By Melinda Cohan, The Coaches Console®
Sounds totally counter-intuitive, right?! How can structure lead to freedom? Doesn’t it lead to putting us in a box? Or keeping us playing small? The opposite of structure is freedom. Without structure shouldn’t we be able to do anything we want, however we want, however often we want? That is what we so often hear from coaches who are in purgatory; stuck between the worlds of hobbyist vs. business owner.
So many biz owners define structure to what we call the tug-of-war mentality of the entrepreneur: “Either I have structure in my business and I am confined to playing small in a box OR I abandon structure and can live free; live the life of my dreams doing what I love.” These are conflicting views and therefore the problem with this either/or tug-of-war is that neither side wins. It always ends up in a stalemate; each conflicting view pulling in equally opposing directions.
It is time to redefine “structure” through the perspective of Both/And. You leverage the skills, resources, and people that integrate a sense of focused structure that paves the way to your greatest freedom.
It takes quite a bit more brain power, energy and time to reinvent the wheel each time you interact with a prospect, a client or a member of your team. And that is precisely what you are doing when you buy into the illusion that structure and freedom do not go hand in hand. When most coaches hear the word “structure”, it’s like finger nails on a chalkboard. The right-side of their brain, the part that makes them creative and outstanding coaches, goes off like a red warning light. They quickly believe that if they apply any structure to their day, their activities and how they work with their clients, they won’t be able to “be fully present” to support their client in the best way possible or do what they love. And they also fear they won’t be able to live the life of their dreams. We have been so fearful of the extreme end of the spectrum labeled “corporate structure” that we have abandoned the power of structure and the elements of structure that lead to our greatest freedom.
The three elements to leveraging structure into freedom:
1. Knowing “What to do in your business”
2. Knowing “How to do “it”
3. Doing “it” consistently every time
Element #1 “The What To Do In Your Business”
This element of structure is all about the actions and activities you experience on a daily basis within your business. The “what” includes things such as:
- Attracting prospects and referral sources,
- Collaborating with strategic partners,
- Guiding contacts through your sales funnel,
- Integrating exquisite client support,
- Implementing the best practices when it comes to billing and payment processing.
Element #2: The “How To Do It”
This element of structure is all about the specific steps you take when you are involved in the above listed activities. In every activity in your business there is a specific sequence of steps that when done in sequence will generate the greatest flow and quickest results. When we reinvent the wheel each time we engage in these activities, we waste brain power, energy and time “figuring it out.” When we can identify in advance the specific sequence of specific steps, the “how” becomes effortless and we recoup much of our time and energy to put towards other result-based activity.
Element #3: Consistency
It is not just enough to know the specific sequence of steps to take in each business activity, but to do the sequence consistently each time. It is in this consistent application where we truly leverage our time.
Once you’ve identified the steps to take, how to take them and the best sequence to take them in, you begin to realize you are saving time, money and energy to focus on things such as:
- More clients in the same amount of time
- Doing more of what you love (vacations, travel, etc.)
- More time with your family
- Using your entrepreneurial creative juices to develop your next vision
It is through structure that we recoup our time. It is through structure that we reclaim our power and energy. Not the extreme type of structure often experienced in corporate settings where you are in a box (literally, a “cubicle”) and are limited in what you are able to do. As the entrepreneur wearing all the hats within your business, it is through these elements of structure, integration and automation that allow you to quickly and easily go back and forth between the various hats and leverage your strengths to yield the quickest and greatest results.
Are you ready to stop the tug-of-war stalemate in your business and integrate the Both/And approach to structure? Here’s access to our complimentary webinar.