How one simple question can change anything you want

Darcey Croft

Back in October I was chatting with executive business coach Jeff Boss. I mentioned how frustrating it was to be stuck in a loop of bootstrapping a new brand. This means in addition to brand building Barenaturals I also work in a hospital as a midwife to support the business, until it grows enough to support itself.

It’s a catch 22. The time I could work on a swifter growth is taken up through necessity, thus making the aspired results slow to reach. An unenviable catch for all entrepreneurs aiming at evergreen growth and not wanting to sell out to investors who do not care about the purpose or people within the business. It can make you feel like you are not a real entrepreneur because you are taking a longer, boring, safer route and not flying against the wind with a wing and a prayer. You certainly wouldn’t find the Wolf of Wall Street choosing this path.

But in reality for a lot of us, that notion is mere fiction. When the tinkling, almost apologetic, alarm goes off at 5am and I drag my sorry tired arse out of bed to prepare for the daily grind. I couldn’t feel further away from the idealised version of an entrepreneur. I feel just like everyone else setting off into the traffic jam, wishing I could hit that snooze button and spend the day working on my dreams instead.  But just like children, all startups need strong parental nurture and support. So for now the day and night job continues.

But back to the story. Jeff asked me what would it take to free myself from this cycle. It was such a simple question to answer with the obvious, sales.

Sales that I haven’t the man power to nurture along with everything else that needs doing, refer to paragraph above. He didn’t say anymore about it (probably a wily coach move) and knowing the trap I was in, I didn’t think anymore about it. However unbeknownst to me, my subconscious had taken notice.

Now taking the risk of sounding absolutely bonkers. Let me tell you how my subconscious presented the solution sometime later at a moment, that personally, I wouldn’t have picked, given free choice.

It was precisely thirty seconds after standing up to talk to an assembly of astute business people. Let me just add a note here, the feelings I have about public speaking are pretty close to abject terror. So after introducing myself and Barenaturals, I listened incredulously as the Broca area, located in my frontal lobe and concerned with speech, was hijacked by a scheming, plotting subconscious and out of my mouth came the words. ‘’But I don’t want to talk to you about that. I want to tell you about something new I am launching’’.

At precisely the same moment my amygdala, (a section of the brain that is responsible for detecting fear and preparing for emergencies) having being given no prior warning and on noticing a room full of people expectantly focusing on me, began to panic. As internal chatter urgently demanded ‘wtf are you doing’, my subconscious took over and seamlessly launched a new digital marketing management company complete with benefits and rational that made the internal chatter go ‘oh that is a good idea! that makes sense and why haven’t you done this sooner, thought of this before!’

This surprise concept was so streamlined and well thought out that afterwards people were waiting in turn to make appointments to find out how I could help their businesses grow their social engagement. This would allow me to work from home, grow Barenaturals and not have to kiss my children goodbye and hello while they were asleep. It was a complete holistic solution. The funny thing is, I had no idea of the idea until it popped out. But when it did, I knew that it was the answer to the question that had been posed by Jeff a few weeks before. Just like when you try, and fail, to remember something. Then the answer comes to you seemingly out of the blue sometime later. I am now a definite convert to the potential of coaching with its ability to prompt subconscious triggers and arrive at answers. Ones that may already be inside your mind, just waiting for a guide to show them the way to the surface.

So bursting with excitement that the idea had been so well received, and even more so with the promise of freedom to grow Barenaturals. I raced home and started work immediately. Here’s how the idea panned out.

Part One

Day one, I wrote out a plan, hired freelancers to build a website, organised social media elements. The rest of the week I spent in meetings, reading aspects I needed to know more about, began writing site content. I did this around my hospital shifts and Barenaturals. With this third venture time was busier than ever, but it was ok because it was a great idea and it would lead to freedom. By the second week I reviewed the site that had been built, learnt some more stuff, had more meetings, wrote more content, revised packages that I would make available, wrote reports for the meetings, called people to discuss findings, did my 40hrs plus the 10hrs travel at the hospital. Worked on Barenaturals, packaged products late into the night, organised social media, prioritised family time. By the third week I was exhausted, coming down with a cold, ratty with everyone and feeling quite hopeless about the now three mountains in front of me. My optimism was severely challenged.

Thankfully I am part of a good team, who pointed out I had taken on too much and should shelve the idea. I reluctantly agreed that what was still a great solution was also taking me further away from the thing I was trying to get closer to. It would work, but even so I had to see it as liability to my main focus and just say no. I had lost three weeks, wasted some money, but I had learnt a bunch of stuff I didn’t know and had a much clearer vision of what I needed to focus on to get me out of the bind. I needed to cut out anything that didn’t get us closer to growing Barenaturals.

Part Two

The very next day I booked double the shifts I usually work and enlisted an enthusiastic sales team. With their enthusiasm introducing more people to Barenaturals and as they forge new relationships, the first phase of amended plan A will work. (Nb. my new rule; not to make plan Bs they take away the imperative of Plan A).

The first day they went out into the field armed with samples and I set off to the hospital at 0630 and being part of the job to forgo breaks if staff shortages dictate I returned dead on my feet at 2200 to an awesome message from the team. They’d had a great day making sales, with one a huge order that was needed in the heart of London by 0900 the following morning. It was such a good order that we would need to spend the next four hours putting it together (mental kick on remembering that I hadn’t discussed with them exactly how ordering should ideally work). We finished the order by 2am and with another hospital shift beginning with a wake up call at 0530 I reluctantly noted how tired I was going to be. But as the last box was sealed, none of that mattered because this was all brilliant. The plan was working and this is exactly what being a bootstrapping entrepreneur is all about!

The takeaway of this post for you, is to ask (out loud) ‘What would it take for me to ______’  fill in the blank with whatever your dream is. Now lets wait and see what your subconscious comes back with!

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