By Steve Kim
If you are experiencing a transition in your business or personal life, then answering the following questions can serve as a useful starting point:
Based on my current understanding,
· What chapter has ended? Am I accepting of that?
· What do I have to let go of?
· What support can I count on?
· What new relationships can I develop?
· What knowledge and skills do I need to learn?
· What are some things I need to STOP doing?
· What do I need to START doing?
Going through the process of exploring these questions is often challenging and difficult. It requires self-awareness and honesty with oneself and courage to challenge dearly held assumptions and ideas. It’s like “peeling the layers of an onion” and some of the “answers” may or may not be obvious to you. Formulating and answering the right questions require a particular type of attention and relaxed mental focus to be most effective. Having a structured approach to organizing your thoughts while “prioritizing your priorities” and helping you to take the “next step safely” is something that our clients have found incredibly valuable.
With the ever-increasing rate of change and the nagging feeling of inadequacy that often comes with it, I’ve found many business owners are finding it harder and harder to keep up. To make matters worse, the activities you are consumed with on a day-to-day basis, that you unquestioningly take for granted, mostly working “in the business” often leave little to no time to actually work “on the business”. For example, how much time do you set aside each day evaluating whether or not the tasks you are currently performing are making the most of your strengths and/or represent the highest and best uses of your time and attention taking into account your most important organizational goals and objectives?
In my experience working with hundreds of clients over the last decade, it takes more energy, discipline and intentional focus than you might initially expect to really effectively attend to the business of “working on the business” so that hopefully you are not doomed to forever “work in the business”. Peter Drucker, one of the leading management thinkers of the last century admonishes us to: “Follow effective action with quiet reflection. From the quiet reflection will come even more effective action”. Yet how many of us actually make time for quiet reflection? If you take the time to reflect and do it “mindfully” I’ve found it can empower you to be more effective and pro-active vs the usual, reactive “firefighting” mode many business owners struggle with day after day.
You don’t have to go at alone and there are proven methods and tools that can provide much-needed assistance to free yourself from the tyranny of the urgent at the expense of focusing on the important and most important. An effective learning, growth and change framework facilitated by an experienced coach can be immensely helpful to overcoming these struggles in a sane way. Together he/she can help you clear up the needed mental space and set aside the required time to ask the right questions and reflect on them in ways that empower you to be more effective in your business while creating the lifestyle you desire.
By engaging in this practice of thoughtful reflection and effective action, you can also further activate the wisdom already inside you that enables you to course correct and properly discern whether or not the current activities and thoughts consuming your attention are meaningfully contributing to the accomplishment of your ultimate result. For many business owners, the ultimate result they are looking to create usually means creating a comfortable lifestyle, greater financial stability, improved cash flow, more time with family and ultimately, more peace of mind.
Steve Kim is the Principal Consultant of MK Consulting, a small business consulting and executive coaching firm focusing on helping business owners undergoing a difficult transition to better navigate through this change while making the most of their strengths in ways that enable them to thrive. He received his Executive MBA and MA in Advanced Management from the world renowned Claremont Graduate University- Drucker School of Management.