Business Growth Begins with Decision. Your Happiness IS Worth it!

Growth begins with a tough decisionDo you wonder if your parents got to a point in their job that they just couldn’t do it anymore? Like us, they were raised with an ideal of what life should look like. They chased it and simultaneously pressed into us the importance of pursuing the same vision. Did they, however, reach a point where they were no longer motivated to continue with the herd? Were they tempted to make a decision for their growth and happiness, yet chose stability for their family?

My father was restless. He taught me to climb the corporate ladder as high as it would take me while he practiced what he preached. As I stuffed and addressed envelopes with his resume for the latest corporate climb (which eventually resulted in our 6th move), I asked him, “Why not stay put and grow where you are?” His immediate answer, “Because you don’t grow by standing still.”

His decision for growth and happiness definitely resulted in climbing the corporate ladder, yet the sacrifice was moving his family 7 times in 16 years.

My father’s beliefs definitely made an impact on me. When the desire to be different struck me, my situation was a little different. The economy was tanking, as was my marriage. However, I chose to take a little of my own advice and grow where I was (I’m rather tired of moving). While I worked my part-time hospital job and pursued a writing career on the side, I clung hard to Dad’s second lesson: never quit one opportunity until another was firmly in place.

Desperation as Motivation for Growth

Yet I became desperate. I needed out. The side business wasn’t growing as fast as I desired and I was crumbling by what was best for my family and what was best for myself. I reached a point where I was no longer growing and made a decision that will forever be my most difficult:

Quit my job
Divorce
Move

Without anything lined up.

Those heartbreaking decisions resulted in equally difficult, but necessary sacrifices:

Abandon the security of a paycheck and insurance
Leaving all I knew and loved
Exploring the unknown

Fear has the power to Motivate

Are you reading between the lines? Any delay in decision-making is fear based. I had no idea what would happen next, but couldn’t stay where I was. My father grew up poor and didn’t want his family to suffer as he did. We had a choice: live with our fears or overcome our fears. We had to be strong enough to MAKE a decision and immediately courageous enough to make the sacrifices based on our decisions.

While your story is different from mine or my father’s, there are similarities.

Making a decision is mental

How often have you asked yourself:fear of the unknown slows our growth

  • What will I do?
  • Is this worthwhile?
  • Am I too old?
  • Am I too young?
  • Is there enough time?
  • How will it affect my family?
  • Am I smart enough?
  • Will it make money?
  • Will it make me happy?
  • How will I make it happen?
  • Am I crazy?

How many of these fears have delayed your decision? How LONG have they delayed your decision?

Decision leads to Sacrifice

Once a decision is made, the sacrifice takes over, along with a deep dive into our fears. There are no clear answers to our unique situation but one: this is the start. Quit stressing and DO.

Sacrifice leads to Rewards

Our mind thrives in the comfort zone and fears everything else. Once the decision is made and the sacrifices are in place, the first benefit is relief from all the catastrophes our mind creates. The pent-up energy is released and we’re left with action—which is what we desired anyway—right? Now that your brain is silenced by shock, you can form a clearer vision of what must happen next: ask for help, let go of old habits and outdated beliefs. The more energy you put into the process, the more opportunities will come your way.

How do I know this? Because I witnessed it with my father. He had a specific vision and pursued it the only way he knew how. I saw how driven he was to be happy and succeed, which imbedded itself into my soul. When the same drive struck me, it was unstoppable. The only difference between my father and I was fear; although my fears didn’t stop me; they did slow me down. My lesson to you: learn from me and move despite those fears! (Play on words, intended).

Where do you stand with YOUR tough decisions? Not sure? I’ll leave you with this question: how much more of your happiness are you willing to sacrifice?

Making Midlife Better
Kristen Edens

You’re Never too Old!

DavidCastilloDominici at fdp.net“Everything you want is on the other side of fear.” Jack Canfield, Chicken Soup for the Soul

When I started my first business in 1999, I was 35 years old. The internet and email didn’t exist. I lived in an isolated valley in the mountain west. I had pre-school aged children at home. Though my children were young, I felt old…too old to be starting a business. The business resources at the time were limited to my local Chamber of Commerce, the SBA, and SCORE. I consulted them all, but never revealed my old-lady fears. It was bad enough I felt this way and I feared someone would agree with me.

Yet, I persisted. I spoke often with Joe (I can’t remember his last name) at the Chamber for guidance and during a coaching session, he mentioned the typical fears that kept business owners from succeeding:

  • Fear of failure
  • Fear of success
  • Fear of risk
  • Fear of rejection
  • Fear of the unknown
  • Fear of being too old/too young

Though I encountered varying degrees of each, I never considered being too old as a fear. To me, it was a reality. I was relieved to discover this was a common fear and that I was not the only one troubled by it.

That changed everything for me. Temporarily. Jump forward another 10 years when life experiences led me to pursue another entrepreneurial dream. If I thought I was old in 1999, I was feeling really old in 2009! Although Joe’s words echoed in my mind, things were different now: I was forty-five! Retirement was looming! I was newly divorced. The recession was dragging on. I was a stranger in a strange land (Missouri). I was highly introverted. What was I thinking?

Still, I persisted. This was my chance to do what I have always wanted to do and there was nothing holding me back—other than my fears. The difference was, I was wiser. All of the obstacles and fears that popped into my head were of my own making. I knew there were ways around them and all I needed was a plan and action.

With this insight, my business and I took on a new life. I pushed myself into networking events. I listened and interviewed. I presented at professional events. I wrote. I offered. I participated and volunteered. All while riding a wave of fear. Through it all, I discovered my strengths and built upon them. I faced my fears and moved past them, sometimes with great difficulty. They still bubble up on occasion, but my strength keeps me moving forward as does my determination and the joy for what I do.

What about you? What fears do you encounter? How do you conquer them? Or do you still struggle? Comment below.

Kris the Scribbler
A grandparent in business

(photo image courtesy of David Csstillo Dominici at freedigitalphotos.net)

Coping Skills for Crazy Days

Stuart Miles from freedigitalphotos.netHave you had ‘one of those days’? Maybe ‘one of those days’ lasted a week or more. We never know when they’re going to strike, but when they do, how we manage the situation and ourselves helps us get through those moments faster.

For several years, I have been the Inspiring Woman feature writer for the St. Louis & St. Charles Women’s Journals. I have interviewed wonderful women and have had the pleasure of hearing their story and how they have accomplished great things. When these women have ‘one of those days’, they each have their special coping methods to keep them going and growing. Below is a collection of coping advice gathered from my Inspiring Women interviews:

Dr. Miho Tanaka, Orthopedic Surgeon and Assistant Team Physician for the St. Louis Cardinals, would cope with exercise and remembering to put one foot in front of the other. When things got tough, she kept going by concentrating on her desire to help others.

Kahlia Collier, the Owner and General Manager of the St. Louis Surge, spends times with friends to relax. Then she refocuses her attention and works through the obstacles with perseverance and determination.

Lethia Owens, branding and marketing specialist at LethiaOwens.com, relies on faith and family to get her through the tough times.

Terri Griege, Cancer survivor and triathlete, centered on her endurance training and family to keep her moving forward.

My holiday season was ‘one of those weeks’. It started off as normal holiday excitement, but, without warning, several little glitches popped up. Keeping a positive attitude and recalling the inspiring women I had met, minimized the disasters:

  • My computer died on Christmas Eve. The good news: no urgent deadlines or projects were on the agenda and I was ahead of schedule for my blog, content and article writing. Plus, my aunt provided a loaner laptop until my new one was delivered.
  • My daughter got called into work Christmas Day and my granddaughter’s daycare was closed that day. No biggie: with my mother in town, great-grandma could babysit great-granddaughter and I could sneak in some writing time.

The biggest glitch occurred at 1am December 26th when my daughter, my granddaughter and I became ill with the intestinal bug from Hell. And the bug lingered every second of those long, torturous 24-hours. But I wasn’t upset. I was more disappointed that my time off wasn’t spent in more exciting activities. On another happy note, we didn’t suffer any holiday weight-gain!

All was going well and schedules were almost back in order…until the morning of Monday, December 29th. My partner asked me to drive him to the emergency room. As of this writing, we are planning for neck surgery to treat a herniated disc.

Whew! That’s a lot to take on in less than a week, but knowing none of us suffer alone is what got me through. As athletes, parents, grandparents, professionals and business owners, remember to take care of YOU first. I’m reminded of this by Carolyn Hall of CL3 Agency. She ends her emails with, “Breathe, relax, conquer.”

Happy writing!
Kris the Scribbler

photo credit: Stuart Miles of freedigitalphotos.net