Happy Independence Day!
Each year at this time I am reminded how fortunate we are to live in the greatest country in the history of the world. We are truly blessed and one of those blessings is the opportunity to pursue our business goals as we choose.
And, for many of us, the opportunity to be free to do our own thing and help other people along the way is what fires us up each morning.
How many of us are truly independent?
Do we own a business or does the business own us? This is a tough question for most of us. I liked to think that I owned my business, but deep inside I honestly knew that the business really owned me. I loved training people and justified long hard hours because I knew I was making a difference in people’s live. I always worked hard with the belief that someday things would be better and I would have more control over my business. But, in reality, I had a job with a very stern taskmaster for a boss.
This was very hard to admit for a lot of reasons and I never really spoke about it with anyone.
Have you heard the saying, “Someday the cows will come home?” Well, that day came and all of the cows came home within a very short few hours.
In spite of being in incredible physical shape my entire life and working out regularly, I suddenly found myself in a hospital bed and I knew that I was not going to be able to work for a couple of months.
I was dumbfounded. How could this have happened? For the first couple of hours I was agonizing over how I would trim my business down (i.e. close it up for a couple of weeks/months). I knew what that was going to mean. I was going to lose my business. I will never forget that helpless feeling. All of my hard work was about to go down the tubes.
As daybreak came and the word of my situation spread, I got a call from one of my staff who wanted to come to the hospital. I knew what this meant. I was going to ask her to help me shut things down for a while. Oh well, I thought, let’s get this started.
She arrived and was seemingly very happy. After a couple of pleasantries, I started the inevitable conversation about closing things down. She just looked at me and said, “I talked to the other coaches and we’ve got this.” I did not understand and I tried to pick the conversation up where I had left off. She reiterated her statement with huge smile on her face. I decided to listen.
She had talked to the entire coaching team and they had a plan. Every class and session was covered. Nothing would change. She assured me that they would miss me, but my job was to get well. And now her smile was even bigger as she told me I had trained them well.
My healing began immediately. I could feel myself sink into the hospital bed a little deeper. The people I cared so deeply about were not going to experience any interruption in their routines and their commitment to new levels of health and fitness.
My team was correct. They were adequately trained. They were ready and they did exceptionally well. I took two months off and business continued as usual. Suddenly my dog was going on long walks every day. I healed and grew even stronger.
This was a pivotal time for me. I vowed that never again would I accept the feeling that the business owned me. I decided to help other small gym owners and personal trainers build businesses that provided them with incomes, lifestyles, choices and independence.
My sudden health challenge exposed more than my staff’s readiness to take over my business. It gave me an opportunity to reconnect with my personal mission and to commit to a personal plan of action to evolve into the next version of me.
Here are three things I did that created greater independence in my business life. You can use these same strategies to gain more independence in your business.
Strategy #1 – Ideal Day. Regardless of what I know or believe at the moment, what would I like my ideal day to look like? Take some time to really focus on this and keep the vision in front of you.
Strategy #2 – Dream Bigger. Get a piece of paper and a pen and start writing. If I could do anything, what would I do? What do I want? Why do I want it, how can I get it, what small steps can I take today to go in that direction? Clip pictures out of magazines and create your own vision board, or update the one that has been sitting around. Read, read, read success stories and motivating books. Allow your imagination to run wild without limits. Rework your answer to question #1 above.
Strategy #3 – Get Help. I found a mentor to help me keep focused. I have always had a mentor but this time I sought out, recruited and paid for a professional mentor, a business coach. Then it seemed to be a fortune that I was investing, but I look back in awe at the benefits I received from that relationship. I’ve had a mentor ever since. The mentor keeps me focused on what I want and where I want to go. They keep me from getting distracted by shiny objects that can easily distract me.
Wishing you great success as your build your business to a cash-producing “lifestyle machine” that I know it can be.
Make it an awesome holiday!
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