Rekindle the Love for Your Business

It’s not easy running a business. But it’s easier when you’re running a business you love.

If you’ve been running your own business for a long time, you know the different stages it can go through. The initial excitement you had when you started your business may have faded over the years.

If you’ve lost a little love for your business, there are ways you can bring back the energy and put more passion in your work.

Start by answering these questions:

1. Why are we really doing this?

Take “money” out of your response for the moment. Reflect on your company mission–the reason your business exists. It’s not uncommon for some businesses to lose sight of their purpose, especially when people get too caught up in tasks.

People are driven by deadlines and to-do lists. They get stuck in habits that may not serve the business given where it is now.

Recommit to making the impact your business was created to have. Or even better, commit to making an even bigger impact. You’ll generate new energy.

2. What should my role be now?

We go through different stages in our leadership growth. It’s similar to parenting. As your child grows, your relationship with your child changes…and so does your relationship with your business.

Sometimes your business needs nurturing. At other times it needs to run more independently.
Your business might need a push. Or it might need a new look.

Perhaps you don’t need to be involved in the business in the same way you have been over the years. Experienced leaders often struggle to let go of responsibilities that can be handled by others. They hold themselves and the business back. Create your ideal role and begin stepping into it.

3. What do I need now?

This may be the most important question of all. As an owner or executive, you’re probably conditioned to put the needs of the business first. Get real about what you need. It could be more thinking time to focus on the strategic issues. You might want more opportunity to mentor or help others develop.

Perhaps it’s time to start a new business that you’ve been thinking about. Or you might need some time off to recharge. As your own needs are met, you’ll have more to give to the business.

Only you know the kind of relationship you have with your business. You can tell by the way you feel as you go about your work.

Rekindle the love for your business.

Ignite new possibilities.

What are you thinking about?

“What you think about comes about. By recording your dreams and goals on paper, you set in motion the process of becoming the person you most want to be.”

~Mark Victor Hansen

So what are you thinking about? 

Pen in the hand over white backgroundThis time of year people naturally think about the New Year and what they want their life or work to look like. Whether you’re working on personal development, business goals or leadership goals, a little of your time and a lot of self-motivation are required.

However, three common traps might make deciding what you want more challenging:

  1. Distraction Trap

As you ease back into work, you probably feel pulled in different directions. This distraction limits your “thinking time” as you are swept up in the rush. Other times of the year, your brain may be consumed by thoughts about what needs to get done today instead of what you want for your future.

To counteract this trap, set aside dedicated time to reflect on your future. If you don’t, you may cruise through life on autopilot and not achieve your desired goals. Force yourself to stop, consider the big picture and look for new possibilities. Then decide what path makes sense for you, your work, life or business.

  1. Should Trap

You fall into the “Should Trap” when you hear yourself saying, “I should…” You might think something like, “I should spend less time on the road.” “I should get more involved on a board.” “I should start that project.”

My suggestion is to shift from using “should” to “want”. For example, “I want to start that new project.” See how that works? Cultivate a healthy sense of selfishness. After all, if you are not filling your life with what you really want to do and feeling fulfilled, you won’t be able to serve others to the best of your ability.

Using the word “should” often stems from some form of guilt. On the other hand, the word “want” is based on your desires. Allow yourself to want whatever you want. Then, focus on that and let go of the “shoulds” that get in the way.

  1. Judgment Trap

Judgment is one of the most dangerous traps. When you catch yourself thinking about what you want and then immediately deny it, you know judgment is at work. You might say self-sabotaging things to yourself or others like:

  • “I’m not ready.”
  • “That’s too much of a risk.”
  • “I’m not good enough.”
  • “That’s not possible.”

As judgmental thoughts pop into your head, take time to notice them and write them down. Next, write down why the statement or excuse is not true to turn it around.

For example, if you say you are not ready to tackle a big project, write down all the reasons why you are more ready than you’d like to admit. This exercise pushes you past the judgmental limitation so you can think bigger and move into action.

PS – My newsletter articles (also found at workmatters.com/blog) this year are inspired by the leadership quotes in the new Leadership Journal I created for busy leaders like you. The journal is available through Amazon.com

Order your copy of the journal today to follow along, capture your own ideas and do your best thinking. See details below.

Have you ordered your Leadership Journal?

The New Year requires new thinking. My new Leadership Journal will help you in the process.

journalDid you know that you are much more likely to achieve your goals just by writing them down?
I created the Leadership Journal for busy leaders like you who are serious about achieving their goals. It’s a simple weekly journal with a few coaching questions and inspiring leadership quotes to keep you motivated and on track throughout the year.

Just 10-15 minutes each week of thinking time will help you achieve what matters most to you.

Get one for yourself, your team or anyone who might benefit from this empowering goal-setting tool.

Find it on Amazon:

LEADERSHIP JOURNAL

Are You on the Right Path?

My teenage son just returned from a long hiking trip. He was on the Appalachian Trail in North Carolina–his first “real” hiking trip with backpack, tent, food, first aid kit, etc. (He learned that raw eggs don’t travel well even if you have a burner to cook them.)

Path winding through dark moody forest with tall old trees

As a mother, I was concerned he would get lost. He did. Thankfully he was with a friend.

He said they got to a point when they weren’t sure if they should go down a new path that was unfamiliar or backtrack on the path they had taken. Storm was coming. They decided to go back on the path they knew to get them to safety.

As a leader, your job is to help people get to a destination.

Too many people are simply trying to get through the day. They are doing the work, but they’ve lost sight of the big goal. They’re hiking a familiar trail. Some are moving in circles.

Like lost hikers, they revert back to what they know. They don’t have the clarity or courage to move on a new path that might take them to their destination more easily.

They need leadership.

Where is your team trying to go?

One of the best exercises you can do with your team is to have a discussion dedicated to:

a) clarifying the destination–that means understanding the overall team goals (including why the goals are important)

b) determining the best trail–identifying new ways to get to the destination.

It’s especially important if you’re trying to get better results or encourage innovative thinking.

Include that discussion on your next retreat agenda or hold a special short meeting to get some quick ideas.

Confirm if you’re on the right path.  Ask, “Are we getting the best results possible?”

Challenge your team to identify improvements. Ask, “What other ideas, strategies or improvements should we consider?”

Get commitment. Ask, “What’s one thing you’ll do differently to help us accomplish our goals?”

Beware of the path you know that’s comfortable and familiar. Be willing to take yourself or your team on a new path if needed.

Prepare for resistance …and growth.

You’ll likely arrive at a destination that’s even better than what you were hoping for.

Team Meetings Made Simple

In my role as executive coach, I often see clients holding too many meetings. The problem isn’t too many meetings  necessarily – it’s too many unproductive meetings.

They argue that some meetings are beyond their control. They don’t initiate the meetings, but they must attend — so they think.

Whenever a customer, business or team problem occurs, “Let’s have a meeting…” seems to be the impulsive response.

Other managers take on too much work dealing individually with team members when they should call a meeting instead. In some cases, a meeting may help reinforce one-on-one communication efforts.

They key is finding the right mix of communication between working one-on-one and collectively with your team members. Both approaches can be very effective.

In those cases when you want to meet as a team periodically, keep the meeting focused. Remember the meeting does not have to last too long. Much can be accomplished in 15 or 20 minutes.

Try this kind of agenda to engage your team:

1. Acknowledge recent accomplishments and/or setbacks

2. Summarize what the team needs to achieve over the next 30 days.

3. Ask team members what they’ve observed or experienced. “What’s working?” “What’s not working.” They may cover successes, problems, changes, etc.

4. Ask for their ideas/input on how to move forward in the best way.

5. Thank them for their ideas and suggestions. Confirm expectations and next steps.

This is a simple outline that engages your team, keeps a positive focus for your team and generates potential solutions you may not have considered otherwise.

Team members appreciate the opportunity to share their thoughts and ideas, as opposed to being told what to do.

They’ll be better team members.

You’ll be a better leader.

Is Your Routine Hurting You?

I spoke to a client recently who complained that his life seemed like the movie, “Groundhog Day.” He felt like he was doing the same thing every day — stuck in a routine that he wasn’t enjoying anymore.

 

In one sense routine can be a good thing if you like predictability. It can help you exercise discipline to accomplish, or simply enjoy, what you want.

On the other hand, you may be missing opportunities, ideas or connections that can help you significantly in your business or career.

We are creatures of habit. The key is creating habits that allow you to create the life and work you want.

If you feel like you’re stuck in the same routine, here are some quick ideas to help you break the cycle, get moving and be more productive:

 

  • Develop a new routine. Keep the parts of your routine that are working and change the rest. It may take some time for the new routine to stick.
  • Establish some days that are more routine than others. For example, you might pick one day that demands discipline, and another that requires more creative or strategic thinking. One is structured while the other is more free flow.
  • Make exposure to new ideas and people part of your routine. Invite someone to lunch that you don’t know well or see often. Attend a meeting or conference that would be “out of the norm” for you. Read a publication you don’t read regularly.

Constantly engaging with new people and ideas will stimulate your thinking and energize your work.

At work, keep your team from falling into unproductive routines that threaten results.

Shake up team meetings. Restructure your ordinary agenda.

Challenge your team to step up by generating new ideas or solutions to problems.

Whether you need to create more variety in your own life or work, commit to making the changes that will help you improve.

Sometimes you just need to take a break, but often you need to break your routine.

Either way, you’ll increase your chances of achieving breakthrough results!

What will you do to break your routine?

 

Gayle Lantz is a leadership expert and career strategist who helps established leaders serve and succeed in new ways that make a significant difference in their life and work.