The first morning routine you complete as a CEO is different than any other morning you've had before. Emotions are swirling, decisions are endless, and there is no one to tell you how long you should take to sip that cup of coffee but you. Ahhhh.... but AHHHHH!!!!
From our perspective, that first morning offers key insights into your future CEO habits.
If you've been offering lifestyle or business start-up coaching services for a while than you've heard a wide range of personal stories on why people chose to step out on their own. Your clients may have been motivated to start their own business to rediscover their authentic self again or to generate more financial freedom or to no longer be defined as "just" an employee or a stay-at-home-mom or a student. While everyone's motivation to make that big leap may be different, how they approach the first day they are 100% responsible for getting their big idea out in the world and generating their own income tells a critical story about their habits.
Do they post that cup of coffee from their home office on social media?
Do they attend a free breakfast networking event?
Do they send direct emails to prospects?
Do they time block their calendar?
Do they meditate?
Do they write down goals for the day, week, or month?
Do they start the laundry?
There are no right or wrong answers and that can be incredibly overwhelming.
If you're a coach for anyone getting over their fears of launching a side-hustle or getting their feet planted in through those first few months as an entrepreneur, than you know all too well about the emotional rollercoaster ride in the early stages of living life as a CEO. You've likely shared your lessons learned and given them a step-by-step roadmap to securing clients yet every week during a check-in over Voxer, they describe how excited yet frazzled they feel. They are so grateful to have the independence to make their own schedule yet they never anticipated how distracted they would be.
First, let's remind clients that they are among good company. Good news is almost all small business CEOs and first generation entrepreneurs have been there. These feelings are not an indicator that you don't possess the skills or qualities of a six-figure business owner - you just might not have locked in the right habits YET.
Time to turn this around before they throw in the towel and give up on their life goals.
Are any of these conversations with your clients during a check-in sound familiar?
Sign #1 No CEO schedule: Every day looks different. When they describe how the day has been so far they talk about how they're struggling because they're jumping between sending a prospect email and answering the doorbell. They full acknowledge they can't seem to find the ability to focus on the next step in securing the 3rd client they set as their monthly goal.
Sign #2 No tracking of targets: They are not using any spreadsheet or list to give them a visual indicator of how close their are to achieving their goal. When you ask them about what their monthly goals are and they are not able to share any target numbers... RED FLAG! While they may be still unclear on which key performance indicators to track (ie sales over social media posts), if they are not tracking anything at all than they are headed toward trouble.
Sign #3 No decision-rules to determine priorities: One of the reasons that people choose to be a CEO is because they desire the flexibility to put the business down when a child gets sick or they just need some mental health space. But if your client doesn't have a predetermined path on what to do when they need to make impromptu choices, then the overwhelm is more likely to surface when they come back to the business again. If you're trying to coach them through future real world scenarios and they are not able to articulate how they will manage when X happens, they will do Y it's a sign they have not thought threw how to create decision-rules for running their business.
Again let's shift our focus to the good news.
Helping your clients discover the habits that best align with their life is a journey - not a destination. Every entrepreneur could improve on their habits. None of us are 100% on point 365 days a year in all aspects of our life. Even authors of highly successfully books about habits have personal testimonials about where and how they can improve their own habits.
So as their coach, you have options. You could continue to offer motivation and words of wisdom within the program parameters you've both already agreed to. No shame in you having boundaries around your coaching services. You could also suggest they talk with another entrepreneur in your coaching program to informally share lessons learned and empathize with the struggles your client is having. Sometimes feeling heard and receiving validation is all someone needs.
You also welcome to send your clients the link to our Focus on 3 planner pages free download. Not only do we offer tips for how to block time in any planner or journal, we also give free planner pages to practice habitizing your daily and weekly priorities and accelerate habit formation using the Focus on 3 system.
But if want to be extra proactive and help your client spark a mindset shift quickly, here are tiers of support you could offer to help them build better CEO habits in the next 30 days?
Send them a hardcopy book or a free Audable download of one of the top selling books about habits. They will need to do the work to make the mindset shift independently but sometimes a fresh voice is just what someone needs for the lightbulb moment to happen.
Book a 45 min CEO schedule session with them to help them map out daily, weekly, and monthly priorities. Share with your client how your CEO schedule looks and then help them set up a CEO schedule of their own to try for a minimum of 60 days.
Bonus them a Habit Audit 90 min accelerator phone session with me. I will walk them through key elements of habitizing their business such as setting up time boundaries, establishing decision-rules, and putting habit tracking tools in place so they see where they did accomplish every day (compared to what they did not).
Not sure if your client is struggling with their habits as a result of their own lack of personal structure or if your program services are missing a component about habits? Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and let's have a conversation!