Building a successful business is exactly like losing weight
You’ve heard me say ‘change your thinking for the better’ umpteen times. This week I had an epiphany. I must share it with you.
For 2020, the personal accomplishment I am most proud of is losing moe than 30 pounds. (I have shrunk to 5 feet 1 and ½ inches. So trust me, 30 pounds is more than 25% of where I should be.) It was horrifying to be naturally slender my entire life and then watch the pounds suction cup to my frame over the last six years. I thought it was all a direct result of thyroid issues. After wailing, whining, gnashing my teeth and being thoroughly fed up with my doctor, I decided to take matters into my own hands.
Long story short, I realized one day, I needed to change my thinking for the better.
The day I finally ‘got it’ was a huge revelation. The extra weight I was carrying around was almost entirely self-inflicted. Yes, having an unbalanced thyroid did account for some of the problems. But the majority of the weight gain was me and my sloppy habits. Sloppy habits that had accumulated over years and years. I realized I needed to change my thinking for the better.
Here is my epiphany. The process I followed to recover my slender self was precisely how both low performing and successful companies get much better.
The first step
Is to ‘change your thinking for the better.’ Nothing happened until I got frank with myself and STOPPED making excuses, whining, and blaming everyone and everything. Everything shifted when I looked in the mirror, stared at the person before me and realized the problem was entirely in MY hands. And that I had the power to create the reality I truly wanted.
For businesses, the day of reckoning often comes when the company gets slammed out of the blue. The bank finally calls a loan, the reality of ignored insurance recommendations come crashing in, employee turnover surpasses 30%, the tech crashes, you get the picture. And in every single case, the root cause can be traced back to a decision made by the president. The power of that day of realization is immense.
The second step
Was to develop a series of tasks to follow to get me to where I wanted to be. So, I did a bunch of things. I fell in love with intermittent fasting. Eliminated all alcohol for three months. Removed most of the white from my diet. Walked every day for at least thirty minutes. Did some yoga and a bit of weight training. Figured out the right meditation. And played mind games with the measuring tape.
80% of my weight loss came down to two things. Eating less and exercising more. Shocking right? Nothing new in that. But it was new to me.
In your business, you have lots and lots of tasks that deliver bottom-line results. It should be easy for you to figure out which tasks contribute to 80% of your profits. Can you?
The third step
Was sticking with it. For me, the entire process took nine months. I freely admit weight loss is not hard. It is just freaking BORING. And sticking to a boring routine is bloody hard.
Developing a successful business is no different. Successful companies come about from 80% of boring, daily slogging, sticking to the right processes and routines each and every day. The excitement factor, the new ideas, the introduction of shiny objects and the changing direction mid-way only happen 20% of the time. In other words, two and a half months of a fiscal year is set aside for ‘new,’ different, energy infusions and bright and shiny. Nine and a half months are for the boring bit — ‘getting it all done.’ And successful companies master how to make the boring bit exciting and fun.
Old keys never open new doors. We all get comfortable and complacent when those old keys fit like a fine pair of shoes. Unfortunately, when we get comfortable, we do so at our peril. The only thing we should be satisfied with is change. Change makes for uncomfortable times. And great things happen when times are uncomfortable.
I needed to relearn the phrase ‘change your thinking for the better’ to change myself.
How about you? Is your business stuck because of old thinking or sloppy habits? Trust me, it is very hard to be truthful to the one in the mirror. And yet, oh so liberating.