I was recently re-organizing my office when I came across one of my journals from 2001. In it, I had written about how hard I was working and how close I was to getting burnt out. I was on the road teaching workshops 10 months out of the year, and it was really taking a toll on me both physically and mentally. The business itself was going well, and by most accounts, I was successful. But I worried that if I stopped moving, the whole thing would come crashing down around my feet.
I was at a crossroads.
Thankfully, even then I knew the value of a good mastermind group and mentorship. So I took my concerns to my business mentors that very week and they asked me the following three questions that changed my perspective on things.
"What is it that you really want?"
My initial answer was the standard "I want my business to continue growing..." but then after a pause I added, "but not feel like everything is resting on my shoulders."
That extra bit of insight would lead me to build my business in an entirely new way, and go on to help hundreds of thousands of business owners do the same over the next 18 years.
"What are you really afraid of happening?"
That question was an easy one, I told him that "I'm afraid that if I don't closely manage all the details of my business then things will fall through the cracks and it would cause serious harm to the company. Clients would leave us, vendors would overcharge us, and our reputation would be permanently damaged."
I shared that I was afraid that not only would things start to fall apart, but now that we had a larger staff and higher fixed overhead, I was afraid that it would mean the financial ruin of the company.
He stayed silent a little longer as if willing me to look deeper, like I did in the first question.
And I added, "I am afraid of losing control."
Once I said it, I realized just how emotionally charged the situation was. My feelings and my actions were fueled by my inability to trust my team.
"Isn't there a better way to do this than trying to do it all yourself?"
By this point, I had gotten the message. I realized that if I set up my company differently and trusted in myself as a leader and in my team, we would be able to grow and scale without me sacrificing my health and personal life to do so.
So I got to work building a company that I would step away from. My team flourished, the business flourished--and four years later, I sold the business for a nice profit.
The two main takeaways from that journal entry in 2001:
Trust in your mastermind group or mentors to help you change the way you see your life and your business.
Trust in yourself to have the leadership tools and capabilities to grow your business and still regain your personal life.