I've been working with a client who was struggling with self-organization and time-management. After our last meeting, he took it upon himself to create a weekly list and make note of all of the different projects, initiatives, conversations, and people that he was avoiding in his business that built up during the week. He made it a priority, without me asking him or even suggesting it, to set aside 2 hours on a Thursday afternoon to purposely tackle the things he avoided, one by one.
If you're a business coach, you know exactly how I felt—I wanted to cry with joy. My client had stepped up in a huge way to the most critical thing we try to get our clients to embody —self-responsibility.
We're all capable of being our own worst enemy, or our best ally. The key to getting this right is to get real with where you are today, to really face into what you’ve been avoiding. So at least you're not avoiding what you’re avoiding.
And making this choice was just the beginning of the story for my client. At first, he dreaded seeing Thursday afternoon come up on his calendar. But by the end of the first month he found his groove with it. Each Thursday afternoon, he'd pour himself a cup of black coffee, turn off his phone, and get to work. He wrote down previously-avoided tasks, and start actively working on himself. He became more disciplined, more persistent in doing the hard thing, and starting proving to himself that he was in fact a leader, because he could look avoidance in the eye and not just not back down, but lean into it.
The lowest hanging fruit in business and leadership growth is often found in locating and identifying what you've been avoiding in your business development. Whether it's budgeting, updating your blog, implementing a new system you designed, training your staff like you had promised to do in the last meeting, following up with prospects, or dealing with a challenging client issue, we all find some aspect of the business that we find confronting and often avoid.
My client taught me something through this process, and it changed me. I was so inspired by what he was doing that I decided to begin practicing this myself. And of course, sharing this challenge with other clients. This simple practice was already having dramatic results for my client in terms of real business growth and profits, and I was beginning to see them myself in my coaching practice, and to use them in my public seminars.
My client reminded me of something important, something that it's easy to lose sight of in the face of market pressures. He reminded me that we all have our fear-points, places of overwhelm, challenges, and things that we avoid, and that counter-intuitively, it's by accepting these things about ourselves, and leaning into them rather than running away, that we become bigger versions of ourselves.
I've helped this client do a lot of things over the last year. His business is better as a result of our work together. And I'm better because of it too.