How are you feeling today? Let me guess... It's the second week back after the New Year, the Christmas tree has come down and the routine you thought you craved post Christmas is starting to feel a bit, well, routine. Already. The resolutions or intentions you set are starting to feel a bit too hard.
I like to call this the 'doubt dip'. The initial wave of enthusiasm you surfed in on is starting to ebb away as the reality of your calendar and your inbox take over again. AND, you haven't yet got far enough into your plan to give you the momentum to keep going. Your energy levels start to dip and you begin to doubt whether you're ever going to get there. Another few half hearted attempts await you before you give up altogether along with everyone else on the 17th Jan. The same goes for business, getting it right in the first few weeks are key to feeling like you've had a fast start.
Want to know how to be a better leader? Know this - leadership is everything you do.
At a recent panel discussion I went to, the question was asked - how do I find time to lead my team? When do I lead in between all of the other priorities I have? And the answer? Leadership is everything you do. Your team will look to you for cues and clues on exactly how you want your business to run. Every conversation you have with them or someone else, you are showing them how people have conversations in your business. Every decision you make, you are showing them how decisions are made and what the priorities are in your business. The way you deal with customers and suppliers is the way that customers and suppliers are dealt with in your business.
The one thing I hear time and time again from business owners both new and old, startup or established, big or small is a feeling of overwhelm. A feeling of doing too much, being in too many meetings, trying to succeed on too many fronts.
It's a common issue, and there's a common cause. Complexity is the downfall of many a business and business leader. In the pursuit of success we do as many things as we can to get the results we want. We launch as many products as possible through as many channels as we can, create as many connections as possible and try and be everywhere at once. It's a kind of commercial spread betting and in the start up stage, it kind of makes sense.
For a business to be sustainable it needs to make profit.
And so as your business starts to grow, the traditional start up model of 'sales at any cost' starts to become irrelevant.
Structure, process, systems. Three words that all have the tendency to make people’s eyes glaze over. But what if they’re exactly what you need to create the sustainable, profitable business you know you deserve? If you’ve done the start-up bit and you’re consistently making sales you will start to feel as though you’ve 'got a business’, but if you’re also still stuck in every bit of detail and you know it couldn’t survive without you then you've also got a millstone.
Whether I'm coaching business leaders or mums returning to work, I see one thing standing in people's way time and time again and that's FEAR.
It can very often be disguised as something else but it doesn't take much digging to find out what's at the root of it. Take indecision for example, what tends to be driving that is a need to ensure that we've chosen the right answer. Look at it the other way, and it's fear of choosing the wrong one. When you're running a small business (or a big one) your decisions matter exponentially, and it's quite likely that you'll have bitter experience of getting it wrong. As your business starts to grow the risks become greater and so does the fear.
I wrote a post last week asking working mothers what they struggle with most. It got nearly 200 responses, I couldn't keep up. As the responses started to roll in and I got chance to read them all, I noticed they fell into three main themes: mum guilt, time and focus, finances and childcare. It's time to drop the excuses ladies, if you want to take control of your career, you need to FIND A WAY.
If you're thinking about hiring a coach but don't know where to start, then you're not alone. The coaching landscape is incredibly confusing and extremely competitive. I posted on Facebook this week to do a bit of research on how people choose coaches and it garnered nearly 40 comments, many of which had various different descriptions of what coaching even is. It also attracted several other coaches trying to sell their services!
One of the main issues is that coaching seems to be a bit of a buzz word at the moment. The problem with that is, when people realise that they can add credibility to their offering by adding a word like coach, it becomes misappropriated time and time again. When everyone’s a coach, no one is a coach. I imagine it won’t be long before McDonalds rename their servers food selection coaches.
So if you think you might benefit from the help of a coach, but you don't know where to start, let me help you to cut through some of the crap!
Quite often I get half way through writing a blog post and realise I’m writing it as much to myself as anyone else. This week is no different, and you’re getting this late for precisely that reason! This week I’m writing about fear. It’s the ONE thing that stops you getting what you want. This week it was the one thing that stopped me writing this sooner, I was scared of getting it wrong, scared of not hitting the high standards I set for myself and scared that I wouldn’t be able to tackle this huge subject in few enough words to keep you interested. But here goes...
Think about what you most want in life, or for your career? Why don’t you have it yet?
These are questions I ask a lot. They kick off the coaching relationship. The responses I get are diverse and varied. Financial constraints, concern over what other people might think, a lack of experience or skills, low confidence, a feeling of trepidation, self doubt... no crystal ball!
I don’t know many people who love their job quite as much as I do. I come away from coaching sessions literally buzzing from head to toe. I know, I sound like a maniac, but honestly, there is nothing greater than seeing potential unlocked and dreams being allowed a chance to come true. It really can happen. With the right framework and mindset in place, it is possible to achieve whatever you want.
On the mindset point particularly, in my time as a coach I’ve noticed some recurring themes. To support my clients, I’ve also put many hours into finding out what the most successful women out there have in common. I wanted to share with you the top 5 habits shared by the women who really stand out: