As we nudge closer to the end of the series, the emphasis shifts from the being – the foundations you’ve created – to the doing – making it happen.
Before you embark on this step, take a moment to reflect on what you’ve already created. Your DREAM that provides the impetus and meaning behind all you do, your renewed FOCUS which allows you to stay connected to that meaning and concentrate your time and energy towards achieving it and the STRUCTURE that will take you seamlessly from where you are now to where you want to be.
Step 4 COURAGE is the step that will help you to take – and keep taking – the steps needed to create space in your life for both a successful business and a fulfilling personal life.
“Love makes us human, courage makes us extraordinary”. Faryal Khan Kharal
Launching a business may be one of the hardest things you’ll ever do. You’ll work long hours, you’ll second guess yourself, you’ll worry about how long and steep the learning curve is. Worse, you’ll pour your heart and soul into it only to discover that not everything will work and not everyone will love what you do or how you do it. So what can you do?
Allow time for your plans to take root and to start bearing fruit, but don’t let that stop you from reviewing your progress with honesty. Set aside time every week to work out what is and isn’t working well; not just in your business but in the way you’re working. What are you great at and what do you still need to develop? What have you learned and what will you do differently?
Begin to see yourself – and your business – as being in perpetual development. Being open to learning new things will keep you competitive, engaged and positive.
Invite feedback when it comes from your ideal client or people who are in a great position to mentor you; the people who’ve been where you are and are now triumphantly a few streets ahead valiantly leading the way. Put your pride to one side and learn as much as you can from the mistakes they’ve made.
Most importantly, learn to discern between what you need to learn from and what you can let go, between whose advice you should listen to and whose you shouldn’t. Friends, ex-colleagues, family members and sometimes even colleagues may be well-intentioned, but if they’re not qualified to give you input, graciously let it slide.
Some of the steps you’ll have to take to grow your business will be bigger, bolder and more daunting than others. With your plans laid out, the idea here is to take enough bold steps regularly to create a natural momentum within your business. Unfortunately, unless you’re blessed with rock solid self-confidence, there will be days when your nerves will fail you. When that happens, know this: everyone from start-ups to successful CEO’s suffer from nerves. It’s a natural stage in the process of stepping from your comfort zone into your stretch zone.
Instead of blocking out your nerves, look closer. What’s causing it? Are you feeling out of your depth? Does a key project or product launch feel overwhelming? Is it a lack of confidence? A fear of failure? Or a fear of success? Nerves are there to alert you to the fact you’re straying into unknown territory, so remember – once you’ve ventured there, it’s no longer unknown and those nerves will (eventually!) subside.
Identifying what’s holding you back will bring perspective to your nerves and from there, solutions are easier to find.
In the meantime, if you need a simple tip while you wait for your courage to build, try striking a power pose. As Julie mentioned in her article about How to Fool Your Brain Into Thinking You’ve Already Won , striking a power pose (think the classic Wonder Woman stance) can make you feel 10 feet tall and bullet proof.
Focus on progress, not perfection and above all – keep going! We’ll cover how to keep an even keel in our final step REPLENISH, so in the meantime, focus on simply taking one bold step daily to stretch your comfort zone. Make it easier on yourself by topping and tailing it with things you enjoy and by tackling them when you’re full of energy (remember ‘go with the flow’ from FOCUS ).
Know that there’ll be knock backs with the successes and use your systems to track them all so you can keep them in perspective. As Catherine Watkin says in her fantastic course ‘Get More Clients Saying Yes’ , if you know that it takes you 10 calls on average to get a yes then the first 9 no’s won’t upset you!
The flip side to all this courageousness? Confidence! You may not notice it day to day, but I promise you that when you look back in a couple of months you’ll be amazed at the distance you’ve covered and how much stronger, confident and grounded you are.
So let’s begin…
Simple steps to remember as you commit to becoming more courageous this month:
- Identify your biggest momentum block & choose one way you can experiment with uprooting it.
- Find one thing that will help you stay the course: Will it be a sales conversion tracker, regular action that’s timed to coincide with your high energy moments or a reward that re-energises after a difficult experience?
- Seek out 3 people you can trust for great feedback, insight and inspiration. And be prepared to take it!
Let me know how your courage builds below and I’ll see you next month for Step Five REPLENISH!