I was asked a really interesting question while being interviewed the other day…
How did you know when it was time to make a change in your business?
This was the first time I have ever been asked this, and it really made me think about the clues in my own personal journey that let me know it was time to make a change.
I think the first step to making a change is to realize it is inevitable. I can never remember the exact quote or who said it so forgive me in advance for messing this up, but I know it goes something like this:
If you aren’t growing, you are dying.
It is a fact of life on earth that we are always either growing, or we are dying. We are advancing or moving backward. There is no such thing as ‘sitting still.’ If we look around at mother nature this is abundantly clear – plants grow, then they die. The same rules apply to our business. If we aren’t constantly growing, adapting, changing, morphing our business then the opposite will happen – they will shrink/die. If we look back over the challenges of the past year, this has been seen time and again in business – those who are able to change with the times thrive, and those who aren’t will suffer.
And I agree that this in and of itself can be quite annoying – as it means that we never ‘get there’. There is no such thing as a finish line, no such thing as “when I reach X in my business everything will be complete.” I’ve had my moments where i’ve thought “Ok, I’ve reached X… can’t I just stay here and enjoy this for a while? Aren’t I done now?” Alas we aren’t able to stay still for too long – we need to keep on changing and growing!
Once we accept that change is inevitable – and can actually be enjoyable – then it simply becomes a matter of paying attention to when it’s time for a change. Here are a few clues that I know have popped up for me from time to time:
- I start to get annoyed with things that I used to enjoy doing. For me this is actually a big one and it’s happened to me a few times… I love what I’m doing, have great clients and I’m doing great work, but suddenly work becomes a drag. I find myself annoyed when clients ask me for help with the very things they’ve hired me for, and which I used to enjoy doing. When this has happened to me, I’ve had to take a look around and realize it’s time to look at the next level – whether I want to or not!
- I start to drop the ball in my work. This is generally a result of the first point, and can be something to watch out for. I’ve found that when I start to drop the ball and make mistakes in my work on a regular basis there is usually something bigger going on. We all make mistakes from time to time – this is more about consistently making mistakes and not providing the high level of service/value that we are striving for.
- I feel envy/jealousy at what other people are doing. I used to think jealousy was a ‘bad’ thing, but what it really is for me is a clue. If I look at what someone else is doing in their business and feel that ‘pang’ of envy, that generally means I want what they have. And then it becomes a matter of what/how do I need to change myself and my business to achieve similar results. The key is of course to act on it, and not stay stuck in jealousy which is when it becomes icky.
- New and unexpected opportunities show up. Quite often the best opportunities show up when we least expect them, or they show up in a way that we didn’t expect. I’m a firm believer that the universe provides clues for us as to our next steps. It’s up to us to be paying attention and be willing to take action.
- Other people point out that we need to change. For whatever reason it seems that, quite often, other people can see in us the things we aren’t able to see ourselves. This is why I consider it SOOOO important to surround yourself with like-minded people who are going to call you to play a bigger game. This alone has made a world of difference in my business this past few months – my support system won’t let me get away with staying stuck anymore!
Let me ask, what is the next big change in your business? Where are you resisting change? What clues are showing up for you, and what are you doing to act on them?
Especially important at this time of year as our thoughts shift to 2010 and creating what we want in the near year. Would love to hear your comments.