Business growth requires a lot of courage. In this article I get into five keys to experiencing courageous growth in your life and business.
I love the word encouragement for many reasons. One is that I am a naturally encouraging person. But another huge reason is because of the meaning of the word. Here is the definition of encourage from Merriam Webster:
a : to inspire with courage, spirit, or hope
2: to spur on
3: to give help or patronage to
But even deeper than that is that when you break down the word into two parts, you have "en" and "courage." The prefix en means to impart or give. And courage means the ability to do something that frightens one. So when we encourage others, we impart courage to them. We give them the ability to do something that frightens them. Likewise, when we receive encouragement from others, they impart courage - the ability to do something frightening - to us. Also, as seen from the definition above, when we give or receive encouragement, we have hope, and are spurred on to do great things.
Because of that, saturating your life with encouragement is one of the top ways to experience courageous business growth.
Finding the Courage to Grow
The article Finding the Courage to Grow by John Maxwell is what inspired me to write this particular article. In it he recommends finding courage in the following three sources:
- Encouraging People
Spending time with even one or two people who believe in you and in your ability to grow will do wonders for your courage.
- Encouraging Environments
Whether it’s your office, your church, your community or your home, you need to spend time in places where your growth is not only allowed, but embraced.
- Encouraging Words
Encouraging words can be gathered from a wide variety of sources, like web seminars, podcasts, or online videos. Just make sure the people you choose to listen to have your interests at heart more than their own.
When it comes to encouraging people, I recommend finding great friends, and books are a great place to find encouraging words as well. For books, check out Patrick's recommendations for the top 100 books for entrepreneurs. And since choosing the right friends matters, be sure to check out the article and video, How to Choose Great Friends:
This article published on Addicted2Success poses the question of whether you should pursue ambition or humility. Its answer is that it depends on where you want life to take you. It looks at ambition as being something that's needed to succeed in business and humility being what's needed to succeed in something more charitable. I personally feel that you need both humility and ambition for business growth.
Here's why. Without humility, you'll try to do everything on your own. Some entrepreneurs find it difficult to hire people to do work for them because they feel that no one else will do whatever it is better than them. Humility results in the recognition or the limitations of doing everything yourself. Humility is also a necessary component of recognizing areas of weakness and being willing to admit your faults to others. It also guards you against selfish ambition.
But you'll never accomplish anything great or have significant business growth without ambition.
A lot of opportunities get missed when you think they aren’t viable options. The key to unlocking them? Ambition.
So don't shy away from ambition, but be humble enough to ask for help when you need it.
#3: Take Initiative
Business growth doesn't happen by accident. It's not a passive pursuit. It requires taking initiative.
This article published on Addicted2Success provides the following keys to taking initiative in business:
- Ask lots of questions
- Make a list and get it done
- Recognize your mistakes
- Own those mistakes
- Let your voice be heard
- Set goals
- Actively participate
- Embrace new opportunities
- Stick to your values
- Inform yourself
- Ask an expert
- Make a plan
I want to touch on just a few of these. First, do you see any that also require humility? Yes, recognizing and owning mistakes are both important aspects of taking initiative.
Let Your Voice Be Heard
Another one that stood out to me is letting your voice be heard. If you're a little on the shy side like I am, you may find it hard to let your voice be heard. But I've found that speaking up is an incredibly important thing when it comes to business growth. I recommend the book, Fire Your Boss. (In the spirit of full disclosure, I first read the book because I was hired to edit it, but it truly impacted my thinking.) The thing that stood out to me the most is that if you're happy with something, you're often the one responsible for the situation.
For example, if you're unhappy with a situation at work, but keep showing up, you can't really blame the problem on your boss. If you're an entrepreneur and are unhappy with a client situation, you can't blame the client if you keep putting up with the situation. One thing that really stood out to me was that every time you sign your paycheck (or receive payment from a client), it's as if you've signed a contract stating that you agree with whatever is happening in that particular situation.
Now granted, it can be scary to speak up. When you speak up as an employee, you risk being fired. And when you speak up as an entrepreneur, you likewise risk being fired. But speaking up is an incredibly important aspect of taking initiative otherwise you won't experience the business growth you desire.
Stick to Your Values
Another important aspect of taking initiative is to stick with your values. As an entrepreneur, you will regularly be tempted or presented with opportunities to compromise.
Here are some encouraging words to keep in mind:
Think about the values that are most important to you, and hold them high. Upholding these values demonstrates that you are willing to work for the success you want, without ever having to compromise what you believe in.
For the rest of the points, be sure to read the entire article: 12 Ways to Take More Initiative in Your Life and Business.
Author Jesse Itzler hired a Navy seal to live with him and his family for 31 days. He agreed that he would do whatever the Navy seal told him to do during that time.
They share some of their insights on this video published on Business Insider.
Among other things, he learned that everybody is on a journey and sometimes your journey sucks. Because of that most people try to take an easier path. The key lesson was that you have to be willing to push yourself and get out of your routine, out of your comfort zone. If you live in your comfort zone too long, that becomes your norm. The key is to push yourself further than you think you can go. This is possible because we all have a reserve tank that enables us to do more than we think we can. To experience courageous business growth, you must tap into that reserve tank.
When You Think You've Reached Your Limit
That's where the 40% rule comes in:
when you think you're done and have reached your limit, you're actually only 40% done.
Here are some examples of what the 40% rule might look like.
As a writer I may say that my limit is 2,000 words per day. I may even feel really good about that since a lot of writers have a word count goal of 1,000 words per day. But when using the 40% rule, if I feel that 2,000 words a day is my limit, the reality is that my limit is more like 5,000 words per day, because I'm only 40% to my limit when I hit 2,000 words.
So to apply the 40% rule to your own business, think of a task that you need to do each day to move your business forward. Do you need to make sales calls? If you typically make 50 calls per day, apply the 40% rule and make 125 calls per day. That may seem daunting especially if you feel like you're already doing a lot. But when you tap into your reserve tank, you'll find you can push harder than you ever thought possible.
This article gives the following four steps to live your life fearlessly:
- Collapse all hierarchies
- Collapse your equations
- Forget yourself
- Focus on your values, embody your vision
Notice that one of the points is to forget yourself. Sometimes focusing on yourself too much can keep you from experiencing courageous business growth. This is especially true if you get too wrapped up in your limiting beliefs.
The more rigid our self-concept the more restricted our world. Things can only affect you if you cannot suspend your idea of yourself and adapt it to the situation. When your identity is rigid it becomes brittle, when it is flexible it is fluid, and things that used to unsettle you cease to do so. Why? Because if you have no fixed idea of yourself, nothing can break you.
Since all of us struggle with limiting beliefs, to overcome yours, I recommend watching this video:
My Encouragement to You
As you wrap up the final weeks of this year and look ahead to the New Year, I want to encourage you to embrace these five keys to courageous business growth. If you do, you'll be at a very different place in your life and business this time next year.
If you have any questions or comments, be sure to leave them below.