I've noticed a consistent theme that keeps cropping up in the past couple of months. Whether it's from fellow presenters in the online event I've been participating in, or from random posts that appear on my radar. It's clear that, as business owners, most of us go through a very similar trajectory.
I geek out on this type of stuff, so I decided to dig a little deeper.
Turns out, there is this well-known thing called The Emotional Cycle of Change. And I know you're going to be nodding your head as you read through the stages.
Stage 1 - Uninformed Optimism
This is the "you don't know what you don't know" phase. You can imagine success, but you're unaware of the challenges you could be facing.
You have a great business idea. You're full of enthusiasm and positive energy about what's possible. You imagine all the benefits and perceived outcomes that you can achieve. You have yet to experience setbacks.
This is when you're the most motivated to make change happen. You're busy thinking up business names, sketching out your amazing offers, planning out what goes on your website and anticipating the gazillion followers you're going to gain in 3 months.
Stage 2 - Informed Pessimism
Reality kicks in as you start to create that business. Now you realise it's not as easy as it looks. Your initial optimism is replaced by negative thinking and how impossible it is to achieve your dreams.
This is when you start to question if you have what it takes, and whether all the effort is worth it.
Stage 3 - Valley of Despair
This is the hardest, but essential, stage. It's also a very interesting stage because it explains the "jumping from one thing to another" behaviour, as you start to rationalise things by thinking:
- "Oh, I've picked the wrong niche! I'll just pick something else."
- "Oh, I'll just make more Instagram Stories, or try TikTok."
- "If I do X instead of Y, it's definitely going to work."
Trying something new takes you back to the exciting Stage 1. And if you're like most people, you go through the initial 3 stages, again and again, round and round. (I was stuck in this very place for a long time, until my coach helped me escape the hamster wheel.)
The danger is that you give up right before things get better. Most people quit rather than push through.
Stage 4 - Informed Optimism
Congratulations! You manage to get out of the valley of despair and back in the positive zone. This time, your optimism is based on knowing what hard work needs to be done. You recognise that you're capable and willing to do the work.
You look at your challenges with more experienced eyes. Your actions are starting to bear fruit and you feel like the hard work is worth all the effort.
Don't stop now because success is just around the corner.
Stage 5 - Success and Fulfillment!
It is time to reap the rewards! Your confidence is high and each action you take adds to this confidence. The benefits of your hard work is fully experienced and it has all all worth it.
Have you been nodding your head? Did you get a few AHA moments?
If you recognise yourself as being stuck in the first 3 stages, check out UNLIMITED Business Coaching to find out how I can help you move towards stages 4 & 5.