How do you create the future you want? As your business grows and transforms, you find new challenges to deal with. Many leaders struggle with their futures. For the serving leader, it is critical to get beyond the day to day activities and begin to develop your plans for the future. Many business owners have a difficult time determining what’s next for them beyond their business. Over 80% of entrepreneurs claim they built their businesses to be sold. Then why do so many struggle to disconnect from their business? Having interviewed many founders of high growth businesses, I have discovered how difficult it is for these leaders to create a great second act for their lives beyond their businesses.
I thought it might be helpful to share a process I use when working with these business leaders. I use a four step process that helps them reconnect with the things they enjoyed when they started their businesses while applying the knowledge they gained through growing it.
Before you start, make sure you are in a positive place. I typically spend time with my clients choosing a positive approach to the challenge we face together. I set several strategic ground rules for what we achieve. By defining these ground rules up front we are more likely to get the results we desire.
The first ground rule is focus on your successes not your setbacks. In this way, we are able to get a better handle on what you do well and what strengths you possess. This allows you to better understand your own unique gifts and strengths.
The second rule is discuss ideas without judgment. The idea is to give you an environment where you can talk freely and discuss many options before choosing one to act upon. Try to remember a time where you had endless options to pursue, for example.
The third rule is develop a plan from what we talk about. You can have many options during the early stages but whatever you decide, we work together to help achieve what you want. A universal truth in life is what you focus on, happens. Make sure your focus is on the positive things you want to achieve. If we do this process correctly, you not only become clearer about what you want but we begin identifying different resources and people that can help you achieve your goals. Suspend any negative thoughts during the early stages to help increase your likelihood of success.
Now, let’s start with the 4D process. The first step in the process is Discovery. During this initial stage you should start to uncover what your gifts and strengths are. Think about what you’ve accomplished. How have you succeeded in the past and what are your most positive attributes? How do you apply these successes and attributes to your past situations? It’s not enough to get short answers, spend significant time looking for specific stories that help you reconnect with your earlier successes. Identify key success themes that can be found not only in your current role but across your entire life. During discovery, you also uncover what kinds of things you enjoy doing. For example, if I’m working with an engineer or financial leader they sometimes struggle knowing what they do better than others in their professions so I ask what activities would they do for free or what hobbies do they enjoy?
By the end of the discovery phase, you’ve started to build a foundation under your success. For many senior clients, this is the first time in their professional career where they have spent time talking about their own unique gifts and strengths. When done correctly you can see the person start to enjoy the discussions and dig deep to recover their past in a positive way.
Next week, we go through the next several phases of the 4D process, which include Dream, Design, and Destiny. By the time we’re done, you begin seeing the possibilities that you have for your life. See you here next week.