5 steps to move from pain to progress in your business
We tend to think of pain as that 'ouch' feeling when we tread on a toy in the middle of the night or an ache, a reaction to something physical we’ve done, but as entrepreneurs trying to start or grow our businesses, pain can be so much deeper than that.
It's the not knowing, the wondering if we're good enough, the comparing and finding ourselves less-than, the overwhelming emotions, it's all these things and more.
When I first started my business, I had imposter syndrome on speed dial. Even though I had over fifteen years of corporate experience, coached in a corporate setting for years, had incredible training with the UK’s leading life coach and was fully certified, I still second-guessed everything I said or did. I worried that I wasn’t giving enough value or time (even though in reality I was over-delivering), and I felt like any second I was going to fail.
When we have these negative thoughts and feelings they can be painful. And any time we feel pain our survival brain kicks in and swiftly moves us away from it.
This might show up for you as scrolling endlessly on social media, having the fridge on standby, procrastinating about an important decision or doing busywork that feels useful but doesn’t actually help you to move your business forward.
Here are five tips for moving from entrepreneurial pain to progress:
1) Make an active choice
To let that pain move you into action rather than hiding from it and numbing yourself (hello Netflix). When you remember you actually do have a choice, it empowers you to move to the next step which is...
2) Decide what the pain is really about - why are you feeling that way?
Is it a clarity issue? Do you know exactly who your ideal customer is - how to reach them and how your product or service overcomes their challenges?
Is it a confidence issue? Are you worried about being more visible in your marketing, letting go as you delegate more or not knowing how to reach your biggest goals?
Are you being consistent in your efforts or flitting from one strategy to another? Isolating where the pain is coming from will help you make a plan to deal with it.
3) Listen to your inner dialogue and decide if it's being helpful or hindering you
Often when we step out and challenge ourselves, our survival brain kicks in and weaves a story around our reality. Ask yourself - is what I'm thinking really true? Could something else be true instead? When I work with my clients we use a model called the STEAR (Situation, Thought, Emotion, Approach, and Result) model to understand how their thoughts are impacting their results so we can progressively change them to more empowering ones.
4) Make a plan, or get help to make one
When you have a clear plan of action that aligns with your goals, the fog starts to clear and you can start taking small, intentional steps forward to build your confidence. When you complete a step, cement that action-focused behaviour by specifically celebrating your achievement. It’s easy for each small step you take to get lost in the busy-ness of your business, but reinforcing the behaviours that serve you helps to build the right habits for ongoing success.
5) Remember that we often experience pain when we step outside of our comfort zone
But this is the only place that we truly grow. Recognising the pain as a symptom of that growth turns it from a negative into a positive step forward in the right direction.
If you would like some help to make a plan, you could hire a business coach to help develop and hone your skills and take your business to the next level and relieve you of your current 'pain'.