In 2008 my small business collapsed. It was heartbreaking.
In 2003, after a brief career in law and some business development jobs, I started a new business with an electrical engineer I’d been introduced to. We built a small renewable energy company, had a few successes, and by 2006 thought we were on our way. We just had no idea that our business model was breaking right underneath us.
And in 2008, it broke. After six years of giving it everything we had - of surviving - it was clear that we just weren't going to make it. The financial market meltdown ripped open the real truth about our business, our lack of a viable long term plan, and the deep rift that had always been there (though conveniently ignored) between my business partner and me.
It was professionally humbling, and personally painful - because of how much we'd put into it, but also because I really thought I'd found my calling.
It was time to move on. I did some consulting to pay the bills, and kept looking for that right thing, but I knew in my heart I wasn't going to find it "out there," that somehow it would find me.
Looking back now, I can see what I was looking for. I was trying to find a way to take my passion for business, my passion for personal transformation and somehow bring those two things together to make a positive contribution in the world. It sounds naive in some ways and probably obvious to a lot of you, but I was struggling to find my own voice in the world.
And that's what I wanted to write about this week. I wanted to share a little of my own story to see if it resonates for you - and if it does to share a possibility - a way you may not have considered that you could use your experience to help other business owners, while having a personally rich and financially rewarding career.
Underneath it all, most people want the same thing - we want to have work that enriches our personal life, instead of draining it. Because the drain - the overwhelm, the anxiety and the heartache - that's the problem that business owners all over the world face into each and every day, including the successful ones.
Helping people out of that crisis is the real reason why EMyth exists. It's why it was invented, it's why seven million books have been sold (which helped a lot of people put words to the feelings they were already having and accept that the crisis was real), and it's why it was worth reinventing for the next generations. And it's why we've opened up our coach training program to give people the opportunity to put our name next to theirs.
The business world has changed in a fundamental way around people's search for meaning, and that change is accelerating. The old way of doing business just isn't satisfying anymore. And the reason why we're noticing is because that next generation of entrepreneurs and professionals (who come from every age group, social demographic and industry you didn't even know existed) have put a stake in the ground and said "no more" to the old way of doing things in themselves.
In the end, that's why I love what I do - because I come from the previous generation of business conditioning, and I get to take the valuable parts of that experience and bring them forward into something new. I get to work on closing my own gap between business and personal - I get to be a work in progress. And I have the honor of being able to share my experience with people from all around the world and see how they're doing the same thing.
Which is why I hate the disingenuous strategies and pseudo-philosophy that fill the coaching and "business help" industry. I cringe every time I hear a guru or coach tell someone to "ignore their fear" or "act with confidence" or "use the power of positive thinking." I cringe every time I see people teach empty "caring" strategies instead of challenging people to actual human caring, or I hear pseudo-spiritual talk about using "compassion" in the workplace to try and make things nice, instead of having the guts to stand for competence and self-responsibility and work on making things real.
So, this is my invitation. If you love people and you love business - and it lights you up to help people be more and do more than they thought they could - you may have just found your next and possibly last business.
We'll show you how to embody the qualities of a great business coach - Challenging, Caring and Competent. We'll show you how to help business owners grow by bringing who you are - your unique combination of professional experience and personal heart - to help them grow and actually reimagine - not repackage - their business into a wellspring of meaning for themselves, their employees and their customers — which directly increases revenue, profitability and scalability at every step. Meaning first, money second.