Many years ago when I first got introduced to the world of personal development I trained with a mentor who used to say
“Successful people don’t stop having problems. They just have better quality problems”
What he meant was that life and business are never going to be easy and smooth and we are always going to have problems. But the more success you’ve created (whatever that means to you), and the further along the path to your dreams you get, the better “quality” your problems will be.
So you lost a client because all three of your children had chicken-pox at the same time and you let your work slip.
That’s a much better “quality” problem than being desperate to have a child and despairing whether it will ever happen.
Or you ran a webinar and it bombed – not a single person responded to your offer.
That’s a much better “quality” problem than being so afraid of visibility that the idea of doing a webinar feels like a distant dream that is only for “other people”
Or you’ve got no clients and you don’t know where the next one is coming from.
But hey, you wouldn’t have this problem if you hadn’t got really passionate about something and decided to turn it into a business. If you’d stayed safe in the job doing the “same old, same old” this simply would never have been a problem.
You see – you still have problems – but now you have better quality problems!
Take my client Louise for example:
It was a conversation with Louise (name changed) that inspired this post. She came to one of our mentoring calls the other day with a Really Big Problem. The sales person she had recruited and trained wasn’t working out. He had an attitude problem, was undermining her and wasn’t bringing in the results she hoped for despite his 15 years experience. This was costing her money, and also emotional energy as she grappled with the decision about whether to let him go.
She came to the call very despairing and beating herself up for having “made a mistake” in taking this person on. But I thought this was fantastic!
You see I could clearly remember where she’d been the first time we spoke, less than a year ago. At that time she had no clients, a huge amount of self-doubt and was questioning whether this was even the right business for her. She had realised that not being able to sell was the missing piece standing in the way of her winning business but she was terrified. During our consultation call (aka sales conversation) she was in tears as she told me she didn’t believe she could ever learn to sell and therefore could never make her business work.
Fast forward a year, and here she is a force to be reckoned with. Not only does she love sales but she’s pretty darned good at it. So much so that she’s won so much new business it no longer makes sense for her to do the business development – hence the new sales person. So she’d gone out and advertised, interviewed, hired and trained this guy in how to sell her particular products and services.
So her sales person not working out? Yes, that’s a problem I don’t deny it. It’s costing her money, peace of mind and lost clients.
But compared to having no clients at all and being distraught at prospect of ever being able to sell?
Well, it’s a completely different level of problem isn’t it?
So what did we do on that call? We took time to celebrate!
We celebrated her having got her business to the place where she even needed to hire a sales person. We celebrated her having become the sort of business woman who is bold enough to go out and interview, hire and train new team members, with no guarantee of the outcome. And most of all we celebrated her having got so good at sales that even someone with 15 years experience couldn’t match her results.
And it got me thinking…. It’s not just Louise. It’s all of us.
Here are a few problems I’ve faced in the last couple of years alone:
- Bullying from a team member that caused me to lose so much confidence I dreaded turning up to work every day
- The venue for my annual live event telling me with only a few weeks to go that they’d double-booked and so I could no longer have the room
- A Facebook Ads agency who merrily consumed £4,000 of my money and left me with practically nothing to show for it.
- Bold investments in people and systems designed to support the business to grow that didn’t do what they were intended to and left me with cashflow problems instead of growth
- Every single tag (if you know Infusionsoft you’ll know that these are very important!) getting deleted from my email and marketing system right in the middle of my annual launch – which could have cost me most of my sales for the year
Now, I’m not going to pretend that when these things happened I cracked open the champagne every evening to celebrate! Because like everyone else when I’m stuck in a problem I’m stuck in a problem and it can be all consuming.
But would I swap problems of this quality from the problems I used to have?
Long-term chronic illness, a deep sense of my life lacking meaning and purpose, an idea of a business but no idea how to make it work to be financially viable, money pouring out on training courses with no sign of any coming back in, a lack of self-belief so crippling that even if I’d known what to do I probably wouldn’t have done it.
Because I only had these problems at this magnitude because I had a business that was “working” at a level that allowed me to hire team members and consultants and invest in systems. I had clients who loved me and referred people enthusiastically, programmes that add genuine value and I know how to sell, and a growing reputation for doing business with integrity.
So while given a choice I’d rather not have any problems at all (who wouldn’t?) I far prefer the quality of problems I have today to the ones I had just 5 years ago.
What about you?
What problems are you struggling with today that are actually symptoms of your success? That you simply wouldn’t have if you hadn’t shown great courage, grown as a person or achieved a dream?
What problem will you Celebrate today because it’s a sign of just how far you’ve come?
Pat yourself on the back and then post in the comments to let me know – I’d love to hear!
With much love