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Seven Keys to Go the Distance — To Go Beyond
November 11, 2019 | By Neil Ducoff | 1 Comment
In just over two months, I’m going to turn 70 years old. And guess what? I still have goals for what I want to accomplish in my business and personal life.
My company, Strategies, is a young 26-year old. And guess what? It has goals for what it wants to accomplish.
The difference between me and my company is pretty basic. You see, achieving my personal goals is up to me and me alone. For Strategies to achieve its goals, it’s my team’s responsibility.
I’ve learned a lot of lessons over my almost 70 years. The most important lesson is that the responsibility to achieve what I want in life rests squarely on my shoulders.
To achieve it, you must earn it. To earn it, you must be committed to go the distance.
But what exactly does going the distance mean? To me, going the distance means seeing a project, goal or vision through to completion.
It also means dealing with the setbacks, roadblocks, wrong turns, bad decisions, indecision and other stuff that gets in the way.
The truth about going the distance is that there is no finish line to cross. Going the distance simply means that a segment of your journey is complete, and if you choose, another one is about to begin.
For a salon/spa, going the distance means that your business has achieved a level of success that is merely a stepping stone to something greater. If the business doesn’t reach for that next level stepping stone, it will succumb to complacency and backslide into the “has been” abyss. In business, it’s evolve or die.
Here are my No-Compromise Leadership insights to not only go the distance, but go beyond to achieve your loftiest goals:
- Going the distance and the passion to achieve it: I know myself. If it doesn’t feed my passion, I can’t get excited or motivated to do it. I love fighting for a cause. I love to teach and coach others to win, because in the process, I win. I love understanding the inner workings of leadership and business. In so many ways, Strategies is a direct reflection of my passion for business. KEY: If the idea, goal or journey doesn’t feed that fire in your gut and that vision in your mind, why do it? Life is short. Do what you love. Chase what you’re passionate about. That’s how you go the distance, and beyond.
- Every steppingstone leads to another: Think of going the distance as a string of steppingstones. You have to go the distance of each steppingstone to get to the next. Each steppingstone has its unique challenges that will test you. Some steppingstones will be easier and take longer than others. KEY: Success doesn’t come overnight. It is incrementally earned. Each steppingstone prepares you for the next. Hitting that first $1 million in revenue is one example of going the distance and completing one steppingstone. That achievement motivates you to see the possibilities that await on the next steppingstone. Take that next step. It’s what we do as leaders and entrepreneurs.
- Some steppingstones are dead ends: Absolutely! I definitely stepped on a few dead ends along the way and paid the price. Frustration, fear, lost money and self-doubt are all part of stepping on the wrong steppingstone. KEY: You go the distance on dead ends too. The dark days will fade away. Hopefully, you learned your lessons. They stay with you to make better decisions moving forward. The key is getting back up and moving forward again.
- What got you here won’t get you there: I started Strategies in 1993. There was no internet. There were no computers in your pockets or smart watches on your wrists. Marketing was about print and direct mail. Social media was an unknown. In what seems like a nanosecond, business began to move at light speed. The only thing that remained constant at Strategies was our commitment and passion to teach and coach cutting-edge best business practices. Everything else changed. KEY: Success is about acquiring new knowledge and skills to keep you in sync with advanced business approaches and ahead of the competition. Going the distance means working hard at getting smarter and savvier at an ever-increasing pace.
- Going the distance and GPS: If you don’t have a roadmap to chart where you’re going, how will you know you’ve arrived? My big personal passion is cycling (the pedal kind). Even at my age, I want to get stronger and faster. To do that, I rely on training programs and workouts. Not sure I’m getting faster, but I can ride 75 miles in a day. Can you? We do the same at Strategies as to what we coach and teach. We do cash-flow plans. We set goals. We develop our skills. We take on a few major challenges each year, like producing our Team-Based Pay Conference. KEY: Did you have and work your plan this year? Did you achieve all your goals? If not, why not? What’s your plan for 2020? What do you need and want to achieve? Build your plan and work your plan. No compromise.
- When going the distance becomes more than you: Too many salon/spa owners forget that their companies can and should be capable of outliving them. The inherent danger of holding onto so much control is that your company will age with you. KEY: Entrepreneurs build value into their companies. They develop leadership teams and distribute responsibilities. They shift their roles from controlling to overseeing, empowering and coaching. It’s the process of allowing those that share and love the vision and company you created to have opportunities to grow. In an employee-based business, you can’t go the distance yourself.
- Goals mature with age: I love seeing my team’s passion for growing Strategies. Likewise, I spent 35 years on the road doing business seminars and coaching. I know my way around too many airports like I know my local roads. By choice, I don’t travel much anymore, but over the years, I created a wealth of content that it serves as a foundation for my team to build on. So much so, they now build content that goes further and deeper than I could on my own. One of the rewards of going the distance and building a company is doing the work I choose to do. Work that still feeds my passion while supporting, adding value and inspiring my team. My pet project is working with our programmer, Bill, to continually add features and capabilities to our Command Center. (The Command Center is our proprietary cloud-based coaching portal.) KEY: Going the distance gives you more options and opportunities to do the work you want to do. More importantly, going the distance earns you time to enjoy what your hard work created.
Here’s my challenge to you: I share my own story in hopes that it can help you write a better story and create a better life for yourself, your employees and your company.
If you’re stuck, frustrated and wondering what your next step should be, you’re wasting time and missing opportunities. You’re marking time rather than going the distance.
You need a kick in the butt and a plan. The easiest next step is to schedule a free coaching call with Strategies.
If you’re on a roll and growing your company, congratulations. Just remember, there’s always more to learn. There’s always a better way to do business, to go the distance and to go beyond.