Business Owners, Crisis and KnowingIn my previous post, Back At TweakYourBiz , I mentioned I had taken time to assess what I wanted to do next. Regular readers of this blog have probably noticed that I shy away from getting too personal.  But during a recent coaching session, I noticed that the questions I was asking my client were the questions I had to answer last year.

One Step Closer

A good friend of mine gave me a copy of U2’s How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb about 9 months ago. I have a copy already and some of the songs have resonated with me for a long time. Strangely,  it was like hearing the album for the first time. Circumstances had created a perfect storm that nearly ended my business. At one point, I actually thought it was over and I should just get a job. I truly felt as if everything in my life had just upended but this U2 song, One Step Closer kept echoing in my head.

I’m ’round the corner from anything that’s real

I’m across the road from hope

I’m under a bridge in a rip tide

That’s taken everything I own

That verse sounds so dramatic but it felt that way. I had built a small business but earlier crises had used up my resources and there was very little left this time. During a major crisis of confidence, it’s not unusual to question your values, choices and actions. When you’re a business owner, lots of things can trigger a crisis. They are personal events like a medical problem, family issues or even business events such as losing your best customer or discovering an accounting error. Maybe it is a larger world event such as a recession or natural disaster.

The “backwards” trigger

The most surprising trigger is when the business is poised for growth. For small businesses, landing a more sophisticated client, hiring staff or expanding beyond the borders of a tried-and-true market is a big event. For the small business owner, it can be both exhilarating and intimidating. Old ghosts haunt us. Those beliefs that we’re frauds or incompetent or just too small reverberate in our heads. Managing this negativity and our businesses just taps us out. I’ve had clients tell me stories about how they are still the misfit they were as a child or there is something inherently wrong with them so they can’t be good bosses or major competitors in their industry. You know in your head this is complete nonsense but your heart…well, that takes a lot more convincing.

Stuck in between

I’m on an island at a busy intersection

I can’t go forward, I can’t turn back

The future is getting away from me

I just watch the tail lights glowing

Regardless of your particular trigger, it feels like your dream is abandoning  you. You might even try to convince yourself that your great innovation or exceptional offering is ridiculous.

The questions:

1. What do I want?

2. What am I willing to give up to have “It”?

3. What is it costing me to hold onto my negative beliefs?

4. What do I need to get my desired goal?

5. What is one thing that will bring me one step closer to my goal?

The gift

While a crisis isn’t something you seek out as an experience, there is a gift.

One step closer to knowing

One step closer to knowing

One step closer to knowing

To knowing, to knowing

To knowing

Adversity can be an amplifier, if you allow it.  We see all aspects of ourselves; our imperfections and where we disconnected from our own beauty. If we’re willing to open ourselves, we can learn more about who we are. This self-knowledge can profoundly affect our businesses.

It has profoundly affected mine. I took a risk and asked certain people in my network to help me. I have found mentors and friends. I have one current client who has stuck with me because he continues to find value in my coaching. I know more about me and have found I am less afraid. Consequently, I’m building my business back up to where it was pre-crisis. This work with small business owners is the work I love! There is more to discover and accept and I wish it didn’t have to be such a difficult experience but I am one step closer to knowing.

About the author:  I’m Elli St.George Godfrey, a small business coach and trainer who guides established small business owners to be comfortable in their own skin. I have a deep appreciation for learning and understanding my client’s business style and culture. Whether you are expanding in your own backyard or into another country, my 3 keys coaching process helps clients move from being excited about a new business opportunity to having the tools to make it actually happen. Curious? Schedule your complimentary coaching session here.