Success-we all strive to obtain it, but how many times have we maintained the momentum that got us there? And, should we expect to keep that momentum up indefinitely?
Let’s take a look at Linda P. who became a client of mine late last summer. She was struggling with her business in all facets. She needed guidance to help get her back on track, someone to hold her accountable and a plan to evaluate her progress. I worked with Linda as a group coaching client on a weekly basis to assist her in putting some of my tools and techniques to use. Over several months she began to see a steady rise in her production, she gained traction with her motivation and felt her confidence level rising. By the end of 2009 and in only a few short months, Linda had achieved the goals she had set earlier in the year that she was concerned about hitting.
As the first 6 months of this year passed, Linda was up 120% year to date for her numbers, had been designated as a top producer by her firm and was reveling in such a successful 2010. The resources I had given her 10 months ago that she never thought she could implement were now ingrained in her everyday activities.
Last month, Linda and I met for our first of two bi-monthly 1-on-1 coaching sessions and I could tell that she was not herself. I probed a bit and she shared with me that she was feeling burnt out. The success she had accomplished was fantastic, but what had been working for her over the past months no longer seemed to have their punch. During the previous two weeks, she had not been hitting her numbers, she was avoiding making calls and she felt that she had hit the proverbial wall.
I asked Linda if she would ever consider taking a two week vacation. She responded with “absolutely not, there is too much to do and I am behind already”. I inquired what her pipeline looked like and surprisingly she answered “well, actually I have quite a lot going on, I’ve just been procrastinating”. Then, I had her tally up the pipeline to discuss the potential business that she could close this month. She was even more surprised to realize that it could become her second best month ever!
I replied “terrific…so you know what I think is going on with you?” There was a pause as she quietly said “no, what are you thinking”. I said “you needed to take a break but you were not listening to your mind/body, so your subconscious decided to take a vacation for you. During the past two weeks you feel like you lost your momentum and spent your energy trying to look busy and feeling guilty that less was getting accomplished. But, in reality you subconsciously told yourself you needed a break. It is like riding a bike, sometimes if you are pedaling fast, you get tired and you have to coast to give yourself time to regroup, then when you are ready, you can pedal fast again”.
There was an exhale from her as if a burden had just been lifted from her shoulders. “Wow, Dan that makes perfect sense…I think I’m ready to start pedaling again!!” Two weeks later, when Linda and I met for a coaching session, the first thing she shared with me was “I’m back…I hung up with you and realized that I had just needed to get back on the bike and sure enough as soon as I did, it was like I picked up where I left off before my “vacation”.
Taking a vacation from doing a high level of day-to-day activities is a great way to recharge. We naturally take a break when our body tells us enough-is-enough and that it is time to sleep. So why not give yourself permission to take a scheduled break from your business?
Some may say that this is a recipe for disaster-advocating a decrease in activities which results in a decrease is success. However, if you have scheduled your business break, determined the time horizon of how long you will take that break (be it a one week vacation or a fifteen minute “vacation” from making the next call) and what you will do once you get back to the business then really it is truly a recipe for success because you will be energized and ready to maintain your momentum!
Unlike unconsciously sabotaging success (for fear of not feeling worthy of being successful) by decreasing activities once you have reached the level of success that you desire-taking a scheduled break from the business is a conscious action and one where you are fully aware of what you will do once you do go back to work. The following is an example of the difference:
Having a “fear of success” would be hitting your monthly goals half way through the month and then discontinuing the daily activities that got you there; only to then find you fell way short of your goals the following month versus hitting your goals half way through the month knowing that accomplishing your goals early will result in a scheduled four day weekend as a reward-the recipe to rest and recharge. The former is an unconscious reaction to the “fear of success” and the latter is the conscious decision to reward yourself for a job well done. Understanding and applying the latter is the psychology behind maintaining momentum and ultimately sustaining success!