Intrepid entrepreneur Debra Gould shares lessons from the gym that apply equally to building a business.
I belonged to a gym for years and rarely made it there despite all my best intentions. Every month, the membership fee on my credit card reminded me how I’d failed to follow through yet again.
Then last year I had major surgery. What a wake up call to pay more attention to my health! It took 4 months to fully recover and I decided that no amount of wishing and promising was going to get me to the gym until I did something different. So, I purchased 50 training sessions with a personal trainer and made appointments to work with him three times a week.
It’s been a difficult journey toward becoming fit, but it reminded me of a few lessons that apply equally to building a business.
1. Even the slightest adjustment can make a world of difference.
I would think I was doing an exercise correctly until my trainer had me change my arm position by an inch or less. Suddenly I was using a whole new set of muscles. I could have done the exercise incorrectly for months with no results and concluded that exercise was a waste of time!
That’s not unlike someone having a website and giving up after a year or less, thinking it’s a waste of effort when the problem wasn’t with being on the web, but with the content of their site. Sometimes all that’s needed is a little fine tuning to get the results you want.
2. Having an appointment or a deadline keeps you focused.
I’ve blocked off 2 hours three times a week for my personal trainer. There is no way I would have gone to the gym that often if he wasn’t expecting me and I hadn’t already paid for the time. But now I’m in better shape than I have been in 20 years.
I still fight with the little voice in my head that says, “This is too expensive and too time consuming.” But the reality is that there’s a huge payoff. It’s keeping me healthy, so how can I afford NOT to do it?
This is not unlike someone saying “I can’t afford to promote my business or learn how to charge properly for my services.” If you don’t do these things you won’t have a business, so how can you afford NOT to do them?
3. Having an objective third party give you expert advice and encouragement can keep you motivated, no matter how hard you’re working or how hopeless it can sometimes feel.
Just when an exercise is getting easier, my trainer ups the weight, speeds up the machine, or makes me do more repetitions. I get discouraged because then it’s hard work all over again and I want to quit. But the trainer keeps me going and encourages me to push through the hard part. Little by little my muscles get stronger and my heart rate recovers more quickly. I’m now on my third set of 50 training sessions and I feel fantastic!
That’s what it’s like in business. You finally figure out something you were struggling with and it gets easier. You’re proud of yourself but you know coasting along will not generate more progress and growth. You have to take on new challenges.
With each new hurdle that you tackle, you get stronger and more confident. Then you go through a period of feeling like a beginner again as you take on some new challenge. But remember, success is a process not a final destination.
Internationally recognized home staging expert Debra Gould is President of Six Elements and creator of the Staging Diva Home Staging Business Training Program. Debra has staged millions of dollars worth of real estate and uses her expertise to train others worldwide.
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