03 Jul [Episode 02] The Journey of Success
Success is a journey of 2 paths. The inner path and the outer path. You must walk them both.
Every lead character who has ever gone on a quest has had to walk two paths. They’ve had to navigate the external world, with all its challenges, antagonists and conquests. They’ve also had to navigate their own internal landscape, conquering their demons, doubts and fears. They’ve had to grow as people to overcome the challenges that would have otherwise thwarted their progress in the external world.
The two paths intertwine with one another. Progressing on the outward journey will force you to overcome internal obstacles, while clearing away internal obstacles will enable you to handle the external challenges.
Think of any film or book you enjoy and you’ll see that, regardless of whether it’s a romantic comedy, tragedy or action film, the hero’s quest is one that always follows these two paths. Your story will similarly unfold.
Mastering life is a combination of working on the internal and external environments. In business terms, this is working on any internal limitation or block that prevents you from growing your business and successfully navigating the business terrain.
The Journey of Success
This series of posts on Levelling Up aims to give you the personal development, the entrepreneurial development and the business growth that you, the small business owner desire. We’re here to give you the inspiration, the motivation, and to challenge your aspirations to take you and your business to the next level. We’ll be looking at mindset, attitude, personal performance, and of course, business growth.
Extreme business growth requires both you and your business to evolve. The whole point of this series is to serve as a guide for ambitious small business owners who are looking for extreme growth in their business. To truly maximise potential, you need to make sure that you, the business owner, do not get in the way. Because of that you need to be continually levelling up your game so that you are not the limiting factor in your business’s overall performance.
Today we are looking at the journey of success. This has two paths, and as an ambitious business owner you are going to need to walk both of them. First of all, there’s the inner path. In other words, the inner challenges that you need to overcome. These might be your doubts and your fears. Or perhaps overcoming personal limitations in terms of your expectations or what you believe is possible for you, what you believe is right and wrong, greedy, what’s good or bad.
All these things that make us who we are – our personal traits, our beliefs and values – these things either align with what it is we’re trying to achieve or they contradict, and we need to make sure we continually overcome those inner challenges that we face on the path of extreme growth and on that journey of success. Also, of course, there’s the outer path.
The outer path is the one that has all the external challenges and obstacles. This could be in terms of how to sell your product in a tough economy, facing a challenging market with the competitors in your business. This could be in terms of your staff, your pricing, your product range – all of the challenges that we face as business owners in terms of developing and continually growing our business and moving it forward. There are lots of things internally that are going to challenge us too.
So, today, I want to introduce you to these two paths because you are already navigating them, you’re already walking them. This is about orientating you specifically to understand that you are walking them, and also to understand why it’s so important that you continue on the journey of success by continually walking these two paths. If you only walk one of them, you yourself might grow, the individual, the entrepreneur, but your business won’t. If you only walk the external pathway where you’re continually setting goals and doing the activity that you need to do, you, the business owner, will become the limiting factor in your business and you will hold it back. Therefore, we must walk both paths on that journey of success.
First of all, I need you to understand this. Every person has to navigate both of these paths. In fact, in every story that you have ever read or watched, every single one of them, the hero has to walk both of these paths. Let’s take Lord of the Rings as an example. If you haven’t seen the films just read the analogy to understand what it is that I’m referring to when I’m talking about these two paths and specifically ask yourself these questions:
• What are my paths?
• What are my challenges?
• Am I the hero of my own story?
• And what’s it going to take in order to achieve the extreme growth and the success that I want in life and my business?
Let’s start with the lead character. I often use Lord of the Rings because there are so many characters and each one of them is a main character. Consequently, if you take the three films all together, at a total of more than eleven hours, every single one of the main characters gets to be the hero of their own story, each one with their own journey of success with the inner and outer paths to walk.
Let’s take a look at Viggo Mortensen’s character, Strider. This character starts off as Strider and develops through the films, ultimately (spoiler alert) becoming the king. Now, if you’ve seen the films then you’re aware of the journey that he goes on. If you haven’t seen them, don’t worry, I’m going to take you through the salient parts right now.
When you first see Strider, he is cloaked. He’s in the shadows. You can’t see his eyes or his face. He’s hidden inside the hood. He’s literally and metaphorically hiding from the world. By the time you reach the end of the films, some eleven hours later, you see him in his robes, everybody else looking to him on bended knee, and he stands up strong and tall as he takes his place as king with the crown on his head. There are hours of film showing his personal journey, going from being in the shadows to king of all the humans and the challenges that he faces are many.
There’s a physical external path that he has to walk in order to get to his destination, his own success. This includes numerous challenges. He has to lead many battles. He has to face many foes. However, he also has to face his own inner demons and challenges. He resists the call to his own destiny. In other words, he’s meant to be the king, he’s the rightful king, but he refuses to accept that call. And all the way through the film he’s very humble, but he rejects that calling to be king, that calling to be the leader of men.
He has to confront those inner demons, those doubts in himself, what it means to step up, and at the same time continually fight the external foes and challenges, overcoming all the external obstacles. From the first moment you see him until the end, he’s on a quest, he’s on his own success journey and he’s walking both of those paths in parallel. Sometimes the biggest challenge comes in the external world, sometimes the biggest confrontation is inside himself. But ultimately, he’s consistently challenged externally and internally in order to triumph, to complete his personal journey.
Every main character in Lord of the Rings goes on a similar journey. Let’s take Frodo, the hobbit. Frodo is tasked early on in the film to take the Ring and destroy it in the fires of Mordor. Again, just to illustrate this point once more, throughout the film you’ll see Frodo go from absolutely not stepping up to the challenge, pushing back on the calling that is made of him by Gandalf the wizard, and rejecting the call to action, to eventually accepting the call. His quest starts first of all on the inner path.
The first part is really simple. He has to overcome himself in a similar way to Strider but his challenges are much greater at the beginning. His first challenge is to overcome his initial resistance to this incredibly challenging objective that’s been set for him. Then he goes on the adventure and very, very quickly he hits his first external obstacle. There’s a point in the film where they come to a crossroads, and Samwise Gamgee, his partner in crime throughout his mission and permanent companion throughout the whole of the three films, turns around and says, “This is the furthest that I’ve ever been from the Shire,” their home. They’re standing on this path and on one side is the known and on the other side is the unknown. And of course, this adventure, this challenge, is going to take them very quickly into the unknown. They’ve only travelled a really short distance from their home and they’re already into the unknown.
How does this relate to you and your business? If I were to say to you that, no matter where you are in your business, I want you to think about extreme growth – if you’re doing 50-60k, I want you to think 100K plus in the next 12 months or less; if you’re doing ¼ of a million, I want you to think ½ a million in the next 12 months – your initial reaction might be the same as it was for Frodo. Remember, he resisted, rejecting the challenge. You may then overcome that, saying, right, I’m going to step up to this. After that, you might act very quickly and find external resistance. Your business may not be in the right place to double, your product range might not be ready to double, you may have external challenges you need to overcome.
It may be that very soon you are looking back and saying this is the furthest I’ve ever been in my business. Then, you too are faced with stepping into the unknown. With Frodo, that’s really the beginning of his quest and the beginning for Samwise Gamgee and the other two hobbits that go with him. They cross that threshold and are into the unknown. They are also into the adventure. Very quickly they are threatened by the dark riders, facing almost certain death.
This is similar to the challenge which has you overcoming your inner blocks, your own limitations. You say, I will step up to this challenge, I’ll go for it. Very quickly the external world pushes back at you – resisting and challenging you – and this may be your first battle in the external world. It may also be your first battle in the internal world. You might start thinking that you’re not up to this, not good enough – your business isn’t good enough, your products aren’t good enough.
We could go on and on with examples from Lord of the Rings, every single one of them goes on their own journey. If you look at the half-elf, Arwen, who ends up in a relationship with Strider, she’s also confronted on her own inner and external path. Half-elves live for hundreds of years. While Strider also expects to live a very long life, he wouldn’t live anywhere near as long as Arwen and that confronts them with its own set of challenges. Arwen goes on adventures. You see her on horseback riding across plains, you see her life being threatened, and finally her journey takes her to the end where she does take Strider’s side and they have a baby. She’s made her decision, and that’s her success.
Arwen, played by Liv Tyler, had to make many sacrifices, overcoming many challenges inside herself. She also had to overcome many challenges externally in terms of her father’s opinion, for example, and the expectations of her fellow elf kind. Again, in your own business you’ll find similar themes. If you have taken your business to 50k, 60k, 100k, and now you want to double that, big extreme growth, you’re going to have your own internal challenges, you’re going to have the external challenges that the business will face in stepping up, but also you may find challenges from those around you. Your staff or the people that work alongside you may not be up for this challenge. You need to make sure, just like Frodo, that you’ve got the right people, the right companions on this journey for you.
You may have naysayers around you. You may have people questioning your decision, questioning your judgments. All these things are challenges that you need to overcome, both in the internal environment inside you and the external environment.
If you’re not into Lord of the Rings, another film that I like, also with many lead characters, is Love Actually. In Love Actually there are about seven different love interests. If you know the film, think about any of those lead characters and the journey that they go on, the challenges that they face. Whether it’s challenges to their marriage or to their social standing.
Hugh Grant plays the prime minister. You see him on the first day of taking office. That’s him crossing the threshold. He comes into Number 10 and that’s when he meets Natalie – he meets his love interest, played by Martine McCutcheon. Their individual adventures kick off in that moment, both of them facing these internal and external challenges, the inner and outer paths that they both have to walk to end up together in a relationship. Every single person in that film goes through something similar.
I want you to think about what the story of your journey is going to look like. What are the immediate inner challenges that you face when I say to you I want you to go for extreme growth and I challenge you to double or more in the next 12 months in your business? What are those inner demons that hold you back? Your doubts and your fears? Maybe your own personal judgments on what’s right, what’s wrong, what’s good, what’s bad? What do you need to overcome? What’s the immediate threshold that you need to cross or the internal path you need to take in order to be able to take the external one?
Next, you need to start thinking about the immediate external challenges. Can your business sustain two times growth? Can your product range sustain that? And your client base? How about your marketing list? Will these things enable you to double your business in the next 12 months? If not, these are the external obstacles or challenges that you need to overcome in order to achieve your own success.
Every journey has a hero at its centre. You are the hero of your own journey. You are the hero of your own story. As such, you are also going to need to walk both of these paths.
To help you walk the external path, you need to set goals. You need to have tangible clarity around where it is that you’re going. In the film, Frodo knows where he’s got to get to. There’s a map to take him from where he is now to Mordor, his destination. Of course, he can’t necessarily walk the exact route. Things happen which take him on different paths; he has to ask for help, for example, in order to navigate certain terrain. For your own business growth, you’ll also need assistance.
This series of posts is intended to be a roadmap of sorts. Whilst I’m not going to tell you exactly what to do or where you should go, it’s designed to challenge you and prompt your thinking in order to give you some external help to achieve the external growth that you want. We’ve walked that path ourselves with our Success Groups and Extreme Growth Mastermind. We’ve got business owners just like you going from 10 to 20K or from start-up to getting going. We’ve got business owners doing eight or nine million pounds in revenue. We’ve got a good track record of helping business owners navigate the challenging terrain, both the internal mindset of beliefs and limitations and the external terrain, what it is you need to be doing in order to continually maintain the momentum of extreme growth in your business.
Set the goals. Every single member of my Success Groups and Masterminds works through my 10-hour audio program on goal setting, taking around 20 hours to complete their own goal setting process. If you’re just setting hard and fast objectives you’re not going to achieve success. If you’re not clear where you’re going, you’re having to create the map whilst you’re driving the roads, constantly double-guessing yourself and trying to work out if you’re in the right place. What should you be doing? What’s your next move? And that constant questioning and challenging of yourself along the way really slows down your momentum and your progress.
First and foremost, you need to set absolutely kick-arse goals – clear goals to get you where you’re going. Even if you think you currently do goal setting well, in my experience many people do not do them properly, and they certainly don’t do them consistently. Every single member of my groups has to do that. We also have a whole goal-setting platform that we’ve created that everyone plugs their goals into to keep themselves on track and accountable.
The whole system is designed around walking these two paths, this analogy that I’ve shared with you here, in that all of my entrepreneurs are also going on their own quest and facing their own challenges. We help them do that through personal development, entrepreneurial development, looking at business skills and things that they can apply along the way in order to continue with their journey.
It’s also really useful to have a companion, just like the characters in these films. They often have a sidekick, someone to help them navigate the terrain, or at the very least to offer some light relief, ideally a mentor of sorts. Perhaps by sharing in this way I can be a mentor for you. You need to set your goals, have a mentor or companion, and then constantly look at your own personal development. Look at how you can be constantly evolving.
Don’t allow your personal limitations, the things that you’ve learned from past experiences or educations, to get in the way and limit you from being all you can be. Go out and achieve all you can for your business, creating the business that I believe you really can achieve.
If you want to know anything else about me – if you want to look into Success Groups or Bigger Brighter Bolder – go to biggerbrighterbolder.co.uk/trial. And, look out for the next post. I’m here to hold your hand, to be a companion and maybe a mentor for you on your own journey of success.
Don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast and find me on social media.
I’d love to connect with you.
Until next time, as always, be successful.
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