Have you ever thought, "you know, I could do this a lot faster if I didn't have to deal with any people."
Yea, me too. Luckily, I'm wise enough to know that I can't do much without the support of my team. And yet, teams take work. They take time to nurture, develop and persuade. Sometimes, it feels like I'm being weighed down by my own people, as if they're an anchor to my more naturally rapid pace of work.
Earlier this year, I had a humbling moment as my leadership team informed me that we were moving too fast. Too fast? I thought, I feel like we're c-r-a-w-l-i-n-g!! So, I was faced with three choices:
After a potent combination of meditative thought and red wine, I came to the conclusion that forcing my (admittedly brilliant) team to speed up when they were asking to slow down would be a stupid thing to do. The business is nothing without them, and they need to feel comfortable and in control if I expect them to succeed. I thought about the danger of pushing too hard: I'd risk inadvertently losing some great people, which would get me exactly nowhere.
But, that didn't solve my burning itch to tackle more projects in less time. So, to quell my undying ambition, I gave it an outlet.
Actually, I gave it two outlets: First, writing, and second, building a network. I started writing furiously, like a mad man hell-bent on eradicating every white letter from my black keyboard (and I'll have you know that A, S, D, E and M are now gone).
I learned that I can crank out a blog per day if I focus on moving at my own pace rather than worrying about my business moving too slowly. It also turns out that writing blogs leads to interesting publishing opportunities, which in turn leads to great press for my business.
Second, I started building out a network--reaching out to best-selling authors, fellow entrepreneurs, consultants, tech mavens, wine experts and other fascinating people who were doing freakishly awesome things in the world. Sometimes I'd offer some tailored help depending on what I thought they might need, and other times I'd offer to buy them lunch and pick their brains on life. To my surprise, most got back with me--and in the process, they taught me about scaling a company, launching a personal brand, finding a niche and other tips, tricks and hacks that helped my business.
Altogether, I realized that I do in fact need to go at my "right" pace in order to feel fulfilled with my own ambition. However, I also learned that my right pace isn't necessarily the right pace for my business. In the end, I did more for my business doing my own thing on the outside than I ever could have done if I had kept pushing it from within.
Ultimately, I learned that businesses, just like people, can experience burnout if pushed too hard. However, if we can all pace ourselves just right, it can be the best thing for everyone involved.