We all want things: a stronger body, or to work out more. To eat healthier, or less. A better relationship. More time with family. A better business, more boundaries, less work, more income and so on...
We know we want these things. We really want them. We keep saying we want them, we read books and articles and inspirational quotes on Facebook about wanting them. We even know how to get them.
But we don't take any steps toward actually getting the things we want.
Great googly-moogly, why not? If we want something so bad, and we know how to do it--why don't we just get over ourselves and do it? Allow me to explain.
Hello, endless cycle of rotting veggies
Let's take a hypothetical situation like "eating healthier" as an example. We all want to do this to live better. We all know that we can just go and buy a cookbook called "super healthy eating" and follow the steps (that should be easy--it's all written right there) and voila, we are eating healthy.
But what really happens?
We get all motivated, we buy the book, we clean the fridge and stock up on veggies and mushrooms (is that a veggie?), we throw out the secret chocolate stash--and then, like magic, we are suddenly eating healthy! It's the answer to all our prayers!
And it lasts for maybe two days. Max.
We slowly but surely creep back to our bad habits. We are maybe even worse off than before--because at least beforehand, we were happy and ignorant in our chocolate-induced nirvana. But now we know what we should be doing, because we have that book staring at us.
So now we’re not only feeling less than good (from bingeing on chocolate again), but we’re anxious and maybe even guilty. Because now we also know what we should be doing about it, and we know we’re not doing it.
It's not a good way to feel.
From broccoli to your business plan
Now let's look at how this works in your business.
You know what could be better in your business. We all do. You may even know how to improve your business. So you go through the same cycle: You get motivated and buy a $149 PDF or take a $249 workshop that tells you how to do it all! “If I just buy this resource and do what this person did, I can do it too!” you tell yourself.
Maybe you even stocked up on neat little notebooks with a bird on them. You title them things like "Awesome Photography Business Plan 2015." You buy templates, and diagrams, and maybe a course or a seminar, or you attend a conference on how to make your business more profitable. And suddenly you have a plan!
Then, like magic, your business is suddenly working like a charm! It's the answer to all your prayers!
And it lasts for maybe 2 days. Max.
Are you seeing a pattern here?
This is what I did for almost my entire career as a photographer. I slowly but surely built a profitable business over about 13 years all by myself (small pat on my back for that--and one for you, too, if that’s where you are!).
BUT I always knew that something wasn't working quite right. Even though I had success and paid my mortgage and vacationed--and my business even grew every year--I knew I wasn't coming close to the potential that my business could unleash. I wanted to wow every single client, achieve TRUE financial freedom, and I wanted to work less while doing it.
I kept thinking, “If I just buy this next smart book or follow this next smart person’s blog, I'll finally make it happen. I already have a pretty darn good business, but if I just do this next thing, I'll have an AMAZING business.”
You know the rest of this story, because it's probably happening to you right now. You are SO close to having that (insert thing you desire).
“If I just do this next thing…”
Here’s how to stop the cycle
Take heart. I found the answer, and you can too. I took time off from my career (well, it helped that I was sick for about 5 months in 2014--this is an effective, yet unpleasant way to step back) and I intensely researched the topic of stagnation in business.
I just HAD to know why what I was doing didn’t work as well as I wanted to. What was I doing wrong? After meditating and researching and thinking about it for almost 18 months, I found the answer.
Are you ready? Here is is…drumroll, please…WAIT for it...
I asked for help.
More than asked, I researched, sought out, and then finally paid for help. Personal, professional help. I stopped trying to find free information and DIY kits and the next greatest thing (the equivalent of our $18 cookbooks on eating healthy in the earlier example). I put my money where my mouth was and hired two business consultants and two employees.
It was scary. It was exhilarating. And best of all, it's working.
The key is accountability. Let's say that again: ACCOUNTABILITY. It is the secret key to every single issue you are struggling with.
Want to run more or work out more? Join a running club or hire a personal trainer. Want to REALLY eat better? Hire a holistic health coach.
Unless you’re Lance Armstrong, you can’t move mountains on your own. And heck, you think Lance Armstrong won the Tour De France 7 times (drug controversy aside in the name of a darn good metaphor, if you please) because he read a book about cycling? NO! He hired a team of coaches.
I bet there were plenty of mornings he wanted to just go back to bed instead of getting up and cycling 500 miles--but he was accountable to the people around him, so he did the work, and achieved his goals. Finally. And then again, six more times.
The fact that I am now accountable to my team, on a daily or weekly basis, was the missing puzzle piece. The missing piece was ME. I had to get out of my own way.
I couldn't have created 16 Hoops without my brain trust and team. It's the same for you. I can't believe it took me this long, but now that I am achieving things I tried over and over again in the past and failed at, I know I’m in a new world and I can never (and don't want to) go back.
I am so stinkin' excited about 2016--to infinity and beyond!
When you really and truly decide to take the bull by the horns and make your business better, you need to hire someone (ahem, like the 16 Hoops program, just saying) to help you. It's really that simple. It's an investment, not an expense (more on the distinction between these later) that will pay for itself many times over.
And PS. About that chocolate thing: I also hired a certified chocolate consultant! (No, not really--but I did, for the first time in my life, hire a personal trainer and meet with her every Monday to work out so that I can eat all the chocolate I want for the rest of my life.)