Plot Your Course

“Why is it so difficult?”

Does that question sound familiar? It seems to be the theme song of frustrated business owners everywhere.

Running a business is supposed to be engaging, showing growth every year, and giving you the freedom to live life on your terms. But the reality is so different. Instead of finding freedom, it feels like you’re spinning your wheels, stuck in the mud of horrible meetings and email hell. You want to stop fighting fires and prevent them from ever starting in the first place, but you don’t even know where to start. So you go back to doing what you’ve been doing: the same thing, over and over—and it doesn’t get better or easier. You want to transform the business and make it what you’ve always envisioned, but to do that, you need a path that will get rid of this frustration once and for all. You need a logical way to move forward. You need a place to start.

Transforming your business begins with finding the unique starting lines for you and your organization.

In today’s business lexicon, we put a lot of focus on the finish line. Most business concepts are designed and marketed as express lanes to the end goal. However, they make one critical error. They assume that where you start is not relevant.

In my experience, it’s only when you know your personal starting line that you can finally reach the finish line: a business where everyone is on the same page, asking great questions, confronting reality, and making the best timely decisions to gain an advantage over the competition. When that happens, the question “why is it so difficult?” stops playing in your head every day. The frustration disappears, and a feeling of satisfaction replaces it. Your business transforms from an energy drainer to an energizer. You begin to strive forward instead of in circles. Constant worry stops gnawing at you. Instead of dreading the daily grind, you go into the office every day looking forward to making your business even better. Doesn’t that sound great?

Well, I’ve got even better news: the rest of your life improves, too.

You can take a vacation with your family and actually enjoy yourself while you’re away. And when you return, you can open your email without that familiar feeling of dread, bracing yourself to deal with the fires that have raged in your absence. When people are on the same page, the fires stop, and the perpetual state of crisis in your organization vanishes. In their place, you have important answers and clear lines that align decisions and action. Your team knows how to use the right questions and answers to diagnose problems, address them, and keep moving forward. You finally have a business that works for you. And – more than that – you have the confidence to grow it.

Tom Petty wrote the great lyric “I’m taking control of my life now. Right now.” So many frustrated business owners and leaders feel like they lack control of their businesses. But when you understand business alignment, you no longer have to be one of them. You can do this. It’s not going to be easy or a straight line. But if you take the principles of business alignment and apply them, you can move toward your ultimate goal with as few detours as possible. When the obstacles inevitably appear, you’ll have the tools you need to confront reality and make course corrections. And in the end, you’ll reach your destination by the most direct possible route.

You can take control of your business and your life.

You can transform your company. Stop focusing on trying to find the finish line and working backwards because, as I’ve learned over the years, it all begins with finding the first starting line. Once you’re there, lace up your running shoes and start moving!

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