Training (physical) and Business often draw parallels for me and a recent experience with my trainer uncovered another I felt was worth sharing.
This lesson begins with the requisite breakdown before the breakthrough, an experience common in both training and in business (hell, and in life!).
I was halfway through a month long Muay Thai training holiday in Thailand and it dawned on me mid training session that I had, in that moment, achieved my latest training goal; to recover post hip surgery and arrive in Thailand with a body I could rely on to withstand the rigors of training.
Typically instead of patting myself on the back for a job well done all I could think of was "what next?".
Long story short over the following week I managed to turn this into a major crisis.
Without a goal I now felt as though I was "exercising" rather than "training" and for any former athlete that's not a good place to be.
After a few false starts at setting a new goal my trainer and I decided that we'd create some KPI's to work towards with a view to a bigger goal I'm not yet ready to share
He set out a bunch of testing protocols, ran me through them, recorded my results and then punched them into the system to hold them up against professional athletes results.
Two really cool things happened in that session.
1: I was anxious before the speed tests, 100 times more anxious than I would be if I were to stand up and speak in front of 500 people! The anxiety was related to performance, I wanted to SMASH IT, I was anxious I wouldn't be fast. This was FANTASTIC because it meant I cared and was fired up. I had my goal.
2: In every single one of the tests I rated AVERAGE; my reaction was immediate and physical...average??? really??? I have never been average at anything in my life! Average is unacceptable to me.
It was like a knife to the heart; in fact this was the response I mimicked to my coach, complete with sound effects.
The fact I had not long had surgery and this was hindering my explosiveness had zero impact on how I felt about my results.
BUT the crappy results fired me up, all I've been able to think about ever since is "I'm going to smash that test next month".
I was back in business and once again in TRAINING.
For 2 weeks now I've been playing this experience over in my mind and constantly drawing parallels between this and my journey as an entrepreneur and pondering how to share these with you in a powerful way, in a way that inspires you to take a look at this in your own life and business and make the necessary changes.
I hope I've done it justice.
SOMETIMES YOU DON'T EVEN KNOW YOU'RE AVERAGE
No entrepreneur would ever like to consider themselves "average" I know I don't see myself as "average" (never have) and didn't know I was average until it was tested and compared TO PEOPLE BETTER THAN ME.
You see in my day to day training, at my local gym, I'm considered above average; I mean how many women head overseas on their own for a month to train with Muay Thai fighters at 46 years of age?
But once I knew I was average in some areas that were important to me, I knew there was work to be done and there was no denying it.
It was game on.
Early on in my entrepreneurial endeavours I was average and my business was average, but I didn't know it, and it held me back.
It was only when I started to measure myself against the big winners in my industry did I see I needed to lift my game.
For years I was the proverbial big fish in a small pond.
I was hanging around with business people who were either on par or one rung below me so of course everything I did looked good!
I had no idea I needed to elevate myself because I was sitting at the top.
The moment I looked outside my safe little world and saw what it really took to be successful on a major scale I made the decision that average was no longer acceptable.
It's tough to take a huge step backwards in order to play a bigger game but if you truly want to be the best you need to measure yourself against the best.
It takes guts to compare yourself to the people killing it in your industry and feel like a second class citizen
But it's necessary because if you don't, you'll remain average and you'll remain small.'
How do you hold up against the big players in your industry?
What are they doing well that you're not?
What steps can you take to move from average to elite?
Map out your plan, do what it takes and the rewards will be worth the effort.
WE ALL HAVE AREAS OF AVERAGE WE CAN IMPROVE ON
When I saw my testing results it forced me to get honest with myself.
I had considered myself an above average (hell, even elite) athlete but when I really looked at it the work I was doing was only ever going to yield me average results.
I'd skipped the rehab exercises that hurt.
I'd skipped the rehab exercises that bored me.
I'd skipped the rehab exercise that I felt weak in.
These were all of the rehab exercises that would have made me faster.
So while I was walking around thinking of myself as "elite" I was working like an amateur and my results reflected that.
Holding yourself to a standard of excellence is challenging, not in the beginning because anyone can set out all guns blazing.
But it takes discipline and hyper vigilence to remain plugged in to the pursuit of excellence over average for the long haul.
It is a very rare individual who can maintain this focus year in year out without dropping the ball.
So go easy on yourself for not striving for excellence every second of every day, this is called being human!
BUT we need a safety net to ensure we don't slide into the horror story that is "average".
In my training this has become the testing my trainer runs me through, once upon a time it was wining gold medals.
In my business its a review I conduct every month.
Were there more hits to my website this month?
Is my social media engagement up?
More income generated?
How many interviews did I secure?
Guest blog posts?
Networking events attended?
The numbers don't lie.
If these aren't improving it's an indicator I'm sliding into average.
By keeping my eye on this on a short leash I can catch the slide and fire myself up early.
Everybody slides, the key is to have systems in place to catch it when you do.
What systems can you implement in your own business to catch the slide?
WHEN will you implement them?
The most reliable way to fight average is to have a stretch goal.
I'm living a vey comfortable life these days, I don't have to work too hard, I'm earning more money than I've ever earned in my life and I can easily buy stuff now that were once on my vision boards for year after year.
This is a risky time because when you exceed your own expectations it can take a while for everything else to catch up, you can find yourself resting very comfortably on your laurels and before you know it your smack bang in the middle of average once again.
At the end of my 12 month mastermind program my participants and I head to Paris to celebrate for a week.
This is my new normal, it is predictable and it's happening without stretch.
I recently priced flying to Paris first class and staying at The Four Seasons for the entire week and it took my breath away, it made me anxious, (much like before I did my speed testing) and so I knew this was the stretch goal because to justify (to myself) that spend would mean I'd have to earn double what I intended over the next 6 months.
The flow on effect was immediate action around releasing some offerings I'd been sitting on, bringing forward my online program launch and investing $10,000 in a photo and video shoot (hiring of a luxury suite, clothes, photographer, make-up, hair).
My brand (and I) up-levelled in a major way and the impact was immediate.
I was suddenly playing a much bigger game than I was before because it was required of me.
Your goals MUST pull you forward and to do this they must be big. Big enough to scare the crap out of you and cause you to take massive (strategic) action.
Set the goal and the way will unfold.
Dream big and chase the hell out of it, pursue it to the very end and avoid average at all costs.
You've got this!