One of the sayings my clients hear from me often is this: “Your business is the best crucible for your personal growth. Whatever you struggle with in your personal life is likely to be the same thing you struggle with in your business.”
As a psychologist, I’m completely convinced of the inextricable link between who we are as people, and how we show up in business. Have trouble asking for what you want in your relationships? You’ll probably have the same trouble asking for what you want in your business relationships. Have trouble feeling confident in your business? There are probably important areas of your personal life where more confidence would help you too.
I know this in two ways- firsthand (because your own life is often your best teacher, right?) and also through the work I’ve done with more than 1,000 clients in my career. Business is personal and personal is business- we can’t leave who we are when we’re developing a company based on our talents.
Yet, at the same time, I know that many of us experience some dissonance (or guilt) when we take time away from the daily routine of our businesses to invest in our own personal growth. For any of you who have ever felt guilty about this, I wanted to write this article on how your personal growth grows your business.
Here are five ways- I’ve used these with success, as have my clients.
Your personal growth improves your discipline and the way you show up in the world. If you decide, for instance, that you’re going to meditate each day for 15 minutes, and you do, you’ve demonstrated dedication and discipline to your goal. This, over time, will have notable impact on how you show up in the world. The more “on point” you are with achieving the goals in your own life, the better example and leader and role model you will be for your clients to achieve their most desired goals in their own lives. Especially for those of us who offer coaching and consulting services, the way we show up in the world has direct impact on whether clients want to work with us. Who wants to work with a stressed out, unhappy, bored (or boring!) business mentor?
Your personal goal achievements make you a better service provider. If you work in any kind of helping or service role, your personal goal achievements give you more real- life experience to draw from and coach from and consult from. You know, first-hand, what it’s like to feel fear- what it’s like to want to give up- what it’s like to overcome yourself and keep going. These are powerful insights that you can draw from to inspire,motivate, educate, and support your clients. Many times, clients work with us because they want what we have- and so the more you “have” – the more you have to share.
Your personal goal achievements create new relationships and connections. Although there is so much written about online business and social connectedness, my experience is that I can generate new clients and new opportunities much more quickly in person than on the internet. I’ve taken numerous arts classes, including painting, drawing, glass fusing, pottery, glassblowing, wire jewelry making, silversmithing, mosaics- and so on- and in every class, without fail, I’ve either gained a new client, or met someone who could refer me clients. I don’t take part in these activities for that purpose, but each of my artistic investments has also grown my business. (Besides being really fun, too!)
The time you spend reading or learning magnifies results for your clients too. All of the most successful consultants I know act as filters for their own clients. They read and study and learn, and then distill their learning for their clients- saving their clients time in adopting new strategies and technologies. The time you spend improving your critical thinking, gaining more knowledge about trends and their impact- all of this can help you bring more value to your clients; resulting in greater client satisfaction and longer client retention.
Your personal goal achievements can open up new business avenues. A simple way to explain this would be to say that the more you achieve in your own life, the more areas you can credibly offer services. A simple example would be that if you recently lost 50lbs., you might add an offering to your business that focuses on helping others lose weight too. Or, if you offer B2B services, as I do, you might find that something you achieved can open up a new line of business. If you’ve been following me online for any length of time, you know that I’ve been investing a lot of time in growing my skills in making jewelry. Let’s say that, at some point, I’ve successfully grown my jewelry business to a sizable level- maybe I’d offer a special coaching program or learning opportunity for others who want to grow their handmade businesses too. Not every goal you achieve will lend itself to a new business offering, but some might. Those that do can help grow your business.
If you’ve ever felt guilty about taking time away from your business to invest in your own self growth or self development, I hope you’ll read this article twice, and maybe even print it out and save it. You can only help another person to the level of achievement you, yourself, have attained.
If you want to be a world-class coach or consultant, start by living a world-class life. That will become the best example you can have of what your investment of time and energy can do for another person.