Success: How to See What is Really There.
As a mentor to many entrepreneurs, I marvel at how each person reacts individually to the prospect of genuine growth in their businesses.
In the beginning, they are eager for growth. They make their plans. They move from the “I’m just trying to make a living phase” to the “I could grow this into a really, profitable business phase.”
But sometimes, just as they are on the cusp of a breakthrough that will push them to success well beyond their earliest dreams, they become paralyzed at the prospect of entering a world that suddenly seems just too big.
They want to retreat to their smaller successes. They can’t see how such growth can really work for them.
I originally had a little trouble understanding this and then one day I learned about how patients years ago who had been blinded and received the first safe cataract removal surgeries responded to suddenly being able to see a bigger, bolder world clearly.
In a book written originally in German by surgeon Marius von Senden (and later translated to English and published as Space and Light), he explored the responses of 66 people who had lived their lives from a place of darkness and suddenly were faced with new, light-filled horizons.
Some of them were so overwhelmed by this new world of light and space that they closed their eyes and went back to their old ways of navigation and making sense of the world. They had to re-orient themselves with what was familiar before they could find the courage to step out into the light.
It struck me that this was a human metaphor for all of us as we grow. We want to accept the change and we believe deep down that it will be for the better, but at the same time it frightens us and we need to re-orient ourselves with what we know for sure is real.
When we find the courage to open ourselves up to the light of success, we have the same responses as most of the patients von Senden studied. When they looked and saw what was really there, they knew that it was amazing and beautiful.
That is what success in business growth really looks like. It is amazing and beautiful, but it can also be frightening to step off that cliff of “doing well” and float to the other side to see yourself “doing awesome.”
If you ask anyone who has taken that journey, they will admit that it was frightening and nerve-wracking to open that second location, to build a manufacturing plant, to add more staff and a string of new services to their business.
We all love our comfort zones, and even entrepreneurs who by nature are inclined to leave the steady paycheque of a corporate job and strike out on their own have their limitations.
There is usually no safety net when you operate your own business. When you look down, you see the jagged rocks of realty, not a comfortable mattress.
But when you look up, you see the stars and the opportunities to shine and you want to go there if you dare.
When you can stop seeing the world through the shadows of what you know and move forward into the brightness of what you don’t know for sure, that is that your business really starts to grow.
Most importantly, it is also the moment when you really start to grow.
The writer Annie Dillard in her beautiful book Pilgrim at Tinker Creek (https://www.amazon.com/Pilgrim-Tinker-Harper-Perennial-Classics/dp/0061233323) gives a rare insight into how we can find this courage to move ourselves from the darkness of routine to the lightness of growth.
“I cannot cause light; the most I can do is try to put myself in the path of its beam,” she writes. “Light, be it particle or wave, has force; you rig a giant sail and go.
“The secret of seeing is to sail on solar wind. Hone and spread your spirit till you yourself are a sail, whetted, translucent, broadside to the merest puff.”
We can all put ourselves in the path of light’s beam. And when we are ready, when we have oriented ourselves, we can sail forward to new destinations.
Paula Morand, CSP is a leadership building, revenue boosting, strategy expanding keynote speaker, author and visionary. This dreaming big and being bold leadership expert and brand strategist brings her vibrant energy, humor and wisdom to ignite individuals, organizations and communities to lead change, growth and bold impact.
23 years, 25,000 clients, 19 countries, 11 books, former radio personality, 10x award winning entrepreneur and humorous emcee.
To check out Paula’s book, “Bold Courage: How Owning Your Awesome Changes Everything” go to Amazon http://ow.ly/i8yW307ix67
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