It’s been an interesting few months.
I’ve felt for a little while like I was stuck in my business. Not in a terrible way; not that my business was doing poorly; rather, I was doing well and wanted to grow more… yet, I felt I was hitting my head on a ceiling of what I could achieve.
There was growth (i.e. I hired a writer in the fall of 2017, and another one in the spring of 2018). But it was slow progress, in the same
And then suddenly it happened.
… And then a second time.
… And then a third time.
Three “new levels” in three months; very rapid growth that, each time, took me to perceptibly higher levels in my business that I could barely fathom the month earlier.
A Chronicle Of Three Unexpected Level-Ups
I thought I’d reached my absolute maximum capacity in the days before Christmas. Then I took Christmas day off and jumped back in on the 26th—not because I wanted to but because I was falling far behind and hated that so many people were relying on me yet I was struggling to keep up.
But then something happened: After Christmas, it was almost as if I’d reached a new level. Perceptibly.
I cranked out work like never before, while also getting back to a sense of balance and structure that I’d lost in the weeks leading up to Christmas. It was amazing (and also very hard to describe beyond the words “next level”, which I realize is over-used but highly applicable).
The second one: Then, as I worked through January, the projects picked up again and I pushed hard a second time in order to hit some deadlines, especially in preparation of an upcoming trip… and it happened again: a perceptible shift even higher, achieving an ability to work with a higher level of focus to create even more work (while also still maintaining the structure/balance that I want in my life).
The third one: Then it happened a third time in early February: A client hired a few staff to work with me (a couple of assistants and a couple of graphic designers) on his payroll, but directed by me to create content for him. This pushed me a third time beyond what I thought I was capable of to create more content in less time by coordinating with several team members to produce great stuff.
Thoughts About Growing To The Next Level
Why am I telling you this? Mostly it’s because I’m processing it in my own mind right now. I’m trying to quantify what
In each case, I was FORCED to go beyond what I was comfortable or what I wanted to do; FORCED to push hard… even beyond what I thought was my breaking point. (Of course this shouldn’t come as a surprise, right? After all, that’s how a muscle grows.)
An Early Reflection On Levels
What I’ve written below is a post that I posted on Facebook earlier this year. It was an early reflection of that first
#1. Growth means a new level above what you can even fathom. If you told me last year what my business would be like now, I wouldn’t have believed you. But here it is. Yes, I had a vision for my business but it still grows in unfathomable ways. It’s like driving in the fog. You know where you want to go, but you can only see a few feet in front of you at a time. You drive anyway, hope you don’t crash into anything, and, if you’re careful, you’ll likely get where you want to go.
#2. When you push yourself beyond what you think you are capable of, you force yourself to create a solution. It’s the real-life version of the often-quoted phrase: “jump off a cliff and build your wings on the way down.” This week I set a daily goal in my business that was higher than I ever thought possible. (Even last week I thought it was impossible). But, since setting that goal, I’ve surpassed it one day and almost achieved it another day… *but* the strategies I’ve developed in just 2 days have suddenly made this “not-possible” goal surprisingly possible. It used to be an aspirational dream to hit this goal, and now I have the practical tools to do it because I forced myself to figure it out.
#3. Be methodical. The things I thought weren’t possible have become possible because of one thing: I broke down my impossible goal into tiny steps and then figured out how to achieve each tiny step. It works. I run a checklist of activities
#4. Cut what’s not working… but balance that against
What’s The Next Level?
Three levels in three months. It’s been a wild ride. I love it and it’s thrillingly terrifying each time, especially since I think I know what I want to come next in my business but each time these perceptible leaps are far beyond and far better than I could even imagine.
I’m now thinking: can I force it? Each time has felt almost accidental and beyond my control but is it possible to force the next level? Is it possible to push
I’m about to find out because in March I’m going to see if I can force myself beyond what I think I can do again.