14 Apr 2011

Growth Coach Challenge – Business Owner, Don’t Waste Your Wake-Up Calls

Every human being, but especially overworked, overwhelmed, and overly busy entrepreneurs and small business owners, will receive numerous wake-up calls over their lifetime.  What’s a wake-up call? It’s that very personal, shocking, upsetting, and significant event that grabs your attention, shakes you to your core, and strongly encourages you to slow down and think. Twenty common wake-up calls for entrepreneurs are listed below … continue to read.

A true wake-up call is too significant to be brushed off, ignored or easily forgotten. It gets you to reflect and question your current attitudes, beliefs, lifestyle, habits and behaviors. Such a body-blow event can make you more open and receptive to changing your ways.  Such a jarring wake-up call demands that you stop taking loved ones, friends and your situation for granted and stop sleep-walking through life.  It wants you to awaken! To be more fully engaged and enlightened at the office, home with the family, or both.

No doubt about it, wake-up calls are jolting.  They can frighten you, grab your heart, stress you out, embarrass you, knock you to your knees, humble you, and steal your peace of mind. God knows I have had my fair share of wake-up calls … some that blind-sided me and some I flat-out caused.  However, I believe they all serve a real purpose if you search.  Wake-up calls are to remind us that we are fragile human beings and that we aren’t immortal, invincible or super heroes. That we are far from perfect … and in fact, very much broken.  That there is no place for arrogance in business and life.  That life is not fair and goes way too fast.  That tragedies happen to everyone on the planet … the good and bad, rich and poor, young and old.  That we all make dumb mistakes we regret.  That we get off track and lose our way from time to time.  That certain things are beyond our control.  That we are human beings first and foremost, not just business owners.  That there is a God … and it’s not us.

While painful, a wake-up call wishes to teach you a valuable lesson … IF you are receptive to learning and growing. If you aren’t open to receiving the gift of insight, it will be both painful and without any real benefit … what a shame.  Don’t waste a valuable wake-up call.  As a CPA and business coach for over 25  years, I have seen countless small business owners and professionals deal with dozens of different wake-up calls.  Here is a small sampling of 20 of the more common wake-up calls:

  • Health challenges, physical or mental
  • Marital challenges or divorce
  • Legal problems, business or personal
  • Financial struggles, business or personal
  • Death of a loved one or close friend
  • The aging process and diminishing health
  • A mid-life crisis
  • Serious illness or disease inflicting a loved one or close friend
  • Struggles with addictions, you or a family member
  • Your kids getting into serious trouble
  • Business crises and major setbacks
  • Loss of key customers, employees, vendors or suppliers
  • Betrayal by someone you trusted, personal or business
  • Your own illness, near-death experience, or mortality awareness
  • A serious accident
  • A super dumb mistake that hurt yourself or others
  • A bad economy like the Great Recession we just experienced
  • Government regulations, industry-wide challenges, or game-changing technology
  • Unresolved messes and toxic relationships that have festered
  • General business owner blues or even burnout

Can you relate to any of these wake-up calls? How did you respond?  Did one or more of these get you to change your ways?  Did you transform to become a better person or business owner?

Though unsettling, these wake-up calls can teach us great lessons and humble us.  With the proper perspective, these wake-up calls (just like business coaching) get us to slow down, reflect, count our blessings, learn valuable lessons, make adjustments, and move on as better people and owners. At times, they even teach us to ask others for forgiveness and make amends.  Again, don’t waste a wake-up call … make something good out of something bad.

When confronted with a wake-up call you caused, you must take responsibility and own it. If it’s a wake-up call that merely happened to you, you still must face the reality that it happened, accept it and deal with it.  No place for denial.  You must treat wake-up calls as teachers trying to help you learn, avoid the same mistake in the future, correct your course now, and improve.  You must also learn to forgive yourself and stop beating yourself up.  For serious wake-up calls and challenges, be sure to seek professional counseling.

If you do have a wake-up call, don’t panic.  Treat it as a gift.  Some are warranted, some are not.  Forget about them being fair or not.  If you dig deep enough, there is always something worthy to be found and something positive you can change in your business and/or life as a result. See the silver lining in each and every black cloud.  Search for the valuable lesson and wisdom.  In fact, we teach our business coaching clients to look at any bad situation, wake-up call or setback and ask a few empowering questions: “What can I learn from this?  What is the message for me? What are the positives I can take away from this experience?  What do I need to do differently?  How can this make me or my business better?”

Please don’t delude yourself.  As long as you are alive, wake-up calls will surely come.  While not all wake-up calls can be avoided, most of them are self-inflicted and can be prevented or cushioned with proper business coaching … on-going self-reflection, facing the truth, accountability, and creating new directions. In fact, we want our Growth Coach clients to have gentle wake-up calls with us from DAY ONE so massive wake-up calls and emotional grief can be prevented, delayed or softened.

Instead of waiting reactively for a big wake-up call to knock you down, take a proactive stance and take our business coaching on-line assessment.  Or, read the introduction of our business coaching book for a valuable wake-up call.  You will be grateful you confronted reality on your terms instead of being blind-sided by a speeding and massive wake-up call.

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