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Get Real to Get Ahead

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“Ditch the ego.We’ve all heard it before—and for good reason. Our pride can often become our biggest barrier.

It’s not exactly a new or revolutionary concept, but how many of us actually grasp that idea in the thick of our day to day lives? Of course, we all find ourselves in situations where we come to realize we’ve been standing in our own way, but as a business coach I’m often reminded how much we limit our potential when we fail to set our egos aside. 

Trust me, I’m not perfect and I’ve learned a lot through the years on what it looks like to ditch my own ego in order to be the best coach I can be. I want to see each of my clients reach that breakthrough moment, and years back, in the times I wasn’t seeing a shop progress like I’d expected, I’d get frustrated and impatient. I’d start to wonder if they were really listening or actually serious about turning things around, and if it might ultimately be time to part ways. All of a sudden, a few months later their breakthrough would come. I had to realize everyone learns at their own pace and there’s no need to sever ties just because that progress didn’t happen on my timeline. I had to get out of my own way to find what’s going to work best for them.

I struggled with patience, but for a lot of shop owners I find the barrier they’ve set for themselves is transparency. They can’t bring themselves to be open and honest about how they and their business are really doing and the challenges they’re actually facing. 

You’d be shocked at how many clients will try to hide game-changing business issues and major life events throughout our one-on-one work—we’re talking everything from a bitter divorce they’re working through to a whole new location they’ve recently closed on (against a coach’s advice). We always find out eventually—a few months down the line there’s usually a light bulb moment where we’ve discovered the key missing piece and we can finally make sense of what’s really impacting the business. But these are people that have paid me and my team to help them turn things around and they’re still holding back. 

And it’s not just clients. I see and hear about this from shop owners across the industry. Plenty of operators will shell out hard-earned money to attend training, or work with industry consultants, or make time to join a peer or 20 Group looking for answers and support, only to avoid mentioning or addressing the real reasons they’re there with those who could possibly help. 

Why? Embarrassment, fear of disappointment or judgement—and ultimately pride—are all taking a front row seat. To tackle the issues you’re having with your business, you’ve got to confront the full picture, and a lot of shop owners don’t realize just how much they’ll need to open up in order to move forward and find the solutions they’re looking for.  

At the end of the day they’re more focused on how they and their business will be perceived, than reaching their shop’s full potential. They don’t realize just how much they’re holding themselves back and slowing their operations down in the process. We regularly work with shop owners who come to us in a serious hole, facing a full-on crisis and the more they tell us up front, the more open and honest they are about everything they’re facing, the shorter the learning curve and the faster they’re able to dig themselves out to start bringing in profit, but that’s an element that’s entirely in their hands. As a coach I can lead them to water, but I can’t make them drink.

At some point, as business owners especially, we all face moments where we need to set our expectations aside to focus on what’s best for our team and operations as a whole. Successful owners don’t encounter these challenges less, but they have learned how to confront the big picture, recognize the part they play, and what it will take to step out of their own way. It’s a skill worth mastering. Who knows what you could be leaving on the table until you do.

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