope with the emotional crap that comes with the territory.
Which is ok. Sometimes we have other stuff going on and taking on business anxiety is just not right for us.
And that means you need to examine your priorities and realities when change and growth challenges your emotional equilibrium.
Sometimes the reality is, you are anxious because you hate change, or things feel very unsettled internally and externally (maybe your website design isn’t coming along on schedule, for example. Not that I know anything about that personally).
But you need to gut check that internal feeling with reality. Are things really chaotic, crazy and out of control? Or do you just feel that way because the $%#@ website isn’t getting designed (again, this is just a hypothetical situation).
However, sometimes your anxiety is because you don’t have enough money in the bank to pay your rent. In that case your reality dictates that you should make business decisions that allow you to maintain your basic living conditions. And that might mean keeping your day job (or finding a day job).
Coping = No Blueprint
People love to buy “blueprints.” Or “systems.” We love the idea that someone can bundle up their success into a manageable whole and sell it to us to copy, paste and voila! money, success and fame are ours!
We invest in systems and blueprints to manage our anxiety about the unknown.
We think,”If Million Dollar Molly make it work with her blueprint, then I can learn from her and not feel so anxious and unsure.”
What Molly leaves out of her blueprint are the panic attacks at 3 AM. (Remember we ALL have them. Emotions are not a character flaw…)
So we start to follow the blueprint, we start to grow and change, we get anxious, can’t sleep, cry on a Saturday night and we feel like a loser. Because (we think to ourselves) if we can’t follow a damn (expensive) blueprint and not make this easy transition, we must be doing something wrong!
When the truth is if you are anxious, can’t sleep and occasionally cry on a Saturday night you are actually doing something RIGHT!!
You are growing, you are changing, you are stretching out of your comfort zone. Yay growth! Yay change! Yay discomfort! This means good things are happening…
And just like babies fall down 1000 times before they run on their chubby little legs, so you will struggle to make these big changes in your life.
The good news is you can choose to cope with change and growth. You can choose to be patient with yourself, not call yourself bad names for getting scared once in awhile. You can choose to take a day off to regroup, take a walk, eat something healthy (dark chocolate counts as healthy). You can choose to talk to a friend, hire a coach, and cope your little tushy off.
Or you can stop what you’re doing and get back into your comfort zone (which is totally FINE, too!).
But there is no blueprint. What works for me will not ever work for you…So you need to cope with that reality, too. No blueprint means you kinda have to make it up as you go along.
Damn it, this stuff is hard, but it doesn’t kill you. It doesn’t have to break you down.
What it will do is test your patience and the conviction of your passions and values. If you really want whatever you are building, you will stick it out.
Now I am off to take a walk, eat vegetable soup and celebrate the fact that I finally found a very cool web designer and a lawyer who understands online business, all in one day — tonight I will sleep well….But I may cry on Saturday, who knows? : )