Each and every day, as women in business, we are faced with opportunities to grow our business! There is so much opportunity ‘out there' - and it's all there for the taking. Often, I have found, we get in our own way when it comes to growing our business or making changes in our lives.
"A ship in port is safe, but that is not what ships are built for." - Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper
It takes a lot of energy to reach our goals and it takes a lot of courage. This past weekend, I decided to put myself to the test. I went to an Outdoor Adventure Camp so that I could become more aware of some of my fears and where I may be holding myself back - and work through them, to build my confidence and courage to reach my big goals.
"You've got to take the initiative and play your game. In a decisive set, confidence is the difference." - Chris Evert
I went on this adventure with a friend - a person who I admire and who has had some experience in these areas. This translates perfectly into life and into business. Here's what we did:
We made the plan and talked through the plan. I knew that there was one event, in particular, where I would need to use all the tools in my ‘mindset toolbox' - and that is when it came to the canoe experience. I'm not a big fan of water - drinking it, YES! Being ON it, not so much.
My friend Wanda stuck with me as a partner in the canoe. She talked me through the whole process (and we had 2 tour guides as well, talking and teaching along the way - but I had the trust and confidence in Wanda and that made a huge difference for me). I know how to use visualization and how to control my self-talk to be positive. The trip TO the hiking trail was, for me, intense. I was focused, a bit uncomfortable, and listening to every instructional tip as we moved along the water. The return trip was much more comfortable, because I had already had the successful experience on the way over.
Success tip: When you make a decision to try something new, and stretch your comfort zone, there is no reason to go it alone. Buddy up with a good mentor and/or coach who can teach you, inspire you and guide you to the next level in your business.
Once we got to the hiking trail (appropriately called the "Huff and Puff Trail"), it was a matter of putting one foot in front of the other. For some, this was the tough part because it really required one to be in shape. I was ready for this and found it quite enjoyable. It was all uphill and even when someone slipped and fell a bit, they didn't fall all the way to the bottom. You get up, brush yourself off and keep going forward.
Success tip: When you set new goals, and up-level in your business, know that there will be some areas along the way that you have experienced before. It's not ALL going to be new and challenging. Take comfort in that. If and when you do ‘slip', get up and get back at it!
Once we finished the hike up the hill, it was time to put on the safety gear because we were heading for the sidewalks in the tree tops. In the game of business, there are lots of safety options for when we decide to ‘go big or go home'. In this age of technology, there are safety nets of all kinds - from anti-virus software for your computer, to passwords galore in every part of your business, to effective master mind groups - where there are members who ‘have your back' in good times, and in bad times.
Success tip: Be smart when you decide to take quantum leaps in your business. That's doesn't mean to ‘play it safe' - but it does mean to be aware and be smart. Do not take unnecessary risks - financially, personally, emotionally, and so on. You can take giant steps by having safeguards all around you.
Once we were in our safety gear, it was time to get up in the trees! The suspended canopy boardwalk was the ultimate highlight of the day for most of us. Stretching more than ½ a kilometer in length, the boardwalk winds through the tree tops reaching heights of up to 20 meters above the forest floor. Part way along the boardwalk, a suspended platform provides a resting place. It was an exciting experience. No different in life and in business - it's important to get the ‘big picture' in place - to get up above the trees and hold the vision of what you want to have happen.
Success tip: Plan a get-away, even if just for a day, to think through - and work through - the high level vision of what you want to accomplish. You cannot up-level your game with the same level of thinking that you use when mired in the day-to-day details. S-t-r-e-t-c-h yourself!
The walk in the clouds was one of the most exhilarating experiences I've had in years. The whole outdoor experience tested my mental ability, my physical ability, my spiritual senses, and my emotions. It was critical for me to get away, be totally unplugged for a full day, be quiet with nature and to think through where I am and where I'm going. That's how I up-level my game in business.
The real test, for me, was the canoe ride. It was the age-old fear of water that kept coming up. When we decide to grow our business, same thing happens. The ‘old tapes' in our head keep coming up .......threatening to hold us back.......back where ‘we belong'. I was thrilled when, after going to and from the canopy tour, I actually managed to relax and enjoy ‘being in the moment' on the water. I knew I was safe - I knew I had, once again, stepped into my fear. I could do this again!
Oftentimes, it is critical to get out of our normal environment in order that we may think and grow so that we can take our business to the next level. It's important to challenge ourselves, in many ways - to try new things - to look fear in the face. This challenges our thinking and our belief system. That's how we grow.
"Don't be afraid to take a big step. You can't cross a chasm in two small jumps." - David Lloyd George
Where have you been holding yourself back when it comes to growing your business? What opportunity exists for you to think differently and, therefore, act differently - to take your business to the next level?
1. Identify some of the areas in your business where you would like to get to the next level.
2. What is one thing that is holding you back?
3. Who could help you to go and grow in order to take that leap?
4. What are you going to do about it?
You can develop the confidence and courage to take charge of your life and of your business. You have the power! You will be much more confident and successful in the overall scheme of things when you do.