I know what it is to put everything you have into your work and feel like you're losing ground. That feeling that you're spinning your wheels and just digging a deeper rut.
Knowing you have to spend money to keep it all going. Worrying if enough money will come in to keep it all going. And then when the long hours and worries drag you under to the deepest feeling of tired you've ever known, you just have to keep moving. Because if you don't make something happen...well you can't think about that. It's not an option. Everything is riding on your ability to make something happen.
It's a lifestyle that takes a toll on your body and mind and eventually kills your spirit.
I ignored what was happening as long as I possibly could. And then I couldn't.
Maybe it was that wake up call comment from my kid that I wrote about here. Or maybe it was the fact that I was so tired my bones got heavy. And so mentally fogged from lack of sleep that I started losing vocabulary words. But one day I could not do it another day.
So I stopped.
Not For Lack of Trying
By then I had spent years reading and learning everything I could get my hands on about the right way to run a business. I had studied accounting, and read Warren Buffet's letters on economics, and studied Business Analytics through an online program at Duke, my alma mater. I knew about the Business Model Canvas and Lean and Agile. I had been through B-school. I grew up on a farm, so literally my childhood was spent living the family business. But I had to stop - and breath - and put it all together, almost like translating it into my own language. There were all of these parts that I had never fit together before.
Then one day I realized that my business just had a design problem. It wasn't a secret code I couldn't crack, it was a lot simpler than that.
It was some kind of mental shift. Suddenly I saw that a business was just like anything else that had to obey the universal principles of design to function at it's best.
It was one of those overnight things that takes 20 years to happen, but it did.
And from that came a system for designing a better business in just a few minutes a day. Because that's all I had!
As I worked on my business, piece by piece, I could see clearly, from a design vantage point, the difference between a struggling business and a successful one.
Once I started doing the quick design audits, I saw changes happening in just a few weeks. And nothing has ever been the same. Somehow my life belongs to me for the first time in a very long time.
The time I spend with my kids now vs. the time I used to spend with them is SO MUCH clearer and lighter and more joyful.
Instead of feeling completely wrung out, I'm soaking everything up like a sponge again like I did before I had a business to run and bills to pay.
I kid you not, a ripe peach off a crooked old tree in the mountains almost made me cry the other day, it was so sweet.
I hope the Better Business Design process will do for you what it did for me.
It's rooted in design principles and thrives on creativity, but it's practical. It's hands on and functional. And for anyone who's afraid to keep going in the direction they're headed, but damn sure they can't stop, it could be a lifesaver. For me it has changed EVERYTHING.
My Business suddenly seems simple, everything in it's exact place now. And I have a deeply settled feeling that my business is working for ME, not the other way around.
YOU DO not HAVE TO KEEP STRUGGLING forward ANYMORE. I USED THIS PROCESS TO FREE MYSELF FROM exhaustion and overwhelm AND I CAN SHOW YOU HOW TO DO IT TOO.
This one technique will set you on a path to freedom.
There is a light at the end of the tunnel.
At the core of everything I do is deep thoughtful conversations with busy, ambitious business owners who still have that light in their eyes and know their business is worth working on. If you have read this far, get in touch, and tell me about your biggest challenges.