What we are not good at matters most. That may sound counterintuitive, but it is not. In our journey to success, we know what we are good at and the skills we use to push forward enthusiastically. While this is important, it is not the answer.
Doing what we are good at alone will not make us successful. Many business owners and professionals forge ahead disregarding what they do not know, where they are inexperienced or simply don’t have the skills needed as the owner. Others do not know what they do not know. This disregard for our weaknesses gets in the way of our success.
Lunches is a daytime café that is wildly successful according to the owner. Carol says her café is popular and full every lunchtime so it must be successful. This concept of success is not working for her. She feels that she does everything right. In reality, she does a great deal that is right. She has a great location, great food, repeating customers, happy staff, etc. but she is not making enough money. Carol’s area of weakness as a business owner is finances. As long as she is bringing in lots of money every day she thought it would all work out then she realized that was not the case. Carol’s avoidance of financial planning, reporting, and management was killing her business.
Sara has an accounting firm, three offices, twelve staff and hundreds of clients eager to use the services of her company. She and other CPAs in her firm have a good reputation. Sara says her problem is she cannot service her customers because she is unable to keep competent, reliable, office staff. As we explored this Sara grew to admit that her weakness is hiring, training and mentoring staff. This is something she did not consider before. She was focused on the reputation of her accounting staff primarily. This was killing her business.
Max has a financial planning firm that he bought from a retiring planner. He has a strong group of clients. He is a skilled financial planner but after two years he is ready to throw in the towel. He feels like he does not have a life. He complained that his staff is not competent, and he is not making enough money to make it worth his while. When we looked at the business, he was very confident and initially unwilling to look at his weaknesses. When we finally opened that door, there was an obvious solution. Max is a doer. His company had no systems or procedures for staff to follow. He simply tells each person each day what they need to do. This was inefficient and resulted in poor customer service. He was loosing business. Max had to admit that he was a good financial planner and a terrible manager.
There is a fear behind not knowing which makes us feel vulnerable. That fear is there whether we admit to our weaknesses or not. When we are willing to be clear about both our skills and our weaknesses, ask for help then we can create success. The fear no longer controls us. When we are overly confident, in denial or only focused on our strengths then we will be frustrated, and our business suffers. It is not easy to step back and look from this perspective and yet it is essential to success. Some do this easily, for others it is a struggle.
While, in this blog, I spoke about businesses, the concepts apply to professionals, as well. Finding out what we do not know is important. Asking for help is next. Making changes is the answer to moving your business or career forward and enjoying it more.
Best wishes on your success,