Fear of change is an obstacle that we all face at some level. It’s easy to see why—change takes us out of our comfort zone and presents a risk for failure that we can avoid by staying the course. And for an entrepreneur who’s invested everything into their business, that possibility of failure oftentimes isn’t worth the potential gain.
The pandemic has pushed us to confront change when and where we might not have, and for many businesses, this has led to positive growth. But reactionary change is different from choosing to change. That step—making the proactive decision to shift the status quo in your business for a better future—takes more. It takes the courage to change yourself as a leader, which can be an enormous chasm to cross.
Most of us don’t want to do it.
Change is so challenging, in fact, that when faced with a life-or-death health condition, only one out of 10 people will make the shift needed to save their own lives.* In his book Change or Die, Alan Deutschman takes the example of critical heart patients in the U.S., and shows how this poor success rate appears not only among heart patients, but also within other individuals, businesses and organizations.
As EMyth’s VP of Coaching, this statistic doesn’t surprise me. I’ve coached hundreds of business owners from being Technicians in their business to thinking and acting like Entrepreneurs. The critical hurdle is changing your mindset—practicing new habits and skills so many times that it results in a new way of thinking—and then, acting.
So, as you continue to shift and reimagine what could be post-pandemic, here are three steps to help you act on your choice to change.
Engage with a method of change that you believe in
If you face a situation that a reasonable person would consider ‘hopeless,’ you need the influence of seemingly ‘unreasonable’ people … to sell you on yourself and make you believe you have the ability to change.
Alan Deutschman, Change or Die
To truly change, you need a guide who employs specific methods or strategies you believe in—someone to “relate to”, as Deutschman says. If you want to become a better athlete, you hire a sports coach; to improve your diet, you work with a dietician. And to build a better business, logic follows that you work with a mentor who will offer a new source of knowledge, help you understand how to apply it and provide accountability.
Yes, you need a structured program and model to develop your business, but the essence of a business coach’s work is to help you shift the way you see things based on a vision of what you want to create. At EMyth, this work starts by identifying your Primary Aim: What’s the reason you started your business? It speaks to who you are, what matters to you and what you care about. With that, you can reimagine your business from more of an entrepreneurial perspective and intentionally design it to serve your life. Knowing your Primary Aim and having a vision for your business becomes your north star, the reason you’re doing all this. With this future in mind, you can stay inspired through the process of working on your business while making the necessary personal changes as its leader.
Practice new skills and behaviors again and again
The new relationship helps you learn, practice, and master the new habits and skills that you’ll need. It takes a lot of repetition over time before new patterns of behavior become automatic and seem natural—until you act the new way without even thinking about it.
Alan Deutschman, Change or Die
We follow a specific learning framework at EMyth: inspiration, education, application and implementation. Change takes a sustained source of inspiration and constant training on the skills needed to achieve your vision. To develop your business takes entrepreneurial training, which requires learning, system by system, how to build a business that works—with or without you. Next, you need to take your learnings and apply them to your situation, your business, your industry. How can you take the business you have and turn it into the business you want through systemization?
Nothing changes unless you implement your plan. It’s not enough just to understand and connect your visions, and have a plan to get there—you actually have to execute it, day in and day out.
And it’s very easy not to.
Many business owners are really good at a couple of steps, like inspiration and education, and it feels gratifying to even see a better way without even taking the next steps to get there. This is where you see the divide between a business book—yes, even ours—and a business coach. While books give you essential knowledge or inspiration, they don’t help when you’re tired, overwhelmed, and trying to determine the right thing to do or the next step to take.
Shift to a new way of thinking and being
The new relationship [with your coach, mentor or group] helps you learn new ways of thinking about your situation and your life. Ultimately, you look at the world in a way that would have been so foreign to you that it wouldn’t have made any sense before you changed.
Alan Deutschman, Change or Die
The third key—what Deutschman calls “reframing”—is critical to becoming a true Entrepreneur. Shifting your perspective and recognizing there’s a better way is where this all begins. But a true reframe for a business owner requires what we call entrepreneurial thinking. It’s what happens when you recognize our core tenet that your business is a reflection of you—how you think about business is how you end up doing business—and work to change how you think by doing things differently.
Becoming a true Entrepreneur—not just a Technician in Entrepreneur’s clothing—is the natural result of this process. As you build each new process and system that your business needs to grow, you’re learning, step by step, how to do things differently. And after enough repetition, your business will change into something that meets your vision. It can change into something that serves your life in a way that you never could’ve imagined before you started on your journey.
If you feel that now is the time to find a business coach to help you, reach out to us.
*Deutschman, Alan. Change or Die: The Three Keys to Change at Work and in Life. Harper, 2008.