What a Tibetan Buddhist Nun Can Teach Us About Business Growth
No successful business owner grows a business without failing — a lot.
It takes a specific type of skill set to weather the inevitable ups and downs of growth with a certain amount of ease and grace (or teetering emotional balance at the very least!)
There isn’t a class or course in business school where a professor sits you down and says,
“Know this: if you want to grow a successful business, you have to control the voices in your head, master your emotional resilience, and overcome squirrels and other distractions that will take your focus away from the object of the exercise, which is to grow the darn thing so you can make an impact and change people’s lives.”
Said no-one, ever.
Instead, business growth (for many people) becomes this ever-morphing object of tremendous lust and desire on a good day and utter fear and hatred on a bad one.
The proverbial emotional pendulum that comes with the day-to-day reality of business operations swings back and forth, from one extreme to the other, almost uncontrollably.
According to Pema Chodron, Tibetan Buddhist nun, and author of countless books, including; How to Meditate, if we want the blessing of stability, or emotional benefits, the key is to maintain a simple attitude.
And that’s the attitude of “keep coming back.”
While some people feed off the drama that comes with emotional instability, other people find this way of being in the world stressful, and generally unpleasant.
Some people face burnout, broken relationships, and an existential crisis if their emotional world is left unchecked for too long.
And what spills out from our emotional body distresses our physical body, impacting how we show up and directly influences our results.
In the ten years that I worked for growth stage start-ups, I was responsible for leading marketing teams to support salespeople to drive revenue. In one particular company, we became one of the fastest-growing start-ups named by Profit 100 Magazine. We grew an 8-figure company in 5 years with a small amount of capital (and no outside investment). We survived the dot com bubble, the SARS outbreak, the 9/11 attack on the world trade center, and fierce competition.
One of the lessons I learned during that time in my life was that an average, lean company with a small team could grow a business quickly and become number one in their niche, despite what goes on externally.
How did we do it?
> We focused on the right things, and when we got distracted and pulled off course — we kept coming back.
> We had a strategy that we followed, and when the squirrels showed up with new ideas that didn’t line up to the plan — we kept coming back.
> We had confidence in our mission, and we dared to move forward with conviction, and when 9/11 decimated our primary industry — we came back.
It doesn’t matter what is going on around you. What matters is what’s going on inside of you (the leader) and inside your business.
Our mind can take us to the most outrageous places. Learning how to keep coming back to the present moment, we can more easily tap into the natural quality of the mind; clear, awake, alert, and knowing.
The more you train in being present, the more precise and refreshed the mind becomes — which is a required skill to better weather all of the problems and pains of business growth.