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The Magic Formula for Success in Business

Woman in a standing balance yoga pose
The dream state of balance isn't as still as it appears

The magic formula for business success is to prepare yourself for constant change.

If you are anything like me, you may have dreamed of a magically fixed state where all the stars are aligned, you have figured everything out, and everything flows easily. Like the yoga pictures with people holding seemingly impossible poses and appearing to be calm and quiet. It seems like an ideal world with no struggle, and everything happens just as it should without effort.

Research suggests that humans crave a state of comfort and automaticity. When we don't feel that sense of comfort, we resist.

However, nothing ever stays the same, and even if you find a magical state today, it won’t be that way tomorrow.

I help my clients find flow states so that they can optimize for business growth and success. However, I cannot wave a magic wand and set up a system you set and forget. I can't just set you in a tree pose and walk away. True flow comes from working in your zone of genius while developing systems to help you maintain flexibility to ‘go with the flow’.

If you have ever tried to stand on one leg, you probably noticed that muscles all over your body are twitching and adjusting to hold that position. The same micro adjustments are true in our everyday lives. We don’t just get into a balancing pose and hold it perfectly still forever; we need to pay attention and adjust constantly, and sometimes, we must accept that we need to change the whole pose. Some poses are harder for us to hold, and each person has different abilities in which poses they can balance.

Likewise, with our businesses, we can't just plug in a magic formula and keep following it for business success.

The issue is that humans resist most change. We want that magic formula to follow and be put on automatically. Maybe we think we shouldn’t have to adjust when holding the pose, or maybe we are holding a pose that our bodies aren’t ready for.

However, when we learn to accept the discomfort of constant change and adapt to it, we grow.

Consider businesses like Kodak and Blockbuster, which failed because they resisted change. They thought they could simply hold the pose without moving. On the other hand, Netflix developed resilience by first serving customers with mail-order DVDs, then streaming services and developing its own content. Netflix accepted that the world was changing and made the adjustments necessary to stay standing.

It is challenging to constantly move to maintain balance, but as we practice, we become less wobbly, and adjustments become smaller and smaller. We can also manage more difficult poses.

In our businesses, we may also find it challenging to constantly make adjustments (and maybe even change our poses), but as we learn to respond to challenges that threaten to knock us down, we grow and become stronger.

Our natural tendency is to fight change because it feels uncomfortable. We want to strike a pose and keep it there. We resist the forces causing us to sway and making our lives more difficult.

“I am the opposite of progress. I am the wall it bashes against and I will not be the one who breaks.” John Dutton running for governor in Yellowstone

When the character John Dutton stands up against change, he comes across as a hero for fighting change and standing strong. In reality, those who try to resist waves of change are the ones who fall.

Buildings that are stiff and resist change crumble in earthquakes. The ones that withstand earthquakes can sway with the tremors and absorb the shocks. If we want to grow, we have to learn to let go of rigidity and allow for flexibility. That means we will face some discomfort.

Therapists will also compare fighting change to swimming in the ocean. If you try to stand firm against the waves, it will be painful, and you will be knocked around. However, if you ‘go with the flow’, you accept and learn to adapt to the waves coming towards you. In neither case do you stay in the same place, but by working with the waves, it will be a much less painful journey.

Sometimes the worst decision we can make is to keep everything the same. By keeping it the same, we condemn ourselves to a different kind of massive change.

How do we develop resiliency for business growth?

1. Tracking Important Numbers

Pick key measures to monitor weekly and tweak your actions in response to what you notice. Constantly build on what is working and reconsider what to do about what isn’t bringing you the results you are looking for. Consider measures of your income, expenses and reach. You do not need to track everything, but you need to have an idea of what is happening, and you won’t know what’s happening if you aren’t tracking it. Ideally, you will make a spreadsheet where you can compare the numbers from week to week to look for trends.

2. Reflection Routines

Build daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual routines to reflect. Start with a weekly routine of you want to stop, start, change and continue based on the data and other less tangible factors. For example, if you find that a line of business drains you, you can plan for ways to change or stop it to put your energy into something that fills you. Sometimes, your emotions are more important than the numbers and need to be considered in your decisions.

3. Market Research

The business is actually not about you at all. It’s about serving your target customer. Pat Flynn in Will It Fly

The foundation of our business is what the customers want. Therefore, continually ask what your customers want and how you can best serve them. Kodak and Blockbuster lost prominence because they insisted they knew what people wanted. That was true at one point, but we can’t keep doing the same thing because everything around us is always changing. If we lose touch with our customers, we also lose the ability to offer products and services that people want.

Do you want help finding areas you need to change?

Book a growth audit. We will identify what you can stop, start and continue to get the results you are looking for in your business.


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