Over the course of 2019, I delivered 80 live speaking engagements. I spent the bulk of my time on the road, supporting client events and engaging with business leaders around the country. It was our best year since we started the business a decade ago.
But success breeds complacency — and even though I know this, I fell victim to the “complacency trap” in 2019. I let my professional development and my commitment to learning slide. I got lazy with some of my most sacred routines and rituals. It was a mistake. Towards the end of the year, I began to realize that I was paying a price for this mistake mentally, physically and emotionally. That had to change. It was time to think about how I would iterate my business forward and attack this inflection point — so I wouldn’t fall victim to the “complacency trap” again.
But I know that Lynn and I couldn’t go at it alone. So we invited advisers from around the country for our own company 2020 Growth Summit. As a team, we worked through a variety of means to propel our business forward. It was inspiring, rejuvenating and just a little bit scary. But when we get comfortable or complacent, a measure of courage is required to make bold moves — so we have the very best opportunity to build both a business and life we love.
Here’s what I learned during our 2020 Growth Summit.
Create Your Own Sense of Urgency
It’s easy to elevate your sense of urgency when there is a crisis. Let’s say your partner moves out, or you get a health scare. Perhaps you lose one of your biggest customers. Our brains are wired to react to these moments. We’re thrust into a hyperbolic state, knowing that some type of response is necessary.
But creating that same sense of urgency is much more difficult to do when things are going well. And it makes sense. We’re human beings, not machines. We’ve evolved over millions of years, but our brain has the same responses it did when we were living in caves. In other words, we’re wired to look for comfort and security. It feels better to cling to what is familiar, even if that is no longer serving us well. That’s how we fall into the complacency trap.
That’s why the best entrepreneurs are Future Makers. They don’t just think about the current state of their business. They remember that there is always a road ahead. There are always new challenges they may face: new technologies, new competitors, downturns in the market. By thinking about how you can disrupt yourself, you can create a sense of urgency.
So each week, conduct a little experiment that gets you outside of your comfort zone. Get yourself comfortable being uncomfortable. The process of learning and growing is hard at times. But it’s supposed to be. Remember, growing pains are a hell of a lot better than shrinking pains.
Yes, you’ll sometimes feel like you’re making mistakes. And you just might be. But learn from them, grow from them, and embrace the lessons. Strengthen your resilience muscle. Because one day, things aren’t always going to be so comfortable. And you’ll be glad you did.
Reach Out to Trusted Advisers
Every few years, we’ll wake up in the morning and have a eureka moment that comes completely out of the blue. But there’s a reason we have a name for those moments. They’re rare. They’re the stuff of anecdotes you tell over drinks with your friends.
I know that’s certainly not how my 2020 Growth Summit came about. The reality is, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with my business, but I could tell that I had become too comfortable. I needed another challenge.
But before I figured out that challenge might be, I needed to be challenged myself. So I reached out to my personal board of directors. During my meetings with them, they challenged me to think about what my business will look like in five years. In 10 years. And, where I personally want to be in 20. Their insights, guidance and pushing helped me think about my business in new ways — and shaped many of the decisions I’ve made for the coming year.
After all, the best thinking doesn’t get done in a vacuum, and that’s a good thing. Only by exposing yourself to new ideas and challenging your own can you get closer to where you want to go — to a brand-new mountain for your business to climb.
There’s a Tony Robbins quote that I love: “Most people overestimate what they can do in a year and they underestimate what they can do in two or three decades.”
We have so much difficulty grasping what change can look like in our lives. And that’s why it’s so important to be intentional with how you approach change in your business. I’m constantly presented with opportunities to grow and expand my business. Many of them are enticing, but growth is not just about growth for its own sake. As you envision what your future will look like in the two or three decades Tony Robbins talks about, remember that you have to be clear and intentional about what you want. It’s easy to get side-tracked by opportunities that promise money, but those opportunities will cost you your energy and time. And it’s much easier than we think to look back on the past five years and say, “Wait. This isn’t the life I wanted.”
So, as you think about what you want your future to look like, keep your eyes on the vision you’ve created. Write it down. Refer to it often. Be clear and intentional about the steps that you’re taking. Remember, your business and life is about so much more than making money. It’s about fulfillment. It’s about creating purpose. It’s about making an impact on others.
For me, in the next 10 years, I am going to be very intentional about building the business and life that I love.