I used to believe I had limited control over the future. It was a place forward in time affected by lots of things out of my hands. But I also thought if the economy was good and my clients wanted my solutions, then I would like my place in this future.
But then something happened that changed my belief about the future forever.
When I was dating my husband, who is a financially conservative guy, I used to come up with all these extravagant vacation ideas. One time I said, “Let’s go spend a week in Maine in August at a brand-new home on a lake!” I believed I deserved it because it felt like I was working practically 24×7 growing my business. The truth is, I couldn’t really afford it. But that never stopped me.
My enthusiasm won and he reluctantly agreed. One night while we were there, I said to him, “I hope you’re not dating me because of my money.” I cringe when I tell this story because my opinion of myself was so inflated. I was full of self-importance as an entrepreneur whose business was making over $1M/year in revenue, while he was “just” a physician.
Completely unphased, he laughed and said, “You don’t have any money.”
I FLIPPED OUT. Unknowingly he had put into words my worst fear. His statement triggered all my insecurity and doubt about money – and my own worth. So of course, I was furious and reacted with, “How dare you,” and lots of other things I’m too embarrassed to mention here. I remember saying through clenched teeth that I was investing all my money back into the business to grow it.
I admit it was not my finest moment. But thankfully, we moved past this difference of opinion and are now happily married. The best part is, I now DO have money because I changed my beliefs about how to create the future.
But it has not been an easy journey. In 2009, seemingly out of nowhere, a major economic crisis threatened everything I had built. Without warning, the bank froze my line of credit, clients stopped paying their invoices or terminated contracts, and prospects canceled meetings. My business ground to a halt with no end in sight – and I felt panicked. Everyone business owner I knew was in the same situation.
Yes, it was true I had reinvested almost all my money back into my business. This always seemed to be the wisest investment I could ever make. After all, I had a lot more control over my business than the stock market! But what I did not do is create a reserve. I didn’t have six months of runway; in fact, I didn’t even have enough cash to cover three months. I had to move the business into my home temporarily and lay off most of my staff. I felt like a failure.
It turns out my husband was right – I didn’t really have any money. But don’t tell him I said that.
This is when I realized that we create our future in our mind first. The economic situation was a circumstance I couldn’t control. But I did have control over my thoughts about what it meant to me. I could wallow in feelings of inadequacy, doubt, and anxiety, which would only result in remaining stuck or worse, going out of business. OR I could meet the situation head-on with the same energy, focus, and determination that I used to create my first 10 years of success. The difference started with my thoughts.
I decided to believe I could turn the company around.
My past thoughts and actions had created the negative future I was experiencing in the present. I simply wasn’t prepared. It wasn’t easy but I completely changed our business model from a technical consulting practice to a solutions business that generated recurring revenue. This was not only more scalable and profitable – it added more value to our customers and helped them succeed too.
Right now, you may not have money, but you have the two most important things you need to create a new future: your mind and time. You CAN use both of them to make your business and your future stronger. And if your gut reaction to that sentence is ‘Yeah, right’ then schedule a call with me today and I’ll show you how.