Do you have a system for success?  Whatever business you’re in, it’s always best to follow what works before you start making your own way. But going WITH the grain could be killing your business.

You’ve likely heard these phrases:

No need to reinvent the wheel.

Mentorship is the quickest road to success.

If you want what they have, you must do what they do.

The reality is that none of us have a clue how to succeed at something we’ve never done! As Blake Mycoskie, Founder of TOMS Shoes says: Every path is easier to follow when you see someone else’s footprints already on it.

blakemycoskiequoteAll great advice. Then what? What if you duplicate perfectly, and realize that you’re stuck behind your teachers? Not growing and learning? You don’t like or respect something they’re doing? You could be MORE.

You have two options:

A)    Stay the status quo and hope that something changes
B)    Amp up or blow up the system with new insights and leadership

What?! Now this may be an unpopular though honest statement: When you really need to make your own groove, going with the grain can paralyze you and your business! Even for businesses that are built on a system of “the best copycat wins”.

I believe that sometimes, you’ve got to go against the grain to find your groove. There are a few solid reasons to step out of the line and make your own path…and it’s what entrepreneurs are made of.

How to tell if going with the grain is killing your business

  1. You feel inauthentic or unethical following the system
  2. The system hasn’t kept pace with industry trends
  3. The leadership is no longer serving you

Inauthentic or Unethical Business Practices

If there is anything unethical about what you’ve been taught to do, such as falsifying information, breaking company policies, making or accepting offensive comments in business meetings, it’s time to find someone else to follow. You can’t blame a system that works. But it’s got to be in line with your core values or you will feel awful doing it! I’m not talking about discomfort of learning something new; it’s when you just don’t feel good about the creepy business side of yourself.

Solution: I highly recommend using the Core Values Assessment from The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy , to figure out what qualities and values matter most to you. You’ll be able to clearly see WHY the business method is bothering you, and what’s missing to make it a good fit. Super helpful tool! For example, if one of your core values is “respect”, and you or teammates are feeling disrespected, you’ll never be at ease. Implement YOUR core values in everything you do, and that authenticity will improve your results.

Outdated or Inflexible System

Is your business growing with the trends? Do you use modern technology to connect people with what you offer? It can be as simple as using social media or internet marketing to get more leads, communicate with clients, host meetings, provide training and offer more value. In fact, if you’re NOT doing these things online, your business is not maximized and your system needs an update.

Solution: Great news: In most cases, just an update to the tools you use for business conversations will dramatically increase your success rate. If you’re not sure where to start, choose ONE medium and ONE tool to get competent with (e.g. social media with Instagram). Think of any online tool as an extension of an in-person conversation, and find leaders in your field who are using that medium/tool to accomplish your same goals. Follow them intently, grab hold of their free or paid training, and dig that groove!

Lagging Leadership

Success coach, speaker and author John C. Maxwell says, ““We cannot become what we need by remaining what we are.” Whether you have a boss, sponsor, or some other title leading the way, there comes a time when you outgrow them. They’ve simply reached the end of what they know how to teach you, and it’s time to find a new teacher.  This will happen to you too! Mr. Maxwell teaches “The Law of the Lid”: Your business can only grow to the level of your leadership (see The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership: Follow Them and People Will Follow You (10th Anniversary Edition)for the full details)

Solution: If you’ve outgrown your leader, you owe it to yourself to get in a new groove! In fact, you cannot become a leader until you do! Great leaders are everywhere. Whatever direction you choose to grow in, find someone who’s further along that path and connect with them. Many of my most trusted mentors are people I’ve never met in person but learn from daily via books, websites, webinars, coaching calls, podcasts and more.

So if everything’s working for you, GREAT! Don’t change a thing. If you just don’t like following smart people who’ve gone before you, it’s not a great idea to jump ship and try to be different. BUT if you’ve given it all you’ve got and identify with any of the 3 signs that going with the grain is killing your business, congratulations on seeking alternatives by reading this unpopular post! My goal is to help you find the leaders, training and tools that take YOU to the next level.

If you got value from this today, please like, comment and share with your teams. I’d love to hear how this is helping you make a solid groove on your own path! For help finding training, leaders or tools,  connect with me here and I’ll get right back to you!

Your partner in success, Jewel

Photo: These are my new little t-shirt like shoes, standing on the Santa Monica Pier 2 weeks ago…with this post in mind. Fun!

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