One of the toughest truths I’ve ever encountered is that transformation isn’t external – it comes from changes you make within yourself. I had to learn this lesson the hard way.
When I hit my bottom, my business was $600,000 in debt and 60 days away from running out of cash completely. I was devastated, so I took a full 30 minutes to feel sorry for myself.
With that out of the way, I began the process of exploring my inner dynamics – and eliminating my inner “itty-bitty shitty committee” – so that I could make the changes necessary to move past my challenges and thrive. I’m proud of the way I’ve bounced back and achieved some of my most audacious goals, including making the Inc. 5000 list of the fastest growing companies a record 6 times.
My personal and professional transformation is the product of a 4-step process – based on the foundation of The Active Learning Cycle – that I’ve laid out below. Follow these steps to engage with your inner dynamics & get unstuck, unlock your full potential, and achieve the outcomes you desire.
1. Identify Your Mindset, And Recognize The Pattern That Isn’t Working
Mindset comes from the stories we tell ourselves about what’s going on in our lives. Sometimes we have to recognize that those stories are not serving us well. The key is to understand the difference between a Growth Mindset, and Fixed mindset, and embrace an ATV outlook (Authentic, Transparent, and Vulnerable).
A Fixed Mindset is one threatened with fear, stress, and self-doubt. Remember my low moment, when I was over half a million dollars in debt and months away from having to shutter my business? I was engaging in reactivity, and my unconscious, self-protective behavior and imposter syndrome limited my options.
On the other hand, a Growth Mindset requires you to be Authentic, Transparent, and Vulnerable, and rewards you with growth. Shifting to creativity meant focusing on satisfaction, not happiness. Happiness is a short-lived spike of dopamine; satisfaction is a reflection on the highs and lows of your personal journey.
The 4-step process identifies and addresses the gap between a Growth Mindset and a Fixed Mindset. Pivoting from reactivity into creativity is the key shift needed to move from a Fixed Mindset to a Growth Mindset.
2. Set Intention, Not Expectation
Expectations place the definition of success on the outcome, which is not always in our control. Intentions, on the other hand, are ours to define.
Failure may be inevitable when setting high expectations, but being less results-oriented allows us to focus on the individual steps in the journey to success – one at a time.
Defining success by your ability to follow through on your intentions, gives you the ability to focus on the present by freeing yourself from the outcome. This allows you to adapt quickly and effectively and learn along the way by staying Massively Curious.
3. Create a Strategy, Take Action, Get Feedback
When I was $600,000 in debt, I first identified my mindset (“I can no longer do this alone. I need to push aside my pride & ego; I need to get help. I better hire a business coach.”) Next, I set my intention to get out of debt. I just didn’t know how.
With my intention in place, I created a strategy to reach out to companies that would still hire people from my staffing firm during a recession. I asked each of them this question: “If you could only hire one person when you come out of the recession, who would it be?”
That was my action. My feedback was their response. This pattern armed me with the information I would need later to get my business out of debt and on the fast track to success.
Action requires strategy. There’s no moving forward in the E-4 process without receiving feedback, which gives you the critical information needed to adapt your strategy.
4. Learn, Iterate Forward, and Repeat
You’ve identified your mindset. You’ve chosen to set an intention, and not an expectation. You’ve strategized, taken action, and received feedback. The next thing you need to do is learn.
True learning comes from experiencing discomfort. You need to receive the feedback from step 3 and use it to inform the next cycle.
That doesn’t mean you should trust every negative thought you have about yourself or your business. There is an itty-bitty shitty committee in your head that can close you off from possibility and opportunity. It’s difficult to learn the difference between that voice and the quieter voice that works to improve you through discomfort, but the process is ultimately rewarding.
Once you have integrated feedback, iterating forward and repeating takes you back to the first step in the cycle. The E-4 Process is infinitely repeatable and continues to pay dividends if you engage with it honestly and from a place of Massive Accountability.
Schedule a consultation with Extraordinary Advisors today and we can help you make a life, not just a living, by revealing the authentic leader within you.