3 Examples of When What Worked in the Beginning Won’t Work Anymore

It’s interesting to me that sometimes the issues that my clients have sort of clump together. It’s a bit surreal when you have the same issue three calls in a row.

Right now several people are dealing with the “What Got You Here Won’t Get You There” problem — so named after the book by Marshall Goldsmith.

Goldsmith is an executive coach who takes the high achievers who are now at the peak or nearing the peak of their careers, and helps them to not shoot themselves in the foot by using behaviours and frameworks that worked while they were on the upward climb, but not so much once they got there.

Think you’re too far from your goals for this to be affecting you? Maybe not.

One client, a serial entrepreneur like me, keeps talking about keeping his options open, even though he’s got a business that is going well. But this business will require a significant amount of focus to build into a stable and secure operation.

For so long he was trying a bunch of different things to see what would work and he’s still mentally in the habit of scanning the horizon for the best opportunity. He needs to remember that he’s already picked a business that is doing more than showing promise, it’s on the cusp of succeeding, and to focus on that.

Another client is a born connector. And it’s brought her a lot of opportunities. Too many, in fact. She’s swamped under not just the work that these connections have brought in, but the opportunities for events, trips, dinner dates and Meetups.

She knows she should say no — she knows she is HAS to say no. But she also knows that every connection is an opportunity. And she isn’t mentally “there” in her current success to realize that a) she has more opportunity than she can handle, and b) she can go out and create more opportunity anytime she has the notion.

She’s still in the mindset of “showing up”and “hustling” but she has to evolve to a stage of pruning and curating in order to do her best work.

And lastly, a common one I’ve seen many times: you’re growing your list, your followers. For a while you know your whole tribe. You probably friended a bunch of them on Facebook, so you see their whole lives, too. But as you grow, you start feeling like me you don’t know these people. And they don’t seem to know you. They just want something from you, whether it’s your time, your art, or for you to entertain them. You feel resentful, taken advantage of, and like you lost your tribe somewhere along the way.

This is normal too. You went from “being a person” to being a brand, or in some cases, a product. The connection you forged with your early adopters was useful and rewarding in its time, but ultimately unsustainable. You cannot support that many relationships.

[Tweet “It’s worth asking yourself every once in a while, “what’s not working for me anymore?””]

In this new stage, you need to do two things; one, build a connection with your tribe another way, and two, figure out how to adjust your emotional mindset so that the new normal no longer seems so awful to you.

Put yourself in the shoes of someone a little bigger than you, in your niche. Probably they have cool friends, and an inner circle of amazing clients or beta testers/readers with whom they insulate themselves from the wider world that sees them as a brand, as an object of utility to be deserted when no longer entertaining or relevant.

Awareness is 80% of the cure for these types of mindset problems.

These shifting stages catch most people off guard. It doesn’t occur to them that what worked well for them in the past might not work as well in the future. But when it’s pointed out to you, you recognize the ridiculousness of that assumption. The very absurdity seems to give the realization an emotional impact that makes it stick.

However, we are still all creatures of habit, especially when it comes to strategies that historically have been successful for us. So it’s worth asking yourself every once in a while, “what’s not working for me anymore?” It’s frustrating to have to pick up new strategies, but not as frustrating as scuttling your own business because you couldn’t change your mindset when you needed to.