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The Quitting Fantasy

When is the last time you daydreamed about quitting your consulting business?

Giving up on the up-and-down rollercoaster of emotions that comes from putting out fires, addressing all of your client’s needs, and (somehow) finding time to take care of your own mental and physical well-being.

We call this the “Quitting Fantasy”… the moments where your brain goes, “What if I just burned it all down to the ground and walked away?”

These feelings usually come in the heat of a serious rut or downswing. They are actually a part of the entrepreneurial experience – aka, most (if not all) business owners think these thoughts at some point.

But what happens when the thoughts becoming all-consuming? When nothing at all in your business seems to be working… and that “Quitting Fantasy” starts to creep toward a “Quitting Reality?

Let’s talk through three mental frameworks that will help to stay on the horse when everything feels like it is trying to knock you off of it.

First – Words Have Power

The words we use when we talk about ourselves and our situations matter a great deal. They are training our mind to build either healthy or unhealthy perspectives about our reality.

And your perspective on reality is EVERYTHING.

In his book, “What to Say When Your Talk To Your Self,” Shad Helmstetter says this:

“The brain simply believes what you tell it most. And what you tell it about you, it will create. It has no choice.”

Your brain is constantly being trained by you to create thoughts that are in alignment with what you feed it. Feed it positive and empowered words and images, and it will create positive and empowered thoughts.

The opposite is also true.

If you tell your brain that you are failing and that nothing is working, it will take that and produce more thoughts that align with it.

Here’s a practical example of this. Inside the Wealthy Consultant, when a team misses are target that they’ve set, the team leaders are taught never to refer to it as failing, but rather to take a more empowering frame.

“Marketing failed to hit our 1,200 lead target for the month.”

This statement might be factually accurate, BUT it has unbelievably low utility. Here is a more empowered way of addressing this.

“Marketing made a plan at the start of the month for producing 1,200 leads. The plan didn’t perform as anticipated, but here is what we learned, and here is what we are prepared to do next month to help make up the difference.”

Notice that we’re not burying our head in the sand here, or pretending that we didn’t miss a target. However, we are not allowing our efforts to be categorized as a failure. Instead, we take responsibility, share learning lessons, and look AHEAD to the future from a frame of hope and empowerment.

When nothing in your business seems to be working, take special care of how you talk about what’s happening – both to yourself and to your team. Don’t sweep things under the carpet, but always maintain a frame of empowerment, not failure.

Second – Failure or Repositioning?

Businesses are all about seasonality.

Somehow, there has come about this unhealthy (and unrealistic) belief that every single business should be “up and to the right” every single month – or they are a failure.

Maybe it’s the business owners who lie and puff up their image on social media to appear as though they never have down months… but that’s a discussion for another day.

The bottom line is this. If you are in a season of growth and learning, where the profit margins feel small (or maybe non-existent) and you feel like you are struggling to just make it one more month… remember that it is a season.

This is especially true if you experience a little bit of success early on – because you inevitably find yourself chasing that one really good month. That month where everything felt possible. And any month where you aren’t matching that “high” feels like failure.

This is a lie you’re telling yourself.

There is a difference between failure and repositioning. Not every month can (or should) be a record month. If you are stumbling, it’s very possible that this season is meant to expose something that you need to address, or introduce you to a new approach that will form the basis of the next growth season in your business.

So calling it failure and deciding to give up rather than press on and find the learning lessons, would be a criminal act against yourself.

Instead, see the season for what it is – not what it feels like.

Third – Leave Breadcrumbs For Yourself

We teach a principle to our sales team members called “leaving breadcrumbs.”

When you have a good day, or a good week, or a good month, or a good quarter – any period of time where you feel at the very top of your game…

Take stock of how it feels, how it sounds, how it looks, and how it smells. Get as specific in your mind as you can. Then write it all down.

Save it somewhere that is easy to access. Some of our sales folks and clients keep a folder on their desktop.

Then, when you are feeling on the verge of giving up… when anxiety and self-doubt start to creep in and you feel like you’re ready to call it and throw in the towel…

OPEN THAT FOLDER… and start reading.

Allow what you’re reading to transport you back to that moment in the theater of your mind. (This is why getting specific – right down to the SMELLS you associate with that moment of victory – is critical.)

See, your mind can process your current situation through two different lenses – by comparing it to your past experiences, or projecting out to what it WILL be like in the future. Both are useful – but when you’re feeling in the depths of despair, sometimes the easiest point of references for re-centering yourself is to remind your brain of past victories.

This is a nerdy ass reference – but in the Lord of the Rings The Two Towers, when King Theoden is coming out of his brain fog, Gandalf tells him, “Your hand would remember its old strength better if it held your sword.”

The sword was a totem of sorts – a reminder of past days of glory. A re-centering mechanism.

Breadcrumbs are the same thing. A reminder of past success that helps your mind paint a more complete picture of your current circumstances.

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