As a child of the 80’s, nothing was more exciting than going to the local roller rink with my friends on a Saturday night. We loved to skate around and around while watching music videos on the giant projection screen, playing Donkey Kong in the Arcade, and buying candy and soda from the snack bar. Eventually my family moved away from our small town. I grew up, and my interest in roller skating faded.
Decades have passed since then. When my kids were invested to a roller skating birthday party, I was excited to take them and reminisce about my childhood experiences. As an adult, it’s interesting to be the observer of the chaos of roller skating. Not much had changed in the set up of the Roller Rink. There were still arcade games, the snack bar, and the brightly colored carpet.
And there were still the same kids doing mostly the same things.
There were the older kids who were roller skating experts and could easily skate forwards and backwards.
The kids who had figured it out and were zooming around the rink with their friends.
There were a new group of kids who were using plastic wheeled walkers to help them stay up right and keep their balance.
As always, there were the beginners who were desperately clinging to carpeted walls trying their best to not fall. They were fiercely determined to figure out how to skate.
Then I noticed a different group of kids. Ones that I hadn’t noticed or paid attention to when I was young. They were the kids who were sitting on the benches playing on their phones.
These were kids who came to a roller rink presumably to have fun with friends and ended up playing video games on the side instead.
That’s when it hit me: roller skating is a lot like being an entrepreneur.
The scene playing out before me represents something that happens to so many online entrepreneurs. They decide they want to start a business. They have an idea that lights them up and ignites their passion. Entrepreneurs are smart, they don’t know everything so they find an expert to help them. Maybe they take a course or sign up for a membership.. Then they show up to the rink, put on the skates, walk over to the edge of the rink, and suddenly they decide that they don’t know enough about skating and maybe these skates are the wrong brand and maybe if they spend a little more time skating on carpet then they’ll be ready.
What happens is that they lose their nerve when it comes time to step out. Or they take a few timid steps on the slippery floor, fall down, then pull themselves along the carpeted wall to the nearest exit where they find a nice carpeted bench to take a break.
Some of those entrepreneurs will spend the rest of their evening sitting comfortably next to the lockers. They’ll find youtube videos to teach them how to skate. Or they’ll research the best roller skates for beginners. They’ll keep busy and feel productive, but at the end of the evening, they will be no closer to gliding across the lacquered floor than they were when they arrived.
That’s because achieving goals requires two things:
Taking action that creates results
Being willing to feel uncomfortable and uncertain for as long as it takes
This isn’t just for new entrepreneurs. Established entrepreneurs will go through this exact same process when it’s time for them to grow and expand. They’ll experience this when they decide to hire their first team member. Or develop a new product. Or discontinue a high selling offer to focus entirely on a new totally different one.
Entrepreneurship is a growing experience on a personal and professional level.
You’re going to feel discomfort each time you step into the next best version of yourself. And each time you take your business to the next level.
This is exactly how I felt when I decided to make launching a podcast my 30 day goal. It felt scary. It was an exercise in perpetual discomfort. I had no idea what I was doing which meant that I had to make a lot of decisions with little or no information. I had to find and select my intro music in less than an hour. I budgeted 1 hour to design my podcast cover. I had to do a lot of things that I had never done before using tools that were not perfectly suited for the job. My microphone is my coaching mic. My recording studio is my bedroom closet. Then I had to learn how to record and edit using a software that was totally new to me. I recorded the Trailer and First Episode so many times before I was forced to stop because time was running out. Finally there’s the logistics of actually getting a podcast on platforms for people to consume it. I very easily could have stretched out this goal for weeks, working hours a day. All of this is to say that even as a goals and accountability coach I struggled to constrain myself to taking consistent action that only led to the results I wanted to create, which was a launched podcast in 30 days working an average of 1 hour a day. I mentioned before that I spent the other 23 hours coaching myself around the discomfort of this process. And it’s completely true. I was uncomfortable the whole time. But, here’s the thing, it worked. I took consistent and persistent action and I reached my goal.
That’s why our ability to feel discomfort and take intentional action anyway is directly tied to our ability to achieve the results we want.
Success in business is like couples skate at the roller rink. Except instead of the cute boy in the Vans shirt helping you glide across the floor, it’s the shifty kid with the sweaty hands who skates by taking hobbly steps the whole time. You can focus on the discomfort or you can focus on the fact that you’re one of the brave souls out on the floor.
The real question is, what’s keeping you from getting out onto the rink? What discomfort is holding you back?
Is it the discomfort of learning to skate in front of everyone? Is it the pain of falling down? Is it that you believe that you have so much to do on the sidelines before you can take that first step?
Whatever it is, I invite you to be honest with yourself. Ask, What is my reason? Then do a self-check and ask yourself, “Do I love my reason?”
At the end of the day, business is all about comparing reasons. And deciding which reasons you love enough to strap on your skates, overcome discomfort and step into the rink. I hope you’ll join me out here. They’re going to play the hokey pokey soon and you won’t want to miss it.
Danielle's message is spot on with achieving goals. Not only does she practice what she preaches, but she's your guide to help YOU achieve the best version of yourself! A must listen!
Grow a biz & feel good! Danielle is really skilled at bringing both the actionable steps plus the mindset work so we can feel good as we grow our businesses while being present for our families. I look forward to listening every week!