By Lindsey Tolino
Sometimes it can feel like you’re banging your head against an immovable wall when you’re trying to grow your business. It can be totally frustrating and stressful to find new ways to serve more clients. When it feels like that, the answer may lie not in trying to hammer through the same wall, but rather in stepping back and looking around.
When we are so focused on achieving business growth, we may miss the clues that are dangling all around us. Not only that, if we miss what is happening around us, we may suffer negative consequences.
It’s like if you’re home and all you do is stare at your computer. Not only will you miss the benefits of engaging in conversation with your family, but you might also miss the fact that your stove is on fire.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s good to be focused. But it’s also harmful to never step back and look at what’s happening.
Let me be the first to admit I have a hard time stepping back. It’s hard to defy my fear that everything is going to fall apart if I’m not constantly working on it. It’s hard to trust that not everything is dependent on me. It’s hard to believe that I’ll be able to get back to it if I take a break.
But slowly and surely, I’ve found freedom from the stress when I have stepped back. I’ve been able to breathe deeper and see things in a different light. Sometimes, that has made all the difference in how I handle things when I go back to the work.
The reality is that we actually cheat ourselves if we don’t step back sometimes.
For example, here are some things we may miss if we don’t stop and look around:
- A great idea that could help you improve your business (I think of Barbara Corcoran’s epiphany – Everybody Wants What Everybody Wants)
- News of an upcoming regulation that may affect your business
- An emerging technology that could accelerate your business
- A conversation with a colleague that would deepen a relationship
- Quality time with loved ones that we might regret missing later
We know it’s best for us to stop and look around sometimes. But watching The Bachelorette may not be the best use of that time (unless that’s restful for you), so how should we do this?
We should step back and look around with intention. Here are some ideas to consider:
- Look at the world – Check out the global news. Maybe set a Google alert for industry news. Looking at the global scale and getting a larger perspective can make me feel small, and sometimes, that’s a good thing.
- Look at your region – Read a local news source for happenings in your area. Get outside and take photos, meet people and appreciate the area that you live in.
- Look at people – Sometimes I don’t even ‘see’ people. Shamefully, I admit that when I’m with people, I’m often worried about myself and what I can get out of the situation, instead of truly looking at them and seeing how they can be served. To serve others well, the first step is truly seeing them.
- Look after yourself – Take a real break. Set aside time to relax and let your mind rest in a way that is best for you.
If you feel like you’re hitting a wall with your business growth, then stop. Step back. Look around. It could make all the difference.