PODCAST 18: The Myth Of Stuckness (or or How To Know What To Focus On In Your Business)

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Emily Carter  00:02

Hi, I'm Emily. And this is from hustle to hell. Yes. The podcast with insights and interviews about entrepreneurship, the culture of work, and how to build a business that thrives with you. You'll walk away from every episode with ways to create more ease, enjoyment, and effectiveness in your business. So you can really play by your own rules. Hello, and welcome to another episode of from hustle to hell. Yes, I'm your host, Emily Carter, of change agent studio. You know, I was talking to a friend of mine recently about feeling stuck. You know, you cannot throw a rock in the online business world without finding someone talking about stuckness and getting unstuck. I hope you can feel my air quotes. But here's the thing, you know, stuckness is real. And when you're feeling it, it's like getting an extra a bad case of the flu, all that matters is getting better. And when you're stuck, all that matters is getting unstuck. And here's the thing, most of us are capable of unsticking ourselves. In fact, in most cases, we aren't actually stuck. We've just forgotten what season we're in. So let me back up. I believe that so much of how we experience entrepreneurship, how we experience running a business has to do with the season of life we're in and the season of business that we're in. And it also has to do with what season of creativity we're in. So over the next few episodes of the podcast, I want to shine a light on one cause of stuckness being at odds with our seasons. Why does this cause stuckness? Well, one reason that stuckness shows up is because we're trying to put our attention on the wrong thing at the wrong time. So if you've ever said something like, I just wish I knew what to do next, then this might have actually been the root of the problem for you, knowing our seasons, and aligning with them, makes it harder to get stuck. So what the heck does that mean? And why does it matter? Being aware of these seasons helps us to focus on the right thing at the right time. And a small business owners we really need to be focusing on the right things at the right times, so that we can use our time well. The season we're in is really about the different demands on our attention, and how we manage that to our benefit and the benefit of our business. And PS seasons change over time, of course, right. That's why we call them seasons, they change. And the changes are marked by different kinds of situations that we're confronted with the kinds of problems that we might be solving during a particular season. So let's talk about two specific kinds of seasonality and how they impact how you operate within your business. So there is life season, and there is business season. So first up let's talk about life season. There are lots of ways to mark seasons in life. And probably the most common way to mark seasons of life is through our relationships. Single Life partnered or married life. No kids, little kids big kids empty nest caregiving for parents or, or our elders. These markers for seasons of life exist and are really accessible because they tell a story about how we spend our days and the situations we're confronting in our lives. So for example, let's think about a big kid season versus a little kids season. The situations that you're going to regularly encounter will be different because of the differences between those seasons and the responsibilities aka priorities of that season. So for example, little kid seasons have lot more diaper changing and snack making them big kid seasons. So PS, the life seasons I've listed here are not mutually exclusive. You may be experiencing multiple seasons of life at one time, you may be in a single life season and a big kid season. And like I mentioned before, relationships aren't the only way to mark seasons in your life. But I find it the simplest way to explain this lens of viewing where we are on our life path. What's important the main takeaways here are one, bringing awareness to how the seasons impact your energy and attention

Emily Carter  05:01

to your priorities, shift and change with the season of life that you're in. And because of that the challenges you face and the situation's you're confronting, will be defined by the stage of life that you're in. And third, seasons are often temporary. You've possibly heard folks refer to someone as being in the springtime of their life, which would be a season defined by new opportunities and fresh starts. And just like life, our businesses also have seasons. This is a concept that I first encountered when I was trained to give an assessment called the ATM cube, which is a personality assessment that helps organizations understand where an employee can make the best contributions throughout the growth and development of a business. And listen, when I say I'm obsessed with personality tests, I'm not joking, I really enter into administer interpret this one. And for those out there who are curious about the science behind that, I'll actually link it in the show notes. Because I know I'm not the only one who loves personality tests and assessments. So anyway, this is where I first was introduced to something called the growth curve, aka the S curve. Because of its resemblance to the letter S. The stages on the curve that most businesses will go through are on this S curve. And, and often they repeat this again and again, as they create more products or services and grow in certain ways. And so I think of this as the same way that I think of seasons of life marked by the kinds of situations that tend to come up because of being in a particular season. So the concept of growth stages actually comes from the work of Virginia Lewis and Neil Churchill in the 80s, which I'll link to in the show notes for all those super nerds out there, I know you're out there. But here's all you really need to know, the seasons are marked by the most important problems that need to be confronted and the activities that we're doing to solve them. So the first stage that the research defines is existence. And in this stage, you're concerned with getting customers and delivering the product or service you provide. The second stage is survival. You've proven that your product or service has a customer base that will pay for what you're selling. And now the key question becomes whether there's enough money being generated from this for you to stay in business. Now, I usually lump these two stages together, because the central question is really one of sustainability, can you grow the business to provide what you need and want from it, if you're in the first five years of business, it's pretty likely that this is the stage that you're in. The third stage is literally called success. So here, the decision that you're facing is whether to leverage the success and accomplishments and expand into into other areas. Or if you want to stay within the current stable profitability that you've already created, you know, providing a base for you to do a lot of other things. Now, not all businesses are going to continue on to these next two stages that I that I've identified or not I've identified research has identified. So if you see yourself as always being a solopreneur, then stages four and five may not even appeal to you. But if you do want to grow an empire, then the next two stages are definitely necessary for you. So that fourth stage is called takeoff. And in this stage, you're actually confronting how to grow rapidly and how to finance this growth. And the fifth stage is maturity. Your company has the advantage of size, financial resources, talent, that will help you in the market that you're in the niche that you're in, if you continue to innovate, and create the next big thing within your business. So this is the stage where you would likely begin a new growth, a new growth curve, you know, repeating the stage by creating something new in your business that's totally different, or maybe in a completely different area than your previous work has been. Now, the stages of business are easy to identify not because of how long a business spends in any given stage, but because of the activities that we do to meet the challenges we face at each point on that growth curve. And these season of life and seasons of business are sort of like the 1000 foot view of seasonality within your business and how you're operating within your business. So understanding the season that you're in can really help you identify and stay focused on the right thing at the right time. And give you peace of mind about how you're prioritizing what really matters to you as a business owner

Emily Carter  10:01

So taking a minute to identify what makes sense for you, considering the seasons you're in and how it impacts things like your typical work day, when it begins and ends, how it's structured, the types of situations you're confronting in your business based on the growth curve stages and seasons, your priorities in life and your business goals for the next year. And then, you know, again, take a minute to to consider how do you expect these seasons to change your business over time? And what have you been feeling guilty or frustrated or resistant to? And is that maybe related to the season that you're in? So this is just a quick episode to talk about how we can interpret the seasons of our business and the seasons of our life and how they impact our business. And in the next episode, you know, I want to talk about another way that seasons are impacting your work. So if this season of life and season of business or the 1000 foot view, what we're going to do is drill down to the ground level and talk about how seasons impact your work on the daily or inside any project that you're working on inside your business. Until then, I hope that whatever season you're in, is one where you can find ease, enjoyment, and effectiveness.

Emily Carter  11:39

Thank you so much for listening today. If you want to dive even deeper in today's episode, just go to www dot change agent dot studio slash podcast and look for this episode's show notes. Sign up for our newsletter, or hit up our Facebook group from hustle to hell yes. Where we discuss and share even more resources for building a thriving business and actually playing by your own rules.