Who you are today is (likely) not who you were last year and certainly not who you were five, ten or twenty years ago. Between then and now you evolved. It’s easy to look backward to see the growth. Maybe that growth was intentional, maybe not.
Instead of looking backward, look forward.
Everyday we make choices, conscious and subconscious, in support of our future selves. Your actions, thoughts, decisions and goals are shaping who you are becoming.
A common block I see in business growth is incongruence. What people say they want is not what they actually want (or believe is possible).
We tend to focus on the doing. We have goals, plans, strategies and tactics, all important external components of growth. Less often we focus on the internal components of growth – our dreams and values. Yet, dreams are jet fuel for action.
I recently completed a module of the Co-Active (CTI) coaching model and it was inspiring. Though I intuitively knew the best results come when there is alignment with the internal and external operating systems I didn’t fully understand what that meant in reality. In reality, according to the model, you are naturally creative, resourceful and whole. You have what you need to become who you want, as long as that aligns with your values and dreams.
Dreams are not goals. Dreams are the things that light us up, they are our values brought to life. Yet, so many of us don’t spend the time or have the tools to explore and access those values.
Who you were is not who you are. Who you are is informing who you are becoming.
What does this mean for growth in your business?
Seeking solutions to attain your goals is good as long as those goals align with your values and dreams.
As a consultant, prospects and clients expect answers (as they should).
Yet, what people want may not be what they need. What they want may not be supported by their values and internal operating system. When that’s the case the journey towards their stated goals is often hard.
Think about a time when you really wanted something yet it didn’t come no matter how hard you tried. You saw others achieve in this way yet no matter how hard you worked or what you did it didn’t happen for you.
Or maybe your gut was unsteady the whole time, you didn’t really want that thing but you felt like you should. You committed to it with your team or to yourself and were hellbent on making it happen. You ignored that whisper of doubt.
The outcome of incongruence in business is friction and failure
I see business owners and leaders spend a lot of resources on things not aligned with their values (purpose and mission). Another way to say it, they are trying to be something they aren’t. There is value in faking it until you make it or believe it (thank you Amy Cuddy) as long as that goals is aligned with your values.
There also isn’t anything wrong with friction or failure, they are both important and helpful signals that something is off, as long as we notice and learn from them.
Is it possible to shortcut friction and failure? I believe so.
There are a few ways I’ve found to decrease resistance when your looking to grow, change, evolve.
- Work from the inside out
- Follow your intuition
- Be open to feedback
Work from the inside out
Working from the inside out means you allow yourself to dream honestly to get clear on your values. You goals are aligned and supported by that purpose (read the article, On Purpose for an exercise to help you define your purpose).
So even when there is friction or failure (there will be) you can fall back on your values, your purpose and mission to recalibrate and reengage.
Follow your intuition
We all have intuition. How you experience it may vary. I feel it in my body and as a deep knowing. Most of us are out of practice and value rationale (conscious through) over our intuition (subconscious). Especially in a service industry, your intuition is a powerful tool to connect and engage with yourself and your clients.
If something doesn’t feel right, listen and explore that feeling.
We all know the feeling when something is right, seek and follow that.
Be open to feedback
Often the answers we are afraid to ask or are seeking are not clear to us but easy for others to see. Seek feedback and be open to the responses.
Asking open-ended questions to help validate or inform can be a powerful way to get the answers you need as you evolve yourself and your business.
Sample questions to ask yourself:
- How would I rate my business from a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being exceptional? What would a 9 or 10 out of 10 look like?
- What’s one thing if I stopped today would improve my business and life?
- What’s the best news you could receive today related to your business?
Questions to ask your others such as clients, prospects and professional partners:
- How would you rate your experience with [your firm name]? What would that look like in an ideal state?
- How do you feel after we talk? How do you want to feel?
- How would you describe [your firm name]?
You are creating your future
Now that you know you’re in the drivers seat, heading towards your future, what are you going to do about it? There are essentially two choices, be intentional or not.
If you choose to be intentional, a good place to start is to explore your dreams and values.
Ask yourself, who do I want to be? Why?
Keep digging into the why until the answers start to resonate. Coaches can be powerful partners to help uncover values and unlock dreams.
If you find that what you think you want is misaligned with what you actually want, that’s ok. Actually, that’s great, you’ve just identified a potential friction point, which now you can bypass.
There are no right answers when it comes to you, your business, how you define success and growth. There is no easy button. Growth also doesn’t have to be hard. It should flow, just like the person and business you are unintentionally (or intentionally) building.
So, who are you becoming?