leadership incorporated blog

November 8, 2010

7 Questions That Accelerate Business and Career Growth

Meet Jennifer,* leader of a small and rapidly growing business. Her current team does excellent work, provides great customer service and through some smart marketing they have more than tripled her business in the last 6 months. Now, she is seeing the limits of her business approaching fast. She is maxed out. To get bigger, in her mind, means a move, a much scarier commitment to more expensive space, finding people she doesn’t know exist, building a bigger operation than she feels ready to take on. And pursuing all this, in her mind, would make it impossible to deliver on the work she is currently doing.

So, although Jennifer would like to grow more, she is putting on the brakes — or has certainly taken her foot off the accelerator. She is bumping up against her infrastructure. But more than that, she is bumping up against her limiting thoughts about her business and what it can and can’t handle.

This concept also applies to personal career growth. I’ve talked to at least 3 profoundly talented and experienced people this week who are looking for work, but whose vision for themselves is limited by their perceived value of their resumes. Their capabilities go far beyond what’s on the page, but their search is being driven by their negative perception. And this limiting vision is causing them to look for work that is significantly below what they are capable of.

How about you? Where are your beliefs about what you or your business can’t do getting in the way of your potential growth?

Jennifer (and the job seekers I mentioned) are all in the wrong conversation with themselves. By focusing on what is not possible, they become the main thing limiting their own growth.

Let me say that again, the thing limiting your growth is not the economy, not your clients financial situations, not the job market. Not the cost of real estate. Not your resume. Not the increased responsibility.

It’s almost always your own thinking that limits your growth.

There are no rules or limits. Except in your own mind. (Of course, there are laws — so please don’t violate any of those! 😉 If you can create the vision, it is not against the rules to leverage absolutely anything to make it happen.

When I asked Jennifer the following 7 questions, she expanded her story of what was possible for her business and a whole new vision was born. Suddenly she can imagine how she can go beyond her limiting visions and restructure her business quickly so it can continue to grow without overwhelming her.

If you’ve been thinking growth isn’t possible, brainstorm as many answers as possible to these 7 questions, in writing. No limiting beliefs allowed. Just for the purposes of this exercise, expect that all things are possible:

1. How would I choose to grow over the next 6 months to 2 years if nothing could get in my way?

2. What would I need to make this possible?

3. What would I need to make that possible?

4. How could I grow in spite of any limitations I see?

5. How would I need to see myself and/or my business differently?

6. What would I need to become my biggest vision — without depleting myself or my resources?

7. Who or what could accelerate or ease this process for me?

I urge you to expand your story. Be creative. Instead of focusing on what you can’t do, focus on what could become possible.

Get growing.

*not her real name

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