Imagine this… you are grabbing a chai latte with your business bestie at the start of the new year and reflecting back on 2021.
Are you excited and celebrating your success with her?
Or are you downright exhausted thinking back on what it took to achieve that "success" and dreading having to do it all over again to keep on growing and scaling in the new year?
So often we look at our numbers, our achievements, and the checks we placed in all the boxes as the measure of success.
But what is that success costing you? Did you work all day every day to achieve those results? Have you skipped every holiday, every invitation you had for time with friends and family because you were chasing your goals?
I dive into redefining success in business to consider HOW you achieve your goals, including:
- Traps to avoid that lead to chronic overwork
- Why success can’t be solely measured in accomplishments
- 4 questions to ask yourself to redefine success
- How to get your time back and stay focused on your zone of genius
- The incredible value of including your team in your reviews
- Why reflection is important if you want to achieve different results
"The beauty and the curse of entrepreneurship is that we get to do what we want to do." - Crista Grasso. Click To Tweet.
A deep dive into the 4 questions that can help you redefine success
What are you most proud of and what went really well?
This will help you see the things you are doing well and how much you have achieved. This is a question to ask yourself as often as you like so you can stay positive and give yourself the pat on your back you deserve for your accomplishments.
What lessons did you learn and didn't go as well as expected?
While it might not feel as good to think about things going poorly look for the lessons you learned along the way. Sometimes there have to be setbacks in order to pull back for fast acceleration. The skills you learned during a hard time are often even more valuable than your skills when things are going well.
What do you want to continue or do more of in business?
Which things fill up your heart and soul and give you the most fulfillment in your business? What do you enjoy doing the most and what could you do in order to keep doing it and doing even more of it. What keeps you in your zone of genius the most.
What do you want to eliminate or lean out and do less of in business?
What can you take off your plate or just quit doing altogether? These are the things you can outsource to a team, freelancers, or if they have no real value in your life or business you simply just say no and drop those things.
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Welcome to the lean out your business podcast, a show dedicated to helping entrepreneurs accelerate business growth in simple success. I'm your host, Krista Grasso, and I've been working with businesses for more than two decades to help them lean out and optimize what's working while eliminating anything that's not adding value. So if you are ready to get more time back in your day, more profit in your business, and to do business differently growing and scaling on your terms. Let's dive into today's episode.
Hello, hello, and welcome to another episode of the lean out your business podcast. Today, we are going to be talking all about how you define success, which I think is really important as you start to reflect on this year and start to plan ahead and think about the upcoming year in so one of the things that I think is really important and often overlooked, is we're frequently very numbers based. And when we're looking at our success, and we're thinking about our success, we're looking at did we achieve our revenue goals? Did we achieve our goals, it's both very accomplishments oriented as well is very focused on what we did, or what we achieved in one thing that I really want you to be thinking about and considering is that beyond the walk, I think something that's equally as important, if not more important, is the how and here's what I mean by that if you achieve your financial goals, let's say you had set some, you know, really big financial goals for this past 90 days. And you not only achieved them, but you exceeded them. Let's say that you had set some growth numbers. And again, you not only achieved them, but you exceeded them on the surface. If you're just looking at what you're just looking at those accomplishments in those numbers, it may appear as if it was an incredibly successful 90 day period. And you can't argue with the fact that that's absolutely great. From a revenue and growth perspective.
However, when you look at the how, if you worked 24 by seven, if you're on the verge of burnout, if you're super stressed out super unhappy, right, if you're not in a good place, because you practically killed yourself to hit those goals. How successful was it? And that's what I really want to talk about today, I'm going to share a case study of one of my clients who's absolutely amazing. You've met her before she's been on the podcast as a guest. And I want to walk you through the activity that we did together to really get clear on how successful things were really going in her business and how we leveraged four simple questions to completely pivot and shift how she was working. That led to tremendous success for her that I'm hoping you'll be able to take in implement in your own business as well. Because here's the thing, when you think about results, which is just as important as the results themselves is your journey, right? You want to make sure that you achieve the results that you get in a sustainable way. And in a fulfilling way.
You don't want to be miserable, right? You want to enjoy the journey. Entrepreneurship is fun, right? Think about this, we wake up every single day with the ability to create something from scratch, we are literally shaping our own destiny, we have the freedom in how we spend our time, how we spend our money, who we get to work with some days, it may not feel that way. But the reality is, that is the beauty and the curse of entrepreneurship is that we get to do what we want to do. And we get to focus our time, energy, and money on what we want to focus it on. So you might as well focus it on things that are both successful from a profit, revenue, impact, you know, all of those perspectives. But it also should be really personally fulfilling for you.
It should be something that you enjoy. It shouldn't be something that you're dreading every time that you wake up. And you're just counting down the hours for the data. And like so many people who are sitting behind a desk, or maybe sitting behind a desk at home now in a corporate job. And so you get the opportunity to make your business whatever you want it to be. So as you're thinking about success, let's define success in a way that really looks at things holistically in not just the numbers.
So let me share with you a little bit about my client's story. When we look back at the beginning of the year, she had absolutely phenomenal results. So in q1, she generated more revenue than she had done in all of last year. And so if we had just looked at her revenue numbers if we looked at her growth With numbers, right, she really was a real example of someone who had set a revenue target, set a growth target, and not only met it but far exceeded it. And so on the surface that looked really good. And what I see so many people normally do is they say, oh, hit those targets, great. I'm gonna do more of what I did this past quarter because I want those same or better results, this coming quarter in so they just end up doing more and more, more working harder, harder, harder. But what we had done her and I, when we did her planning for q2 is we had dug in. And we really looked at not just what she achieved, but how she achieved it. And as we dug into some questions, she ended up having a little bit of an epiphany. And as we dug in and started reflecting on the four questions that I'm going to share with you, what she ended up realizing is, she worked way too hard.
She worked way more hours than she wanted to, she lost the time that she used to have to actually work on her business, and do her strategic work, she found herself working in the business all the time. And although she had that great short term win in q1, she also recognized that without that protected space to work on her business, she wasn't going to be able to sustain that she spent a lot of time in meetings, a lot of time in meetings, she was meeting one on one with a lot of different people, some of that was fulfilling what she was doing with her clients, which that's unavoidable. And that was something she really enjoyed. But she also was spending a lot of time meeting with people to network to see if they might be potential power partners. And some of them really just was not a good fit at all. She was doing a ton of podcast interviews and not necessarily getting a good return on her time investment. Because some of the shows that she was on weren't really a good fit for her. She was meeting with various team members, and she had a lot of team members spread out all over the case. So it was four-plus hours per week that she was spending meeting with team members. Instead of having one meeting where everybody was together, she was doing individual meetings, because she had people kind of all over the place. And overall, she just found that when she looked at that time, she felt exhausted, she felt overworked. And worst of all, she felt like she didn't really get a good return on all of that extra time that she invested in her business. Yes, she made her growth targets. Yes, she made her revenue targets. But from a fulfillment perspective, it wasn't there. And a lot of the time that she invested, she did not get a return from.
So as we dug in and started to plan out q2 for her. We leveraged all of that to shape how we looked at how she was going to work for the next 90 days. And what we looked at is, how could she generate the same or more revenue in q2 as she did in q1? Right? Let's keep that positive momentum going. We don't want to impact those revenue targets. But how can we do it in a way where she's going to get back 10 hours or more per week, and stay focused on her zone of genius work instead of a lot of the things that she was spending time on that really were not her zone of genius? In some cases, they weren't even her zone of excellence. Right? They were arguably her zone of competence, which is never a place that we want to live into how could we get her back 10 hours per week align her to those things that really are the things that she is uniquely skilled to do in that fuel her the most in her business. And at the same time, how do we create that protected space so she can continue to do the strategic work working on her business and not just getting sucked into the day to day feeling like she's on that hustle hamster wheel all the time, busy, busy busy in so that was what we had looked at. And that was the plan that we had put in place for her. And she ended up completely transforming her schedule.
We also did what I call a visionary leadership schedule review. This is something I do with all of my private clients. And that I do as a bonus for people frequently when they join the simplify to scale business accelerator. But we went in and we looked at her day we looked at her schedule. Instead, not only are we going to cut, you know, reimagine some of the things that you're doing. But we're going to completely restructure the day in such a way that you're able to play to your strengths. You're able to have that protected space to work on the business, you're able to streamline when in how you meet with people, you're able to give your clients some really consistent and predictable windows when you're available to meet with them. And best of all for her. We ended up protecting her mornings, so she only does strategic work in the mornings. She takes Fridays off now. We had put that in place earlier this year. And she's still maintaining that and does not plan to go back to working Fridays. And she also has stopped working earlier in the evenings. So she actually saved a little bit more than 10 hours per week. Our goal was 10 but she ended up putting more and you know what? Every single 90 days, her revenue is increasing more and more. So it does actually work. But here's the key, if you don't take the time to stop and reflect, and not just look at what you're achieving, but how you are achieving it, and take those steps to really reimagine how you're approaching things, you're gonna keep getting more of the same. So if you're feeling overworked, if you're feeling overwhelmed, if you feel like you're doing a lot of things that either you personally shouldn't be doing in your business, or you're just not getting the return that you're looking for from them, you're gonna just keep getting more of that, without taking that time to make some changes.
So let me share with you the four questions, they are seemingly simple. So don't let the simplicity of them fool you really take the time to reflect and just sit with these, it's really helpful to reflect on these questions with your team as well. When I do this with my client, we do this with her full team every single 90 days. And this can be just so helpful to do because sometimes your team is going to see things that you don't necessarily see. And ironically, the things that your team often sees that you don't see are the things that you have to celebrate the things that went really well, because I don't know if you are anything like me, but I may get 1000 positive comments in one, negative one. And do you know which one I remember the negative one, right? If you look back at the past 90 days, you may have had so many things go amazingly well. But that one thing that didn't go well, that's the one that sticks out in your mind, right. And it's this is just so common, we're kind of preconditioned to see, you know, the negative or because we're natural problem solvers, we tend to over-index on the problem or the things that didn't go as well, because we want to solve it. And we're naturally trying to figure out how to make things better over time. And with some real intentionality and practice, you can shift that where you are, you know, in a place of gratitude, you are appreciating and celebrating all those things that go well, you can condition yourself to not over-index on the negative. But that being said, our natural default, we are going to remember a lot of the things that did not go as well, we are not always going to remember all of the things that went really well, our teams, know the things that went really well. And so it's just a really helpful activity to do with your teams.
So the very first question to ask and this is where your team input is really valuable is, what are you most proud of, and what went really well. And so this is something you can honestly do as often as you want, I recommend you do it at least every 90 days. But it's also a really powerful activity to do at the end of one year at the beginning of another year, just looking at that broader time horizon. So the first question is, again, what are you most proud of and what went really well? And then on the flip side, the second question that complements that is, what lessons did you learn and what didn't go as well as expected? And I consider both of these questions as results-based questions that are really aligned with what you should be celebrating for this past 90 days or this past year, depending on the time horizon you're doing this activity for and if you're saying, but why am I celebrating? What didn't go? Well, the reality is, some of the very best lessons that you have in business are from the things that did not go well. If you've listened to this podcast for a while, you know, I'm pretty transparent. And I share a lot of the mistakes that I have made in business in the past and the most successful business I ever had. I went from an idea to multiple six figures in under two weeks, I literally like went from an idea didn't have a website didn't have an LLC didn't have anything to getting a website created writing a white paper, forming an LLC, and closing a deal in a two week period of time. And people hear that and say, Whoa, how did you do that?
You know how I did that, by failing miserably in one of my earlier businesses learning so many things the hard way, and that multi six-figure deal, which sounds amazing. Well, it ended up happening to be just about the exact same amount of debt that I had from all of those mistakes that I had made in the prior business. And so while you're living the things that don't go well living through the things that you know, maybe you're not so excited about it is super helpful to recognize that those are amazing lessons. And those are frequently the things that actually help you accelerate your results. It's like slowing down to massively speed up. You had to have that learning. You had to have that thing that goes as well to recognize the shift and the change that you needed to make so that you can end up getting those results that you wanted So that's why I think you should both celebrate not only the things that went well and that you're really proud of but also those things that didn't go as well as expected because there are a lot of lessons to be learned from those experiences. So those are your first two questions. And again, those are your results-focused what you're celebrating questions. Now let's move into your alignment-based questions. And these relate to the things that you're going to be planning for the upcoming 90 days or a year in.
So the first one is, what do you want to continue or do more of in So this relates back to what went really well, right, if something's going really well, you're getting really good results, you're really enjoying something, then you're probably going to want to do more of it, you're going to want to continue doing it. So you're going to capture that. And again, if you think about alignment, and what you're planning, while these are things that frequently are in alignment with your financial results, your personal results, your fulfillment results, whatever those things are, that you're looking for, and they're things that you want to plan to do more of as you go forward. Now, on the flip side, there's what do you want to eliminate or lean out and do less of these frequencies are related to the things that didn't go as well as expected. So no surprise for my client, the thing that she wanted to let go of that she wanted to do less of was working so much, was investing her time on podcasts that weren't a good fit for her was spending a whole bunch of time on networking calls with people who are never going to be a good power partner for her. And so really getting clear on what's working and you want to keep and what's not working that you want to let go of, or you want to reimagine as you go into the next 90 day period. Right? So again, these questions seem simple, but truly take the time to reflect on them. Get out your sticky notes, get out your notebook, get out your Miro board, if you do it digitally, whatever tools you typically use for brainstorming that puts you in that open creative space.
That's what I highly recommend that you use, and take some time and reflect on these questions. So again, to summarize, right, if we look at my client, if we had just when I met with her simply looked at her numbers, we simply looked at the fact that you know, she made more in q1 than she didn't all of last year, we had simply looked at the amount she was able to grow her business in q1, we would have just done more of those things. And she would have ended up more overworked, more overwhelmed, and more unhappy, right. That's not what we want. So it's not just about what you achieved, in what you did. It's about how you got there. And it was really digging into that how in reimagining the how it got her those 10 plus hours back per week and allowed her to continue to grow her revenue, every single 90 days she met her exceeded her revenue for the prior 90 days. So it is absolutely possible, you just need to do the work to dig in and figure this out. So let's wrap up with a recap of those four questions one more time. If you didn't capture them already, get that pen out, get your notebook out, or come back to this you know, if you're out for a run right now, come back to this one here at your computer and write these down. What are you most proud of? And what really well? What lessons did you learn and didn't go as well as expected? What do you want to continue or do more of in what do you want to eliminate or lean out and do less of and I actually do have a free template for this? If you're a member of our private Facebook group, you'll find it under the guides tab. If you're not head over to lean out method.com/group And go ahead and join the group. And you'll find again, head over to the guides tab and you'll find a free download that you can use that does have those questions in it. And you'll find a whole lot of other amazing guides and resources there as well. Plus, you can join me live every single week for live training and interactive q&a. I hope you got a ton of value out of this episode. And that this helps you really set yourself up for success in reimagining success beyond just what you accomplish, but also how you get there. So you do have that sustainable success in your business. As always, if I can be of support to you in any way, please reach out. This is something that we dig deep into in the simplify to scale business accelerator and that I do with my private clients.
So if I can be of support to you in any way, just head over to lean out method COMM And you'll find all the ways to get in contact with me. I hope you have an absolutely amazing week. I will see you again next week. Thank you for joining me for another episode of the lean out your business podcast. I hope you got a lot of value and actionable insights from today's show. And we'd love it if you take a moment to leave us a review. If you have any questions about today's app. So we are on how to lean out your business. Join us over in our private Facebook community, where every week we do live training and q&a. And I'd love to have you be part of the conversation had to lean out method.com/group to join us. And before you go, be sure to subscribe to the show. So you're the first to know when we release a new episode. We'll see you next week.
by Crista Grasso
Crista Grasso is the go-to strategic planning expert for leading global businesses and online entrepreneurs when they want to scale. Known as the "Business Optimizer", Crista has the ability to quickly cut through noise and focus on optimizing the core things that will make the biggest impact to scale a business simply and sustainably. She specializes in helping businesses gain clarity on the most important things that will drive maximum value for their clients and maximum profits for their business. She is the creator of the Lean Out Method, 90 Day Lean Out Planner, and host of the Lean Out Your Business Podcast. She is also the founder and CVO of the Profitable Planner Co and Criscara Jewelry.