Navigating the Rapids of Business
This article appears in the November/December 2013 issue of Business Franchise Australia & New Zealand
Have you ever been white water rafting? In 1994, my late husband and I decided to be adventurous and give white water rafting a go.
We were on a short holiday. After all, we couldn’t take too much time off as we were in business for ourselves and there were only so many days we believed we could be away from the business before things would surely go wrong. This was our little getaway so whilst in the midst of relaxation and “away time” we decided to experience the thrill and excitement of white water rafting.
Now as beginners, our job was to sit in the raft, hold on tight, use the oars when we were instructed to, scream a little, feel terrified and experience a sense of thrill at the same time. Whilst we navigated our way around the rocks, through the rapids, we had one ultimate objective: stay in the raft until we made it to the calmer waters below.
At one point our raft did tip and after those few panicking moments we all eventually managed to get back into the raft, coughing and splattering as we climbed back in. It was terrifying, yet we found ourselves laughing with adrenalin rushing throughout our bodies as we got back in the raft secretly wanting to do it all over again.
As a team we had to work together, aligning our actions and our focus directing the raft and manoeuvring it through to the calmer waters below. Every action required quick thinking, clear strategy and zero procrastination. Yes, at times we were uncertain, not knowing what would come next and whether the next move would take us further out of our comfort zone.
At other times we were on top of the world and Masters of white water rafting. Once in calm waters, we wanted to do it again and take our experience to the next level. “Okay, who’s ready for the next level?” the instructor would ask. There was no turning back once we had made the decision to go for it and give the next level a go. We were fearful of what the unknown adventure would be like, but moving to the next level requires a certain type of attitude – ‘Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway!’
Operating a business is a bit like white water rafting. At times it’s scary, hectic, and sometimes unbelievably out of control. It takes you out of your comfort zone and pushes you into very unknown waters. At other times, it’s exciting, challenging and ultimately rewarding.
The key to navigating your way through business successfully is the same as navigating your raft through the rapids. Once you know how and what to do, it’s important to be sure you implement that knowledge so that you arrive at calmer waters with confidence and without too many knocks, bumps, cuts and bruises. It’s about making the right moves at the right time and in the right order, so that when you are ready to move to the next level you can do so with confidence.
One of the keys to success in business is how you handle each stage of the journey. In our case, with white water rafting, each stage represented the starting point, the rocky road of the rapids, the free falling down the dips, and the calm waters below. Success was achieved as a result of many things aligning together, the quick manoeuvring, the quick decisions and action-taking before arriving at your destination. The destination is not the end of course; it is just the beginning, as you take your experience to new and higher levels. Business is the same. Once you reach a certain goal, milestone, or outcome, it’s not the end; it’s just the beginning of something bigger, better and more exciting.
Doing the right things in the right order is crucial to success. Being sure you take consistent action every day and with a big focus on income generating activities and not just any activity is a key component to building the business of your dreams. I believe one of the key elements to achieving success is having an open mind and being committed to doing whatever it takes to learn new skills and knowledge, and following through by implementing that newfound knowledge and skill set.
What is your motivation? What is your motive for action?
Growth starts to happen when you extend yourself beyond your comfort zone and beyond the edge. You must lean just over the edge every day to achieve exactly what it is you want. Extend yourself. Have the courage to push yourself beyond your own fears, embracing them so that you can make your life and your business phenomenal.
Make a commitment to develop yourself and learn whatever is necessary to be the best. Strengthen every weakness until they become your greatest strength.
Stop Blaming and Complaining and Just Get on With It!
Have you ever been in a position where it was easier to blame outside circumstances or someone else for your shortfalls? It is unfortunate that for most of us it is quite a natural habit to blame outside circumstances and events for our lack of results. Because of our past programming and conditioning, many are living a very average way of life because they have chosen to accept that this is just the way life is. If you are someone who is convinced that your circumstances are because of the actions of others or outside circumstances, may I encourage you to open your mind and be prepared to make a decision today to change that level of thinking or to change your current circumstances.
Think about it. How would your life or business change if you knew you were the only one responsible for your success? Not your franchisor, not anyone else, just you. There would be a lot more doing and a lot less complaining and blaming, wouldn’t there? There would also be a lot more people living the life they truly deserve.
Learn to replace complaining with being proactive and taking action. If you find yourself in a situation that you don’t like, either make it work or simply leave. The worst thing you can do is stay and then complain later about it. Stop missing the pieces of the puzzle! They’re right in front of you.
You are the only one responsible for your success! If you don’t have all of the pieces yet to build whatever it is you want, then it’s your responsibility to acquire them. The world doesn’t owe you anything. You have to create what you want.
Knowing you are responsible for your success and doing what it takes to be a success are two different things. In the past I always knew what I had to be doing to achieve higher levels of success, though I found myself not always doing those things consistently enough to produce the consistent results I wanted. My results would either be fantastic or just plain average. I started to see a clear pattern forming and it was a pattern I didn’t like. I set out on a path to really make a change in what I was thinking and doing so that my business and my life could progress forward and produce the consistent results I wanted every day. This was the time I truly took ownership of building a new foundation, taking a new direction and committing to taking consistent action towards the success I desired.
What can you do right now to take true ownership of the direction and success of your business? Taking your business to the next level need not be complicated nor does it require excessively long hours or extremely hard work. What it does take is a commitment to your success, a commitment to taking consistent daily action, and doing the right things in the right order.
Tania Allen is the founder of Vision Alliance and author of Franchise Profits.
Vision Alliance is a business growth & franchise consulting firm that helps franchisors and franchisees get more out of business and more out of life.
For more information about how Tania and her team can support you contact: