Here’s an autobiography that I believe puts a fine tip on the point I’d like to make.
Chapter 1: I walk down the street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I fall in. I am lost … I am helpless. It isn't my fault. It takes forever to find a way out.
Chapter 2: I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I pretend I don't see it. I fall in again. I can't believe I am in the same place. But it isn't my fault. It still takes a long time to get out.
Chapter 3: I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I see it is there. I still fall in … it's a habit. My eyes are open. I know where I am. It is my fault. I get out immediately.
Chapter 4: I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I walk around it.
Chapter 5: I walk down another street.
There’s a hole in my sidewalk by Portia Nelson
In business, it’s vital that we start first by first looking in the mirror. Are you taking personal responsibility for your actions? Or are you blaming everything and everyone around you for your troubles? Do you work on you and your thoughts daily? Or are you constrained by what Zig Ziglar called Stink’n Think’n?
Let’s face it, most of you started your practice with a chair, a desk, an office, a place to meet clients, a sign on the door, a yellow page ad and regular attendance at networking events. Eventually the business started rolling in and then you had to figure out how to manage the work, the accounting, and keep meeting new clients. Eventually you figured out a system, grew to a point where you needed the support of staff, taught them the system, added more staff and here you are. You work your tail off 75 hours a week, with staff who come to work every day just to borrow your brain. You don’t get to spend time with your family, and you’re wondering how in the heck am I going to get out of this mess?
So many times I’ll start working with a client, we’ll diagnose the problems his or her business faces, I’ll speak to the staff, inspect their processes only to find out, more times than not, the problem lies squarely in the lap of the owner. Many clients are still in Chapter Two, they aren’t willing to admit it’s all their fault. Some clients are in Chapter Three and they know it’s their fault, but they keep falling in the same hole because it’s habit, it’s comfortable.
So, what chapter are you on? Are you still blaming your problems on someone or something else? Are you taking personal responsibility but not able to let go of the old way of doing things? Is there a reason you’re working so hard? Is it because there’s not enough profit to afford support staff for you? Is the reason there’s not enough profit because you don’t charge enough for what you do? Or are you not investing in marketing to make the phone ring. Are you not getting out of the way and letting others convert those phone calls for you? Do you insist that you are the only one who can get the job done? Have you lost your backbone to put rules in place that you insist your staff follow? Do you fear confrontation and would rather hang onto staff that are not superstars rather than finding new blood?
As a business owner your job is to figure out how to get to chapter five as fast as possible. And the best way I know to do that is to make a promise to yourself to try to better today than you were yesterday. Work on yourself every day. Work on your business every day. Slowly but surely, you will see progress and before you know it, you’ll look back, you’ll be free and you’ll wonder why you hadn’t figured it out sooner.
Do you need help getting to Chapter Five? I have helped attorneys across the country figure this out. Take a moment and watch my webinar. Watch the whole thing…because there's something special for you at the end.
Building a better business, one chapter at a time.