Is your Business taking you for a Ride? A Wheel Barrow story!

Many times we learn lessons outside of the office that upon reflection teach us more about business than we could learn in a classroom. Case in point - last week-end we decided it was time to tackle the backyard - a project I had long planned, researched, and anticipated. It was going to be great when it was done - and I was excited at the prospect of looking out my kitchen window and seeing grass, a deck and flowers. Early in the morning we started to dig post holes for the deck and the fence. It was work we were prepared for - and we spent all day moving and leveling the yard as well as getting the holes dug deep enough. It was a long hot day, but at the end we were satisfied that we had started.

The next day I was even more excited than the first - we seemed well on our way to getting landscaping done. We finished digging holes and my husband went to return the tools we had rented. I decided it was now time to haul all the gravel from a huge pile on the driveway - to the deck area as we were putting gravel under the deck. The driveway was uphill and the deck area was downhill - so I was lucky, because after filling the wheelbarrow with the heavy gravel, I could wheel it downhill to the deck area.

Several loads - seven or eight later, my husband returned home - and boy, was I proud of what I had done. Yes I was feeling tired and hot, but I was drinking lots of water, and resting between loads - so I was fine. In fact I was getting a little cocky about my abilities to haul gravel - and began to push myself.

I filled the wheelbarrow with 2 extra shovels full of gravel - maybe an extra 20 lbs - and set out down the hill, digging my heels in so the wheelbarrow would not take me for a ride. Unfortunately, those extra 20 lbs made the wheelbarrow too heavy to slow down - and you can imagine the scene that followed. A runaway wheelbarrow dragging an unwilling participant behind it! It all ended in a crash and a scraped knee, a little blood and a little laughter - but mostly a lot of embarrassment as I fell at the feet of my husband!

Having a little time to reflect on this incident, nursing my skinned knee and broken pride, I thought - Why did I continue to hang onto the wheel barrow? Had I let it go - it would have stopped itself - because the two back feet would have dug into the ground and stopped the wheel at the front. However, because I continued to hang on - the wheel barrow pulled me and the gravel until we reached breakneck speed and crashed.

How many of us start our businesses, begin to see some success, gain confidence and get excited by what we are doing but then as we get a little tired and the pace of business picks up - we refuse to let go of the reins - or handles? And failing to let go we get pulled along faster and faster and end up crashing?

Building a business is much like landscaping. There will be hills that are hard to get up, easy to come down. There will be times when you are hot and tired. But if you can see the finished product in your mind - your eye on the prize, so to speak - it all seems worth it.

However, how may of us when we begin to get tired - fail to learn to let go of the load a bit - delegate, or pass on tasks to others? Many of us in fact, keep going faster and faster until we crash. Only the result is more like failed businesses, poor health and broken dreams instead of just a skinned knee.

Learning to grow your business may require that you delegate things to others and implement systems so that you can work on the things you need to work on to encourage growth. Often it is our pride that keeps us from delegating, because we are excited about doing it all ourselves.

Letting go of the handles of the wheelbarrow would not have really stopped the job from getting done, but would have stopped the speeding wheelbarrow and allowed me to rest and considered more carefully how to better get the job done. As for delegation, had I asked my husband to help, he would have been quite happy to finish the job for me - I only had to ask.

Remember as you are building your business that you cannot and should not do it all yourself. Implementing systems and contracting or hiring others will allow you to grow faster and more efficiently. And although you may not see it at the time - it will also encourage healthy growth - and you will be a better, more rested and balanced person for it!

If you are unsure how to better structure your business - please call us. We have a special group coaching or consulting sessions where we can help you see and plan for strategies that will encourage growth and keep you from crashing!


Mandie Crawford is a marketing expert, business coach, trainer and motivational speaker who was recently awarded Calgary Business Woman of the Year for her contributions to the business community.

Mandie also has skills and expertise in providing high quality guidance in time management and system implementation for small a medium sized businesses. Her passion as a business and professional development coach is to helps women recognize their value and self worth.

She is the Preside...

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