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Making the Map By Walking

How to stand in uncertainty with more tenacity, steadfastness, and faith.

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Executive Leadership Coaching

Many entrepreneurs first engage with me because they’re stuck on a tough decision. Caught at a fork in the road, or most often many forks at once, the question inevitably arises, “What should I do?”

Who should I bring on as a General Manager? Where should I invest my marketing dollars? Is an expansion loan a good idea? Is it time to renew my lease or look for a bigger (or smaller) office? Should I seek a buyer for my company?

As an executive coach, I’m not in the business of telling people what to do. My work is focused on helping entrepreneurs step more boldly into these decisions for themselves. It’s been my experience that this is the most impactful approach long-term as no one knows your business better than you. At the same time, it’s not always clear when you’re in the thick of it what’s the best route to take.

I spent much of my youth in the back of our station wagon navigating family road trips with a large Rand McNally Road Atlas that took up half the seat. Even today, when I walk into an amusement park, the very first thing I do is grab a map. I love maps, yet all those maps were drawn by other people — mapping the roads they know and discovered for themselves.

Sometimes, we get to a place in our lives, and our businesses, where there is no map. And that’s a tough place to be, especially for us map lovers. I’ve been in that pit, myself, wrestling with the angst and pushing against my own coaches and mentors, “Can’t you just give me the answer!”

Unfortunately, there is no magic formula or three-step-process or ten-things-to-do that will spit out the right answer.

One the hardest truths to surrender into has been that in the most courageous and authentic journeys of our lives we can only make the map by walking it. Finding wise and trusted guides to walk along side me, instead of following someone else’s map, has been the key to my own leadership, business, and personal growth.

Each business and every entrepreneur I work with has a unique thumbprint, which means there is no magic formula or three-step-process or ten-things-to-do that will spit out the right answer. While this level of uncertainty can be unsettling, in coaching we focus on building the resilience to stand in these spaces of unknowing with more tenacity, steadfastness and, sometimes, faith.

This may mean working to gather meaningful metrics so we can gain a clearer picture of how your business is operating. Or, the development work might involve learning to engage with employees or peers in new ways that access perspectives from angles you can no longer see. Growth could also include increasing capacity to tune into, listen to, and trust your inner wisdom. And, sometimes the work is in simply building up the emotional courage to move and take action outside your comfort zone.

We all have our unique growth edges when it comes to decisions — both in making and executing on them. And these growth edges shift over time as contexts change and impacts become greater. I know this for sure… as an entrepreneur, the direction is not always clear. Building greater capacity to walk through your entrepreneurial journey with a map that unfolds only as you take each step will help you better navigate your business, even on your foggiest days.

When the way becomes unclear, where do you reach for support?


Originally published at https://www.trueformleadership.com on March 8, 2019.

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