Losing your way when you’re running a business based on ideas—air, really—is easier than we’d like to think. It’s happened to clients, it’s happened to me and I’m willing to bet it’s happened to you.
You take on a client for all sorts of made-sense-at-the-time reasons, but your work together takes you down a slippery slope.
You tweak your sales and marketing messages over and over again, losing your voice and, well, you, in the process.
Or perhaps worst of all, you’ve lost the connection with why you created your business in the first place. Working for someone else starts to look like a sexier option…
So what’s the antidote?
And luckily, you don’t have to go to Tibet—or even hop on a plane—to find it.
By solitude I mean that you need to quiet all the voices telling you what you should or shouldn’t do, and reach deep inside yourself to find your own true voice.
Sure, you can work with someone to help you get there faster (I do this a lot with clients who are stuck), but you can do this on your own as well.
The trick is to make space for you to study and ponder what’s next: to excavate your past to help you design your future.
Been in business for a while? Go back and re-read your earliest musings on what you wanted to create. Inventory your client experiences and study—really study—your triumphs and disasters.
Which ones would you repeat over and over again if you could? What did you learn from the disasters or even the small missteps?
Consider what’s changed for you since those experiences—your dreams, the market, your wallet, your life.
And then start matching them up.
“Meta” stopped hitting her head against the wall the moment she gave up on designing corporate training and focused on her real talent (and first love)—coaching executives of color.
“Kyle” ran a highly successful multi-consultant firm and yet still felt something was missing. It wasn’t until he decided to fully tackle his emerging personal big idea—centered on creativity and innovation—that his mojo came flooding back. Side bonus: that extra energy also juiced his core business.
“Tess” is a brilliant marketing strategist with a refreshing, tell-it-like-it-is style who does her best work with business heads (not CMOs). The problem? Her sales and marketing were geared to solving CMO problems. Now she’s busily re-designing her website and content to appeal to those who actually hire her.
Sometimes you just need to write yourself a big ‘ole permission slip. To say no to what isn’t working and embrace what will suit you better.
But it all starts with a clear-headed look at what’s really going on. For you—not for the myriad of voices surrounding you.
What do you want your next year to look like?
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