“If you want to be successful you have to focus on offering just one thing”
I can’t do just one thing. I’m simply not wired that way.
I’ve tried… oh how I’ve tried to do just one thing! But every time I try to put myself in a box – to find my “one thing” and focus on just that – I stall. I lose steam. I feel trapped.
Then I start the cycle all over again. “Maybe this thing over here is my one thing!” I focus on that for a while and then the same thing happens again. I stall. I lose steam. I feel trapped.
It hit me recently – what if the “one thing” model just isn’t for me?
Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE the one thing model. There is a tonne of value in focusing on just one thing. And I do think it’s important in the early stages of business to do just this.
But I’ve been in business now for over 20 years. I’ve done a lot of things. I’ve got loads of experience. And the truth is I like – and am really good at – a number of things!
I’m amazing at helping business owners refine their offers to focus on their genius, make more money and attract new opportunities that are 100% aligned to who they are. (I did a refinement session on Monday with a client and she signed up a client the next day with her new offer! Hot damn, how cool is that?)
I’m amazing at helping CEOs develop their leadership, hire the right people and empower their team to run the business without them.
I’m amazing at helping leaders who have created a body of work turn that into a certification or licensing program that leaves a legacy and creates passive income.
I do all of these things already. I am working with clients in all of these areas at the moment. And I’m going to continue to do so.
No more trying to put myself in a box. I can offer all of these things and still be a successful business owner. I daresay it’s a lot more fun this way too!
I’m curious – do you consider yourself more of a “one thing” kind of business owner? Or a “many things” owner like me?
Believe me I get it – I’m the queen of self sufficiency. Of thinking that I ‘should’ be able to take care of everything on my own.
When folks ask me how they can help my default response is almost always a variation of: “I’m good. Everything is fine. I’m OK. I’ve got it. No worries.”
These things run deep for some of us – we are ingrained to feel like we have to take care of almost everything. It’s something I’ve had to learn how to overcome in my business, and it’s still something that I struggle with from time to time.
But if we can’t ask for – and receive! – help, we are setting ourselves up for a slew of stress and problems with our team.
We may struggle to see what to even ask for help with because we are so habituated to doing it all ourselves. (I don’t even know what someone can do for me?)
When we do know that we want help with something, we aren’t sure how to ask in an effective and clear way (A common scenario I see is that we think we asked for help with something but in reality, our team member wasn’t clear on what we asked for or thought we were just talking about stuff and didn’t realize you were asking for something at all.)
We hold back on asking for help with certain things because we think they won’t want to do it or we don’t want to bug them (I can’t tell you how many clients have said to me “Well I don’t like doing this thing so I can’t ask them to do it for me”…. yes, you can. that’s what they are there for.
And the biggest ‘ooof’ of all is when we have folks on our team who are asking to take things off our plate “I can help you with this. How about I take a look at that for you? Are you sure you still want to be the one doing this?” But we say no because deep down inside we feel like we have to be the one doing everything.
I can tell you, from the other side of the coin, that this is highly frustrating for the people you hire. They really want to help but they either a) aren’t clear on what you want help with or b) feel like they have tried to help out in various ways but that you aren’t ready to let go. And they end up feeling like they aren’t being helpful at all.
Asking for help from your team is a learned skill (I teach my clients the 4 A’s of asking) And receiving that help is an equally important skill to learn as well!
If you are feeling like there is a disconnect between you and your team when it comes to asking for support, my Empowered Team Session could be right up your alley (and yes, we can shift this in just one session together.)
2010 was the year that I hired my first OBM Tiffany.
I had VA support already for a few years at that point, but this was my first time hiring management-level support.
Now Tiffany jumped right into the role with both feet and rocked it. She took over managing the team, all the projects and generally making sure everything was running smoothly in the business.
Awesome right? This is exactly what I was looking for (and as a side note – this is exactly what we teach our Certified OBMs to do).
So I was REALLY surprised a few months into our working relationship to find myself questioning whether or not we should continue to work together.
Say what Tina? Why the heck would you want to stop working with someone who was doing an amazing job?
I remember waking up one morning in a bit of a panic. I was feeling useless in my own business.
The team was no longer coming to me with questions and for guidance – they went to Tiffany instead.
I no longer had to check in on projects and make sure stuff was getting done – Tiffany was on top of it.
I wasn’t the one who had my finger on the pulse of every little thing going on anymore – you guessed it, Tiffany was taking care of it.
And I didn’t know what to do with myself.
The question that kept running through my mind was “If I’m no longer needed for these things in my business – then what value am I bringing to the table? What is my role here?” Cue the identity crisis.
Thankfully I was working with a coach at the time and I reached out to him with that exact question.
He reminded me that my role was no longer about managing the business. “You are at the stage now Tina where your business needs you to lead – not to manage. Every level of success requires you to let go of something and you are at the point where it’s time to let go of managing. It’s time to be the CEO.”
We worked together to define what my role as CEO was. To identify all the things that I no longer had to take care of, and the things that I was now freed up to spend more time on (which for me was writing, teaching and coaching alongside the higher level leadership activities that my business needed from me.)
I remember so clearly being at a crossroads that day and seeing two paths laid out in front of me.
One direction was the old, worn path that I was used to. The path of being involved in every little nitty gritty detail of my business. Where I was the hub of everything going on with the team and projects. This was what I was used to doing (habit!) and it was something that I knew how to do well. I felt needed. I felt important. And even though it wasn’t what I wanted to be doing anymore, it was comfortable and the temptation to go down that path again was strong!
The other direction was about stepping into my leadership and becoming the CEO I knew I was meant to be. To let go of what I no longer needed to be doing and step into the (sometimes scary) things that my business was calling me to.
Thankfully I chose the second path – and although it’s been bumpy at times it truly has made all the difference in the world. If I had chosen the first path I know I would have sabotaged my working relationship with Tiffany. I would have stuck my nose back into things I didn’t need to be involved in. And we probably wouldn’t have worked together for very long after that as I would have gotten in the way. We ended up working together for 8 years before she left to start her agency. 🙂
It’s funny how sometimes we KNOW we need to make changes in what we are doing. We may even WANT to make those changes and bring more people onto the team to help.
But when we make those changes we find ourselves in uncharted territory. We may not know what to do with ourselves. If we are uncertain about what our new role is, then it’s really easy to slide back into our old one.
This is why the very first thing I do with every leadership client I work with is helping them redefine their CEO role – to create a new identity. To look at what they do best, what they want to do and what their business needs from them and to turn that into an inspiring and exciting role. Only then can we take a deeper look at their team and leadership, knowing that they won’t slide back into the ‘old habits’ of what their role used to be.
They come to me when they’ve tried hiring multiple times and can’t seem to find the right person.
When the people on their team keep ‘bugging’ them (asking questions, waiting to be told what to do next)
When folks keep making mistakes that they have to turn around and fix.
As a default, it’s easy to think it’s about the person they’ve hired.
“Try as I might Tina, I just can’t seem to find good people. Where are all the good people?”
My response is the part they sometimes don’t like to hear.
“Let’s take a look at your leadership first.”
In my experience, when someone is struggling with the same problems in their team over and over again there is something missing in their leadership.
It might be something in the hiring process that leads to making a poor hire.
It might be the way they are delegating and setting expectations.
It might be a gap in communication and how the team is being managed day to day.
It might be how they are handling mistakes when they happen.
This can be a hard pill to swallow because it means admitting that we don’t know how to lead very well (yet.)
But the good news is this – when the problem is in our leadership, WE have the power to fix it!
One of my favorite leadership principles is this:
A leader looks in the mirror first – at their leadership – before blaming the person they’ve hired.
But it’s not always clear where the gap in our leadership is, and this is exactly why I’ve created a new assessment to help folks struggling with their teams. They feel like they are constantly caught up in team issues and unsure how to fix it. Your assessment includes a 90-minute diagnostic session with me to identify where the problems are and lay out 2 or 3 ACTIONABLE steps for you to take with your team and in your leadership.
I’ve had a couple of milestone moments since the beginning of the year.
The first was my moms passing on January 6th. She had been diagnosed with cancer last year so it was not an unexpected death, but it was certainly sudden in that we hoped to have at least a few more months with her.
Those who have experienced the death of a parent will know, there is not only the emotional aspect of dealing with the loss… but boy oh boy is there a lot of stuff to do! It’s almost a full-time job dealing with someone’s estate – even when they have all of their ducks in a row.
The second milestone was turning 50 on February 2nd. I’m not someone who is bothered by my age and the thought of turning 50 didn’t feel like a big deal. But I was surprised to find myself feeling a shift in energy as a result of what I believe are these two things together.
It’s changed the way I’m looking at my businesses and my life. I’m being invited to shift my priorities.
As the dust started to settle earlier this month after both of these milestone moments, my first inclination was to “get back to work.”
Now I love my work. I’ve always loved my work. I love working in general! But I’ve found myself struggling to get back into the groove of things.
Yes, grief is part of this for sure. It’s something I’m familiar with from when my dad passed back in 2017, in that it likes to sneak up at interesting times. And I know that part of my coping mechanism is to keep myself busy and productive.
But I’ve found myself pausing in the midst of all of this to ask myself:
“What do I want the rest of my life to look like?”
Now that my parents have both passed and I no longer have to worry about their health and well-being. As my moms illness progressed over the past year she required more care and attention, which I was more than happy to provide together with my sister (thankfully we all live in the same city). Once she was gone I was surprised to realize how much energy became freed up from no longer having to wonder and worry.
Now that my kids are almost grown (they are 15 & 17 this year – how did that happen?) They are almost adults and will not need me in the same ways soon enough.
Now that I’m 50 and am closer to the end of life than the beginning. Not to be morose about it, but I suspect I won’t be living past 100 😉
To be frank, I don’t know the answers at this moment.
But I am really allowing myself to marinate in the possibilities. And to deeply consider the things I really want for myself.
I can feel changes coming in how much time I spend working (I’m exploring a shorter work week.)
I can feel changes coming in what I’m offering, and getting back to my roots in some areas (in particular around team leadership.)
I can feel changes in who I am outside of my work, and exploring different ways to enjoy this life I’ve been given (more fun – less work?)
I am also aware of how amazing it is to be an entrepreneur and choose what I want my life and work to look like. It is something that I consider to be one of the great blessings of my life and I don’t take that for granted.
More to come, but for now I just wanted to say hello. You may not have seen me recently but I’m still here and thinking of you.
The world needs solopreneurs and entrepreneurs. It needs companies of one and companies of many.
It needs those who serve a handful of clients at a time. And those who serve hundreds or thousands at a time.
The world needs all of us. It needs you.
It needs each of us to claim our calling – our purpose – and to come together in service to the greater good. It needs the visionary to see the vision. The creator to bring it to life. The manager to bring the pieces together. The doer to get stuff done.
It’s time to let go of the expectation that we should be something other than what we are. That we need to change ourselves before we can make a difference. Before we can step into the work we were put here on earth to do.
Your calling is what it is. You can’t change it – you can only reveal it and own it. 100%. Jumping in with both feet. <– THAT is the only thing the world really needs from you.