What does it really mean to achieve a work life balance? There is a lot written on the subject. Despite the vast amount of content and material on the issue, business owners still struggle achieving the work life balance. I believe we are asking the wrong question and pursuing the wrong outcome. In this appearance on the Building Your Utopia Show, I explain how to truly build a business that serves your life.
One of our good friends has a 2 ½ year old daughter. She, like most other 2 year olds, can be a bit of a pill at times. That’s a polite way of saying, “She’s can be a pain in the butt.”
She will go on and on about something, kicking and screaming over the most seemingly insignificant things. At least to us. Her parents would jokingly declare, “The struggle is real.”
We laugh about it. It’s funny when we put it in perspective.
When it comes to business, the struggle is real too. But it’s no laughing matter.
Owning a business is tough. It’s hard. It can be a massive pill (see reference above).
And because it is tough I am going to say something I have never openly said before.
Business ownership and entrepreneurship is not for everyone. Not everyone should be a business owner. Many people need to give up their fantasy with the idea of entrepreneurship. Keep your dreams to yourself. Just dream.
There, I said it.
I suspect this statement won’t be popular.
Well, I’m not trying to win a popularity contest folks. I’m not going to be politically correct. Maybe I’m having a Donald Trump moment. I am going to just tell the truth. (I think people in our country are starving for truth and transparency).
Yes. The struggle is real. And you know it if you’ve been in business for more than 10 minutes. I’ve experienced it and I suspect you have too.
Nope there is no easy button.
Yes, the struggle is real. But that’s what makes it great.
Being an entrepreneur or business owner that builds a business that stands out and is truly great is one of life’s greatest challenges. It’s the challenge; the struggle that makes it good.
You see, every day we have the opportunity to overcome. We have the opportunity to be challenged. We have the opportunity to learn and grow. In fact it’s required. Because if we don’t we will die or get killed.
There is a line in the movie League of Their Own. Tom Hanks, referring to baseball, said, “It’s the hard that makes it good.”
In business, it’s the hard that makes it good. We have the opportunity to discover WHO we really are. We have to opportunity to see what we are really made of. And, if we respond to the challenge and fight, we get to see WHO we will ultimately become.
And who you will become is a better, stronger, more determined, courageous, disciplined and wiser person who can overcome and survive anything life throws at you.
The struggle is real. Embrace it.
I’ve got your back.
I was right in the middle of writing a piece on why you SHOULDN’T work on your business. Michael Gerber, author of the E Myth Revisited, popularized the term,work on it, not in it in his book. Despite the fact that business people have generally adopted the notion or idea as sound, there are circumstances and situations when a person sound NOT work on their business.
In fact, more people have failed in an attempt to adopt the philosophy then I have seen succeed. It’s because Gerber neglected to share some important realities that could have saved some businesses a lot of time and energy.
In the piece I was preparing, I had also planned to give you an opportunity to set up a 30 minute strategy call to discuss whether or not you ought to be WORKING ON YOUR BUSINESS or if you could be wasting your time and energy doing so.
But that piece got high-jacked after I met with a couple clients who are doing things so seemingly impractical and yet powerfully effective in their business, I couldn’t help but want to share it with you right away.
You can still set up a time to talk. No strings or obligations. No sales pitches. I just want to help people get and stay on the right track when it comes to growing highly effectively, profitable and rewarding businesses that will serves their lives.
Here’s the link in case you want to find out if YOU should be working on your business or if you are wasting your time. https://calendly.com/edensunshine
Okay. So what was so important that I had to shift gears.
Well, as you know, we talk a lot about systems around here. Systems this and systems that. I have even openly said that I am not a fan of systems. Surprised? Developing a systems driven business is tough. It’s hard work. But having a systems driven business does produce extraordinary results. I’ll take that fact to my grave.
Though I am not a fan of the process of developing systems, I am a fan of great results. So are most business owners.
Systems are simply the tool that facilitates optimal results.
Systems are like the brains of the business.
But a well rounded, productive, inspiring, passionate and motivating business must have heart too.
In other words, you need a well defined, intentionally and purposefully developed culture.
Culture and systems compliment each other. Having both, developed well, is the stuff great businesses are made of.
A lot of businesses seem to think that if they post a set of values on the wall that will suffice in fulfilling the “we have established a culture in our business ” checkbox. Wrong! Oh so very wrong.
Cultures are alive. They are carried and lived by the people in an organization. That’s what makes a culture sustainable. That’s what makes the culture become legacy; it’s own personality.
So when Pat Garritty of Trilliant Real Estate Group empowered a couple of his employees to adopt a new employee in their firm and become his Culture Mentor, I stopped to take notice.
Pat knows that he, and he alone, cannot be the bearer to the culture standard or banner. He knows that his people have to own and live it too. His people need to become a viable and productive voice for the culture so when he is not there, either temporarily or permanently, the voice will continue to echo through the halls of his business.
Deb Herring of ZLUX is setting the stage for her people to own the business culture too.
Although in the early stages of developing her culture, she has been relentless in her communication with her entire company. Signage is throughout her offices and plant. She sends regular communication, in the form of a company newsletter, talking specifically about the company values. She is conducting team building and training exercises to support and communicate the culture as well. I was just onsite at her business last week to facilitate such a session.
Both Deb and Pat meet with their people one on one weekly and include conversations about how the employee is living the culture and areas they can improve.
They mentor the people so, at some point, they can mentor others. Pat is now empowering his people to take on mentoring roles.
Impractical? Seemingly. Especially if you don’t understand the value and impact that a strong culture will have on your people and your customers. Great businesses have great cultures. End of story.
There are a lot of businesses that have good systems and can produce a quality product or service.
Very few do that and have a heart too. It’s the ones that have a heart that you will remember. It’s the ones that have intentionally empowered every employee in the business to be a voice and torch bearer of the company that will stand out among the crowd.
How are you intentionally building your culture and empowering your people to do the same?
I work with a company in India who does some of the programming for our online systems development and management program called YODA. Many of you are familiar with it. Bragging for a moment, it’s actually pretty good with rave reviews from those who are actively using it. It saves massive amounts of time when it comes to documenting and managing your company systems, operation manuals and day to day employee tasks. Let me know if you’d like to know more about it. Okay…commercial over.
So last night I am on a call with the developers via Skype and I started to get a little frustrated. Although they speak English pretty well, they still have some rather thick accents. That coupled with a poor connection and delays in the signal back and forth, it was hard to communicate and share some of the improvements I would like to make to the program.
I believe they felt the same way because we had to strategize a different approach for me to get the information to them that they needed for the project.
Themes run rampant in my life it seems because yesterday morning, in a conversation with one of my Certified Level 7 Systems Coordinators, we had a conversation about effective communication.
Unless you live in a bubble, a hermit, if you will, you will be communicating with people. Communication is an art and a science. Few people consider the impact that poor communication has when it comes to producing results. Effective communication can make all the difference in ensuring that people have a thorough understanding of our perspective and expectations.
In business particularly, if we aren’t communicating well, there is a strong likelihood that people will not be operating effectively and efficiently. We simply won’t get the best possible results.
I find it funny how people take the skills of communicating for granted. In fact, few people even think of communication with intention. They just go on and on and on and never consider if people are even receiving and understanding their message.
Some people don’t listen with intention so they can fully understand.
They expect people to read their minds and then get upset when others don’t meet their expectation.
When it comes to communication, we all have responsibilities associated with it.
Yes, you have a responsibility when it comes to communication if you want to do it well.
It really comes down to 2 things.
1- Communicate well so others fully understand you.
2- Listen well so we fully understand others.
Communicating well requires that we understand and accept the reality that not everyone speaks your language. I am not talking literally, although that could be the case if you are talking to developers in India. People process and receive information differently. They have different perspectives. They see and hear things through different lenses.
You know what I mean. You’ve probably had a conversation with someone that you immediately clicked. Like you just got each other. Related. Understood.
And I’m sure you’ve spoke with others and it felt tortuous to engage in a conversation with them.
The problem is not you. AND the problem is not them. It’s just differences.
If you wish to communicate well, seek to bridge the gap, understand differences and discover ways to adapt and adjust. Once you’ve communicated, confirm your message has been received and understood.
The same is true with listening. I know I need to continually focus on listening with the intention of understanding. I ask questions. Seek clarity. Repeat what I’ve heard so I am sure I heard and understand.
Here’s my challenge for you. Ask yourself theses question as you engage others in all forms of communication with others:
“Am I doing a good job of conveying information?”
“Is the message being received?”
“Do I understand what others are saying to me?”
You might find it takes a little more work but the results that stem from building quality connections and clarity with others will be well worth the time and focus.
The older I get, the more I am coming to recognize, and perhaps accept the idea, that I simply don’t or won’t fully understand everything that happens in life.
It used to give me comfort, perhaps some solace, in being able to interpret or explain why we encounter difficult or challenging situations.
I am an encourager. I strive to be a person who is brings hope to people who are experiencing challenging or painful situations.
Recently, I have come to a personal conclusion, that I simply can’t explain why we sometimes get beat up by life.
Case in point. I had a conversation with a client yesterday. I won’t mention any names, but over the last several months, she has been pummeled by some of the weirdest, trying and difficult circumstance related to a business – all at once.
Many people might have to deal with one or two of these challenges at once, but she is dealing with 5 or 6 issues that are literally consuming most, if not all, of her time.
Even in the midst of that I haven’t ever heard her say, “Why me?” She has just kept plugging along.
In my hope to provide some encouragement to the situation, I offered a different perspective. My perspective comes from a lifetime of observation and over 20 years of coaching, mentoring, supporting and challenging business owners, leaders and people to become better at what they do.
I have witnessed this phenomenon working with business owners, employees and managers as they work to become better people and more effective in their roles.
In a situation where a person is growing, improving, building, changing, moving towards a goal, vision or desired action – when they’ve committed to something – they will encounter obstacles, challenges, opposition and resistance.
We simply don’t experience resistance standing still. Unless it’s gravity.
I’ve seen and experienced it myself over and over and over again. I can’t explain why this phenomenon exists.
Why can’t it just be smooth sailing? Why must we be punished for doing something good, for improving, I often ask?
Let me save you some time. Asking those questions will lead to a dead end. Stop worrying about why.
Rather, consider the resistance and challenges you are encountering as a sign.
YOU ARE ON THE RIGHT TRACK.
The more resistance we experience often suggests the bigger and better the goal or direction you are pursuing.
What it really comes down to is whether or not we have to guts, determination and will to persevere through until we see a breakthrough.
Feeling like things are tough. GOOD!!!!! You are in the right place. Don’t you dare quit! Don’t even think about it.
I am sometimes accused of using too many cliques. Oh well. Here is one that I think appropriately applies.
When the going gets tough, the tough get going.
Here are a couple strategies that I use when I am feeling challenged. Perhaps you can apply some yourself.
1- Review my vision. I get refocused on the reason WHY I am doing what I am doing. My work and effort is honorable and is improving the lives of 100’s perhaps 1000’s of lives every year. My vision is important and worth the fight. (I’m fight for and with my clients)
2- Consider the worst case scenarios and ask myself this question – “can I live with the outcome.” Here is another clique. “What doesn’t kill me will make me stronger.”
3- Get support. I turn to mentors, coaches (yes, I have a coach) and experts to help me navigate through situations.
4- Get into a community of people who are likeminded and challenging themselves too. This is one of the many reasons I’ve formed the Level 7 Community and I conduct the Level 7 Roundtable Events. I am amazing when my business clients gather and begin to see how their peers experience the same challenges and issues in their lives and businesses as they pursue their vision. It makes them feel like they are not alone.
5- Keep moving. Take some action. Don’t get paralyzed. And don’t retreat. Don’t you dare!
6- Embrace the adventure and the challenge. Life is about ups and downs. The downs are good too. Yes, it pains me to say that. It is way easier said than lived. But it is a healthy perspective. Some of my most difficult challenges in life taught me massive lessons and, more importantly, made me a better person.
7- A good friend of mine, Bryan Hurd at www.bhurdinutah.com reminded me the other day that a motivated, focused and committed team will always accomplish more than one person possible can. Engage your team. Show them the vision. Ask them to join you and fight for the vision and dream too.
How do you cope? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
There are good things, greatness within you. If you are battling – then good. Battle on. I am right there with you.