Grow or Die?
One of the oldest sayings that I often hear in the business world, as well as in personal growth/psychology/spiritual domains is the adage: “Grow or die.” I always took this as a personal challenge and wore it on my sleeve: I choose growth 10 out of 10 times. And that death better keep its boney hands away from me.
It’s true that all life systems grow and contract. Ebb and flow. And that if you are not in a growth cycle, then you are stagnant or dying. And yet for me, one of my biggest revelations occurred when I realized that I’ve had this old view of growth that actually isn’t in alignment with what is best for me.
In fact, Patrick Lencioni’s article in Inc. came across my lap while this very question around growth burned inside of me, while recently on a flight to work with some of my clients onsite. It goes on to discuss scaling at the right pace and was yet another reminder to slow down and take my time.
Since launching my coaching business 1.5 years ago, I’ve been in this incessant growth phase of taking on a lot of opportunities, often saying Yes before really feeling into what’s best for me, and enthusiastically and carelessly not tracking how I use my time and energy. I’ve traveled more in the past 6 months than the last 6 years, leading workshops, conducting coaching calls, growing my own business and all that this entails, while trying to maintain a personal life on top of all of that.
Slow is the new Grow
Something finally hit me after coming back from England in June and realizing that there is a more sustainable, enjoyable way for me to grow. While I enjoy the challenge of new opportunities, I am learning there’s a pace inside of me that’s slower, more reflective, and not about some outside image or metric of growth or success. Instead of this incessant, never-ending finish line of ‘growth,’ that I and so many of my clients can get caught up in, I’ve realized there are other metrics that are far more valuable than simply more sales, more revenues, higher net profit, more exposure, and larger company size and locations.
I’m redefining what growth looks like for me. Growth is not about pushing or forcing opportunities such as speaking engagements, workshops, blog articles that I’m not naturally inspired to write, or trying to motivate prospects to care enough about their own leadership development and business growth, to become clients. Growth is not trying to get more ‘likes,’ ‘people in my network,’ or whatever the heck Google Plus calls it. BTW - what the heck is Google Plus, really?
Growth is about listening to what opportunities I draw to myself. Which colleagues I want to collaborate with? What clients I’m drawn to work with? What articles bubble up inside me first? (Instead of - 'oh - it’s been a month since I last wrote one').
So what’s your version of this? Do you take on that customer that you know is going to be a pain-in-the-ass, but justify that it’s a lucrative project? Do you open that next location simply because you’ve already achieved your previous goals? Do you spend time growing your business but have lost touch with how and why you want to do this?