The love. The passion. The drive. It held your small business together. Clients came in. A decent amount of money flowed–at least, enough to say, “Hey I got a real, viable business on my hands that can support me.”
Then the rush of clients stop; the flow turns to a trickle. Your business has reached its maximum flexing point. Shhhhit.
My sister was a gymnast. She invested almost 20 years, thousands of hours, and plenty of injuries from the vault, balance beam, bars, and floor work. In the first few years of competing, she regularly earned first and second place medals. Her bedroom quickly became a trophy room from her success. Her enthusiasm and joy for the sport rapidly carried her through the levels.
But one day, she hit a plateau. To compete at higher levels, her flexibility and strength needed to improve. Her coach pushed her to have a flawless split and straight lines when flexing and pointing her legs in the air. To achieve this, her coach cranked on her body for months at a time to force her split to the ground.
I remember the grueling pain and muscle tears she went through. I cringe thinking about it. She mutilated her groin and hip flexors. Her progress slowed, and injuries became more common. She could do a split, but was the pain and hard work worth it? Was the short career worth it?
Are You Cranking on Your Business?
When business feels like it has dried up, and things ain’t so hunky dory, most of us fall into reactive mode. You’re needy for clients and money; therefore, you push, you work hard, and you do everything you can to crank out more business and get that flow back. Painful. Exhausting. In need. There has to be a better way?
Do you know what the best way is to increase your flexibility in the shortest amount of time? It’s easing and relaxing into the stretch. I wish my sister’s coach was intelligent enough to know that. But when you push too hard and too fast you go nowhere, except for injury. You need to relax and breathe to deepen the stretch.
No pain, but plenty of gain, because your muscles don’t need the time to repair from the wearing and tearing. The muscles learn how to be flexible and start in that new place of flexibility next time.
Okay…enough lessons on stretching.
The point: rather than pushing and cranking, be open up to your neediness and say, “I’m here. It’s okay that I’m needing more clients and more money”? Because being here with your neediness relaxes you to receive what you truly need. When you fill yourself up, you expand and easily flex to a new level without the pain and without the need.
How to Stretch Your Business?
Be where you are
You want to grow your business. I’m sure you have a grand vision of where you want to be in a few years and what a successful business looks like. But when you are stuck in this vision, you become stuck in expectations.
Having a vision is not the problem, the problem is your attachment to expectations. When the amount of clients and money coming in is not what you expected, and the reality of your business is not meeting your vision, if you are attached to these expectations you suffer. You don’t have to take my word for it, Buddha said it himself: The cause of suffering is from attachment (I’m paraphrasing).
Hold tight to that vision of yours, but how can you let go and honor where you are at? One way is to continually cultivate appreciation for what you already have. Appreciation grounds you to what is. It acknowledges and respects the progress your business has made. In this groundedness, you are being here, now, and standing firmly with both feet on the ground.
Ask to be shown
Before reacting to your business situation and neediness, ask in your heart to be shown what you really need to be fulfilled. You are witnessing that your business needs more flow because you are at a plateau. Before you react and try to bring more business in from a place of neediness, ask, “May I please be shown what I truly need in this relationship.”
You don’t need the clients and money, but a true need–something that fills your heart. If you already had the clients and money, what does that do for you? What needdoes it fill? Does it bring you safety? Make you feel witnessed? Give a sense of contribution? Create community? Give you strength?
Have a look at List of needs (right click, save as). When you ask in your heart what you truly need, see what need you gravitate towards in the PDF. Your goal here is to identify the true need.
Drink it in
You don’t know something until you experience it. That’s why in the Zen tradition you sit in meditation, because you can talk all you want about enlightenment and The Way, but knowing on an intellectual level is not quite it. You must sit and experience enlightenment for yourself.
When you receive what you truly need from your situation, take that need and drink it. It’s a metaphorical drink of filling your heart with that need. For example, if you discover what you truly need in this current situation is safety, ask to drink and be filled with that need: “May I please drink in and have safety.” Now wash your complete being in safety. Sit as safety.
Another way to experience this need is to fill a glass of water three-quarters full. Declare that the water represents the need of safety, for example. Now drink the water knowing that you are drinking in safety.
Here’s the process in review: be where you are and notice your neediness, ask to be shown what you really need in this situation, drink in the true need you received.
Now you are filled. From this place of fullness, you will respond and make decisions with appropriateness and in balance. In the Buddhist tradition, this is called Right Action. You get back into the flow and start flexing yourself to that new level of business.
Getting the Support and Guidance You Need
The journey to your next of level of business is often messy and like navigating on rough terrains. I know you can do it, but with the right support and guidance you can have an easier journey and cut your time in half. I’m here for you. If you want to explore the possibility of receiving help, and getting that flow of clients and money back into your business, click here to look at my Backward Business Development training.