During the first workshop of a coaching program I’m part of, we were tasked with deeply examining our own businesses – what we were doing, what was working, where we struggled. Afterward, we gathered in small groups to share our observations in an environment of honesty and trust.
But after the exercise, I couldn’t shake this feeling in my gut; something was nagging at me. So at lunch I grabbed a clean sheet of paper and sketched out 4 sections with the following headings:
- Activities where I earn the most money
- Activities I most enjoy
- Activities I least enjoy
- Activities that play to my strengths
I populated this document with the things that keep the lights on in my enterprise like selling online programs, teaching courses in schools, hosting a summit, giving webinars, private coaching, speaking, blogging, copywriting and so forth. Many activities, by the way, showed up in more than one section.
(I didn’t include the administrative elements of my work like filing, answering emails, paying bills and all the other boring – but vital – aspects of my work. Only the things that generated revenue).
The shocking (and scary!) truth that showed up
Here was the stunner: I spend most of my time working on things I don’t enjoy but feel pressured to do because they play to my strengths and that’s where the bulk of my revenue is coming from. Talk about a Catch-22!
That got me thinking about my work in a whole new way. And it got me thinking about you, too.
I often hear practitioners describe some form of the following:
- My training and work is in one field of medicine, but my heart is pulling me in another. I feel angry and frustrated, but I’m afraid to make a change.
- I’m really good at doing one-to-one clinical consultations… but it saps my energy. I’d much rather put more time into research, writing, and getting paid for it – that’s what I really love to do!
- I enjoy traveling to new places and speaking to lots of people about health… but find myself stuck in a small office, meeting with patients, and have no time for anything else.
- My kids (or parents) need me right now, but I’m overwhelmed with work and barely have time to fit in a vacation. I feel like I’m wasting time on things that don’t matter and missing out on what could be the best years I have left with them.
- I feel like I’m running the kind of practice that I was instructed to set up versus building the kind of joyful practice that I want to create.
How taking control can impact your success
If you haven’t set up the kind of practice that allows you to work in congruity with your strengths, experience, and desires, it will show up in your results. And not necessarily in a good way.
In fact, it’s very hard to feel good about promoting yourself or your practice if you don’t have passion in what you do or how you do it. Marketing becomes easy when you’re aligned with your core strengths and desires. Not only that, the joy and passion behind your marketing messages – your words – will naturally “show up”, which will draw in your ideal patients and clients. Opportunities and partners often magically appear, too.
The BIG reward
This exercise can provide you with some fascinating discoveries, because it will spell out what you should be doing and, perhaps more important, what you should STOP doing. I hope you’ll try it out.
When you do, once you’ve outlined your four sections you have three choices:
- Keep doing what you’re doing and get the same results that you’re getting.
- Stop doing everything you dislike and potentially put your financial situation at risk.
- Transition slowly out of the things you dislike and put more effort behind your strengths and passions.
If you feel a change is needed, I suggest that you choose what’s behind door #3 and take things slow.
It takes time – and courage – to pull the plug on old, comfortable ways of doing things. And it will take some effort to identify and tackle new revenue-generating activities, too.
But having more joy and energy, greater ease with self-promotion, and bigger impact in your community is a handsome payoff in return, don’t you think?