21 Jul 2011

Business Growth Challenge – Stop the Madness of Measuring Against Perfection

Why do we business owners torture ourselves?  Very often we measure our current results only against perfection (our ideal goals).  With that measuring stick, there will be lots of disappointment.  More times than not, we will come up short and feel frustrated.

Are we really that crazy?  YES!  We seldom take time to enjoy the journey, gauge and celebrate our incredible progress.  We tend to only look ahead to our big, audacious goals and not behind to see our progress, how far we have truly come.  I am certainly guilty of this.  Are you?

Case in point.  The Growth Coach, a North American business coaching franchise system, hit our 8th anniversary in May … the date when our first franchise owner, Tim Shepelak, joined our system.  Tim is still with us today, coaching hundreds of small business clients each year, doing great, and having a balanced and fulfilled life.  I am proud of him and thrilled for his family. I hope they celebrated his 8th anniversary as a Growth Coach.

For me, sadly, the 8th anniversary date pretty much came and went.  Like many entrepreneurs, I did not take the proper time to slow down, reflect, review our incredible progress, and truly celebrate our successful journey to date.  Instead, in my head, I was already focusing on what needed to be done to take our business coaching franchise system to the next level by our 9th anniversary.

I am somewhat ashamed to admit it but I failed to take note of our 8th year accomplishments:

  • Franchise owners/certified business coaches in over 150 markets throughout North America;
  • Our first international master franchise in Ecuador;
  • That we launched a new expansion plan overseas;
  • That our newer sales coaching & accountability offering is selling very well;
  • That system-wide revenues and number of clients served are at all-time record high’s;
  • That we coach several thousand small business owners each and every year … transforming their businesses and lives for the better;
  • That Greg Scheingold was elevated to President of The Growth Coach; and
  • That we are blessed to continue to attract top-caliber and amazing professionals to our franchise community who are seeking greater success, significance and fulfillment as business coaches and entrepreneurs.

I did this list not to impress anyone, but to simply impress upon everyone that we owners can fail to “stop and smell the roses” along the way … and that’s a form of madness.

Why is it so hard for business owners, me included, to stop, reflect and celebrate?  Many of our franchise owners/business coaches are guilty of this as well.   In my case, truth be told, I felt uncomfortable reflecting on the franchise system’s progress and celebrating.  In my crazy Irish head, I kept saying BUT, BUT, BUT … but compared to where I think Growth Coach COULD HAVE BEEN after eight years, we came up somewhat short … and the great recession didn’t help at all.  You see, like YOU, I set incredibly high goals … more often than not, TOO HIGH of goals.

Why could I not simply acknowledge and enjoy the tremendous progress?  Then it hit me.  Most business owners, myself included, tend to judge our current performance against perfection or a desired ideal state that cannot be truly attained.  We are always striving for more … for perfection.  While noble, it’s also sad at the same time.  With that metric, we will always fall short, feel disappointed, fail to enjoy the journey, and probably burn out early.

Why do most entrepreneurs measure forward against perfection or our desired ideal state?  Because many are Type A, driven, goal-oriented and demanding zealots.  Others are idealists and want to serve and help as many as possible.  While all this may drive us to achieve incredible heights, it will also drive us nuts and leave us feeling empty, frustrated, and unhappy.  Many of us believe we must achieve incredible levels or lofty goals or help heal the world to be happy.  But since we can never reach perfection, we fall short of our unrealistic goals and can feel disappointed and at times, even miserable.   There is another way, a real solution !

Let’s stop the madness and insanity now!  Let’s get some balance in our measurements.  Instead, why don’t we occasionally learn to measure backward instead of just forward?  Let’s all commit to look at our performance against last quarter’s or last year’s performance.  Or let’s look at how far we’ve come in a year, or three years, or five years, or since business launch.  Let’s learn to see and appreciate our progress and count our blessings.  We will all be much happier and we will enjoy the business-ownership journey.

With this business coaching blog, I have now officially taken the time to review and celebrate Growth Coach’s fantastic progress.  Thank you for allowing me to do so.  I do feel much better … while I came up short on some of my big, audacious goals, the look-back progress has been amazing.  Hopefully, this blog will also help other business owners learn to look back and recognize and appreciate how far they have come.  Measure backward, not just forward.

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