As a member of the Scaling Up community, a strategic coach, and a business owner of a growth-oriented mid-market company, I have had the pleasure of learning life lessons from some of the best leaders and entrepreneurs on the planet. I discuss one of my favorites below – and how I’ve used it to better my life outside of business.
If you haven’t guessed by now, I’m always striving to learn more – to identify and fill my gaps. Most recently I found myself a student of Shannon Susko’s lessons. Shannon is an entrepreneur, CEO, best-selling author, and business coach. Currently, I’m inspired by one of her books – 3HAG Way. I suggest you check it out if you haven’t already! In one of her lessons, Shannon asks leaders to visualize their marketplace in its totality as if it were a lake that they fish in, and then to ask themselves these questions:
- Who is in the lake with me?
- Who am I competing with?
- What are the key relationships that feed my lake?
- Who are my key suppliers that add value to my business?
- Where do my customers come from? What channels?
- What associations am I part of?
- Who is my customer?
The real value of the exercise is the thought processes it prompts leaders to navigate, and the epiphanies that come as a result. Are they over-dependent on one supplier? Is there someone who can help their business create more value? What relationships are hurting their business? Take a moment to ask yourself these same questions.
Who is in your personal pond?
This concept got me thinking past my business – did I know who was in my personal pond? My mentor taught me many years ago that it’s hard or impossible to achieve big, or even small things, alone. We can never be smart enough or have enough time and expertise to reach our full-potential by ourselves. We all need support systems. And I don’t just mean business owners – this lesson applies to any adult, or even teenager.
Building a personal pond means intentionally selecting the key relationships that will help you live your best life. Think of it this way. You could do your own taxes or you could sell your house by yourself – but if you have a network of people who can help, why would you do it alone?
Identifying who exactly will be in your personal pond comes down to determining what you need – and what you want. The key is to surround yourself with people who believe in what you’re doing and where you’re going. These need to be mutually beneficial relationships – if you want a lot, you need to be willing to give a lot.
For me, I have built a meaningful partnership with my accountant over the past 25 years. His financial expertise is equal only to his knowledge about me personally, my business, and my family – both good and bad. This partnership took work – but Ralph always returns my call. This is the same for my lawyer, real estate agent, insurance agent, banker, doctor, trainer, and even my handyman.
So, take a moment right now to think about the people in your personal pond. Write their names down. How do they help you get one step closer to closing your personal gap? The gap that exists between where you are and where you want to be. Do you feel comfortable calling on them for support? If not, how can you work to strengthen your relationships? In what ways can you support them? Your personal pond will be ever-evolving. People will come and go as your goals change as well as their own. This is ok. This is expected. But even though it is fluid, at any moment your pond should be full of connections you can count on and that can count on you.
Who do you have in your personal pond? How have they helped you reach your goals? How have you helped them? Reply and let me know!