iphone listening shutterstock_519216199

Listen to Podcasts

The Road to Growing Your Business: Expect Twists and Turns [Podcast]

Episode 52: In this episode, Michael and Kathryn discuss how the road to growing a business is commonly fraught with unexpected twists and turns. Your gut reaction is probably to sweep your business struggles and insecurities under the rug- so if you need a little encouragement today and some helpful tips for the future, this podcast episode is for you!

Left turn sign in the sky

In This Episode You Will Learn:

  • Why no road worth taking is free of 'twists and turns'

  • How to develop goals and vision that have real clarity

  • Michael and Kathryn's personal experience with twisty roads while building their company

  • Thinking tools for when you get stuck

  • How good reference points, such as your community and staff, can help keep you on the right track

 

"When you are chasing a vision, the road is fraught with twists and turns- it's never a straight line, especially when it's toward something worth chasing."

– Michael Redman

 

Ready to take a listen? Like what you hear? Make sure you become a subscriber to get the latest and greatest of our podcast episodes. 

 

itunes logo New Call-to-action


 

SHARE | | |

Michael:       Hello there and welcome to HaBO Village. I'm Michael Redman.


Kathryn:
      And, I'm Kathryn Redman.


Michael:
      And, we are here to talk for a few minutes about building Passion and Provision companies. Every week we come to you with this podcast, and now it has been a lot. We enjoy the process of sharing with you business leaders, small business leaders, what are some of the things that you need to think about and encounter as you're building a company that is filled with profit and joy? We call that passion and provision.


Kathryn:
      Yes, we do.


Michael:
      Today we're going to talk about ... We're going to talk about-


Kathryn:
      Words are so hard.


Michael:
      ... Words are very hard. The reason this is hard is, it's a concept. The concept is this, when you're chasing a vision, the road is fraught with twist and turns. It's never just this really great straight line, especially towards something that's worth chasing. When it comes to something that's worth chasing, there are twists and turns. We say that, and that's a metaphor. If you've ever pursued a vision that's risky, that's going ahead of something, that's doing something different than out of the norm. It's risky at all, at some level. If nothing else, risky to your ego. You have experienced this twisty road. But, what does that really mean? For us today as we've been talking about one of the projects we're working on, and what the project is probably isn't, really isn't important right now. It's just that we are working on a project that's a big deal to us.


Kathryn:
      It's something we've been thinking about for a long time. It's, yeah, it's a big deal.


Michael:
      It requires a lot of investment, it requires time and resources on our part, it requires us [inaudible 00:01:48], allocating time and resources in the company. From staff, to actual hard cash.


Kathryn:
      Mm-hmm (affirmative).


Michael:
      The potential for us to ... I don't want to use the word fail, but to fail, is real. We're not going to hit ... There's a potential to not hit our expectations. But, here's the thing that really occurred to me, that I think is worth talking about today, and talking to leaders. When you're talking about vision, you need a clear vision to get where you are. You need a clear vision to achieve your goals. The fuzzier your vision, the harder it is to actually achieve that goal. Because, how do you know when you're really there?

                          Here's the thing. I realize that we are going in and out of clarity, Kathryn and I have been talking about. The idea that, one day it feels really clear. The next day, what felt like clear is now as Kathryn says, "A fog." How did you put it?


Kathryn:
      Yeah, well and I would argue it isn't just one day it feels clear and not foggy, and the next day it feels foggy. I would say, there are in and out of moments and meetings. I, at one moment I'm like, "Oh my gosh, I totally see how we're going to pull this off, and I totally get the steps to get there." Then, another meeting comes and something else comes up, and I am completely like, "I have no freaking idea what we're doing, how we're doing it, why we're doing it, and if anyone is ever going to care." I mean there's this back and forth battle that is just present.

                                    I think that while having a clear vision is super important, and we are always going to talk about having a clear vision. This happens even when you have a clear vision, right? I think I know what we're trying to achieve-


Michael:
      Yeah. No, that's a good point.


Kathryn:
      ... And yet, I just ... There's just this sense of, whether you're struggling with your own adequacy to achieve it, or whether you're struggling with the steps to get there. Whatever it is, there are moments and days of absolute clarity, and then moments and days where you are completely befuddled. What Michael said in response to me was, "Yeah, the road to anything you want to do that's worth doing. That road is fraught with danger, and it's fraught with all-"


Michael:
      Well, here's what was so ... It wasn't a metaphor in our conversation earlier. It wasn't, "It's fraught with danger." It wasn't, "It was fraught with twist and turns." It was, "You go in and out of clarity, and that's natural." You go from, "I have a clear perspective of what I'm supposed to do. I have my arms wrapped around it, I feel like it's all good." Then the next moment it's like nailing Jell-O to the wall, everything goes everywhere, and you can't a grab a hold of it, it's not contained, and you're like, "Uh."


Kathryn:
      ... That's especially true if you're doing something where you're creating ... I don't know how to say it. But, when it's not a project you can stay focused on all the time. You have to come in and out of it.


Michael:
      Yeah.


Kathryn:
      Just regrouping. And trying to become like, "Okay, what was this about? How do we ..." I mean, we struggle with that sometimes just moving among clients, right? Where you're like, "Okay, what was it this client needed? How do I refocus my attention there?"


Michael:
      You have to refocus.


Kathryn:
      Yeah.


Michael:
      But, this is different than refocusing. This is, for us, I mean there is some of that involved with trying to balance everything else you're doing in your company, everything else you're doing in your life, and pursuing a goal, and going in and out of meetings. But, this to me, is that extra level of I could be ... This is such a big deal, and there's so much work going on, and we're pursuing this great thing that we dreamed about. And, that we said, "Yes, let's go and do." Or, literally we've been talking about this for eight years.


Kathryn:
      Mm-hmm (affirmative).


Michael:
      There have been numerous reasons why we haven't been working towards this project. Then, from there we were going, "Okay, when's the right time? When's the right time? Is the economy right?" We went through the great recession, that kind of through a loop in several things. "Do we have enough cash, do we have enough time? Do we-"


Kathryn:
      "Do we have the right people in place?"


Michael:
      ... Yeah, the right time.


Kathryn:
      Are we the right people?


Michael:
      Right.


Kathryn:
      It happens, it does.


Michael:
      We went through all of that, and then finally we started getting all of those, realizing we were getting closer and closer. Then the last couple of pieces started clicking in, and then all we had to do was pick a date, and go. Picking that date and moving forward was the last linchpin that, everything was a little intimidating till then. But, when we did that, all of a sudden the pressure kicked in, and we were sitting here talking. Kathryn was saying, "We have to remember that we wouldn't be getting all this done if we hadn't put that deadline on us."


Kathryn:
      Right. My thing was, I have got to stop freaking out about the deadline, and embrace the fact that the deadline is causing forward momentum, despite my discomfort, and despite the fact that there sometimes feels like a lack of clarity, or an abject terror, that it won't work and it won't matter, and all this work will be for nothing.


Michael:
      Yeah, yeah. What occurs to me at this point in our life, at this point in our business, and the fact that we do business consulting now, and work for folks, and help them with bringing clarity. But, we don't have that outside coach at the moment, that is directly working with us like we do with our clients. But, this is ... Having a clear vision is how you make sure that when you hit these places of clarity, it doesn't wreck you.


Kathryn:
      These places of fuzziness.


Michael:
      I mean, fuzziness.


Kathryn:
      Yes.


Michael:
      It doesn't wreck you, and you need that clarity. We have a goal, we know what we want, we know what we're about, we're doing. That vision of where we are, and when we get there, we will know did we succeed or not.


Kathryn:
      Right.


Michael:
      That's significant. But, that doesn't stop. This is what I think was the aha moment for me. That doesn't stop having those moments, where you're going, "I don't have a clue."


Kathryn:
      Mm-hmm (affirmative).


Michael:
      "When, I did yesterday. Or, I did this morning and all of a sudden, what is going on?" You try not to tell anybody because you're leading people, and you don't want to sit in a meeting and going, "I now don't have a firm grasp on where we're going," and everybody's like-


Kathryn:
      "And, I'm supposed to be telling you."


Michael:
      ... Everybody's like, "Uh, we're following you. Tell us what we're-"


Kathryn:
      "Just tell us what we're supposed to do."


Michael:
      ... "Tell us where we're supposed to go."


Kathryn:
      "Give us a task."


Michael:
      Yeah. I mean, "Tell us what hill we're supposed to take, we'll take it."


Kathryn:
      Yeah.


Michael:
      You're supposed to take a hill?


Kathryn:
      Well, it's a hill.


Michael:
      Well, it's a hill.


Kathryn:
      What land are we in?


Michael:
      For you leaders out there, small business leaders, any kind of leaders. If you've taken a risk or anything else, is this resonating with you? Do you get this? Are you running right now, or sitting in your car, or wherever you're listening, and are you nodding? Is this resonating with you? 'Cause I think, I can imagine that some of you that I know personally, it is. This is common amongst all of us. But-


Kathryn:
      We don't often talk about it, right?


Michael:
      ... We don't. We don't talk about this here.


Kathryn:
      We definitely don't have that conversation when we're teaching people stuff. We tend to talk about the things that are going really well, and this is how you get there, and this is how you ... But, sometimes you just have to stop and own that, "Oh my gosh, it is just ... There are just hard times, and hard moments," and meetings that you thought were going to move things forward that feels like all it did was create questions you couldn't answer.


Michael:
      When you're trying to achieve a goal, and you're trying to work through this. Either you have done this, or everything's good right now, or you're trying to right now, or another time is coming, and you're going to go through another goal, and you're going to hit these moments where you're like, "I've done this before. I got this, I know what you're talking about. I know how to work through it."

                          I guarantee you, if you're picking challenging goals, you're going to his this moment again. You can't not hit it, especially if the goals challenging enough to you. If it's not challenging enough to you, and if you're not getting a little nervous, and if you're not having trouble figuring out how to pull it all together. I'm not suggesting you be erratic, and I'm not suggesting you be irresponsible. But, if you're not pushing your goal enough, you might not be challenging yourself, and living up to your potential enough. That's-


Kathryn:
      Well, yeah.


Michael:
      ... I mean, so you need to do that. But, if you're going to ... Well, what were you going to say?


Kathryn:
      Well, I was just thinking about an area where I do understand the cycle. Public speaking, right? One of our employees just had her opportunity, her very first opportunity-


Michael:
      Our office manager, [crosstalk 00:10:47].


Kathryn:
      ... To preach actually, in church, in front of like 600 people. That's a little intimidating, it's something. But, it's something that I've done a lot of, Michael's done a lot of. And so, I remember just the week before, just speaking to her and sharing there's a cycle that you go through. Inevitably, part of that cycle is that you think you have it all, it's all figured out, you're super excited, you just think this is going to change the world.


Michael:
      Mm-hmm (affirmative).


Kathryn:
      Then you hit this place, and it's happened almost every single time that I've taught anything of substance. Where, it suddenly feels like none of it matters. It's super obvious, everybody knows this, you're not giving them anything that they don't already have, or have already accessed from five other sources. It's a complete waste of time, and you're suddenly thinking, "I am going to embarrass myself because this is going to be a complete waste of time."


Michael:
      Yeah.


Kathryn:
      Very normal cycle when you're preparing for a large public speaking event. That's a cycle I understand fairly well, and I've learned over the course of time, to just recognize it. When I hit that time where I'm like, "This feels irrelevant," I know what to do in that situation, which is just press through. 'Cause invariably, it is irrelevant.


Michael:
      Well, and I think what we need to talk about right now is the idea that what do you do in that situation? How does that look? How does that work? What are the things you do? 'Cause you just said, "I know what to do, I just push through."


Kathryn:
      Mm-hmm (affirmative).


Michael:
      I actually think that there's a few techniques and things that are really important, that are more than just perseverance.


Kathryn:
      Okay.


Michael:
      I think you do them, and I think I do them.


Kathryn:
      Mm-hmm (affirmative).


Michael:
      I think it's, and it's more instructive to go, "Okay, what are those things?" 'Cause, just gritting it out, and going forward, really is not the full answer I don't think. 'Cause I think you can tell lots of people, "You just got to suck it up and go through." I don't think that's instructive, and I think you've learned to do more than that. For instance, how do you continue to keep yourself focused in that situation? When everything's going out, what does just sticking it out mean?


Kathryn:
      Well, one thing for me is that typically I need to take whatever's happening in my head outside of my head. I'll go to somebody else and be like, "Okay, this is what I'm thinking. Is this as irrelevant as it's sounding to me?" Then I get the feedback. "Okay, all right, I'm just going to keep pressing forward then."


Michael:
      All right, so part of what you're doing is when you start to feel lost, you've got to have a reference point to check. You might have a couple of different reference points. I'm going to suggest in a business when you're moving forward, one of the things you want is, you've already collected, and let's just say you have to have a clear goal of what you're doing. With a sermon and a business endeavor, can you articulate that clearly, and does it make sense? What's the bottom line? Our friend taught us lately, BLUF. Bottom Line Up Front.


Kathryn:
      Mm-hmm (affirmative).


Michael:
      If you can bottom line it up front, this is what it's going to be, then ... It's sharp, and it's clear to somebody. Then, at least the point that you're trying to make, or the objective of the business is going to work. From there, then as you're moving forward and you have that clear vision, and you can bottom line it, and articulate it quickly. Then, double checking with somebody else, having a team around you, is it relevant?


Kathryn:
      Mm-hmm (affirmative).


Michael:
      You start to get nervous, and things get fuzzy because you start to believe, "Is anybody going to care?" When you're public speaking, "Is anybody going to care?" Right?


Kathryn:
      Yeah, when you're creating a new product, or having a new idea. "Does anybody really need this? Does this really even matter?"


Michael:
      "Will anybody buy it? Does anybody want it?"


Kathryn:
      Mm-hmm (affirmative).


Michael:
      Or, "Does anybody want it from me?" Okay? These are all risky things. I had lunch recently with a friend. He's a fairly new friend, and I'm talking to him about different things. He was telling me that probably 18 months ago when he and I had talked last, really about some in depth things, maybe a year ago. That, he was telling me and himself he had everything under control. He said, "If I didn't tell myself that, i didn't feel like I was going to survive." He's an entrepreneur, he's a leader. It's like, "I feel enough out of control that I have just, I don't have a good solution, so my solution is, I've just got to muster it up so I can tough it through." You've got to tell yourself what you've got to tell yourself.

                          What you don't want to do, is you don't want to lie to yourself. Because, you could create a sense of, "This is going to work," to push yourself through. And, it's a bad idea, and you didn't reference it, you didn't check it with that outside world. Like you and your sermon, and a business idea. You have a clear vision, you can bottom line it, and you're making sure you're having touch points. "Am I crazy, are we still on path, have I gotten off track?" Your team actually may be part of that. Your team and your company, your other business leaders, and even mentors that you have. Advisory boards, those are super important.

                          We have that vision, we have that clarity, we have that testing. Then in the midst of the confusion when you go into confusion, I think actually believing that this is part of the process.


Kathryn:
      Mm-hmm (affirmative).


Michael:
      When you and I preach, we were talking about this recently, as I just preached a recent Sunday. You get into this place where somebody goes, "How you doing?" My answer is, "I am appropriately nervous." Or, "How's the studying going?" "I am appropriately clueless." Because, you're in one of those moments where I think it's going great, it's going right. But, I'm in one of those moments where everything is just like, I've got all this data, and now I'm like, "What do I do with it?" I've got all this stuff going on. How does it come together, what's the linchpin to hold this? Especially when you're releasing a new product or something. You've got everything from the manufacturing, or creation of the product. To, the marketing pieces, and all those assets, and how do you make sure you prep the market for it? Do you have enough, and are you going to be able to fulfill it on the backend? So on and so forth. There's a lot of details.

                          For that said, I think as you guys are walking through, I want to just encourage you. Remember that pursuing great things, and those vision that entrepreneurs and leaders do, those new initiatives in your company. When they're big, there is going to be seasons where it goes in and out of clarity. There are things you can do to make sure that you're properly addressing that question, "Is this going to fail? Am I going to die? Am I going to get fired? Or, are we going to lose the company?" Or, any of those other haunting voices that show up, and those are important.

                          It just seemed really important today for us to think about that, and talk about that, because that's just really real in our life right now.


Kathryn:
      It's just a real part of leading a company.


Michael:
      Yeah. If you're-


Kathryn:
      There's a reason our friend says, "You don't get to clarity alone." Right?


Michael:
      ... Yeah, yep.


Kathryn:
      There's a, having community around you, and having somebody who other people who can feedback with you and say, "Well, remember when you said this when you did have a moment of clarity? That actually mattered."


Michael:
      Yeah, yeah.


Kathryn:
      They can remind you of it, so that, that clarity is sometimes held by your community. Even when you can't quite see it, and that's extraordinarily helpful.


Michael:
      Yeah, completely, completely. You know what? One of the reasons here at Half A Bubble Out, and HaBO Village that we do this podcast, is we love to work with small business leaders, especially owner run companies who, the main leader is really got a lot invested, and their visions and hopes are invested. But, there is an ability to have influence over the company. We love to work with those leaders, because we want to make sure that we can bring everything we have to the table to be that extra outside voice, to give expertise in areas that maybe the leaders don't have, and to actually be able to be an outside voice that's a little more remote, and not as entangled in all of those emotions. To be a touch point.


Kathryn:
      A thinking partner.


Michael:
      To be a key thinking partner. If you at any point are looking for that type of partner or anything like that, and you think that what Kathryn and I talk about is valuable, and might be helpful for you and your initiatives, or anything else. Please, go to HalfABubbleOut.com, check us out, look at it. Give us a call, and see if we're a good fit. Because, we have expertise in business development, and marketing, and leadership development. We bring those together in a wholistic way, to really help leaders be successful. Because, we want your company to be full of passion and provision, and that is marked by having more joy, and more profit, and being more successful. I guess that's it today for clarity, and fuzziness, and going after goals, and how scary it can be sometimes. Thank you very much for joining us today. I'm Michael Redman.


Kathryn:
      I'm Kathryn Redman.


Michael:
      Have a good day.