Something has felt off for you, and you can’t really put your finger on it. You thought you were super aligned with your business, but you woke up one day and realized things felt completely off! What the heck?! What do you do to get things back on track?
Alignment has such close ties to both my personal and business lives. It is something I strive for every day, because I know how important it is for the years to come and for avoiding burnout! I know how easy it is to feel like you’ve fallen off track, so today I wanted to share my 5 step alignment process with you, so that if you’re feeling a little lost today, you can help yourself find your way back!
In this first step, we will talk about how important it is that you make your own choices in your business, based on what your vision, values, and goals are. But first, you need to decide what those values and goals are! In order to know where you’re going, you should first have a point you are headed towards. Do you have a specific goal or vision for your business? If not, now is the time to decide on one!
Deciding on your goals and values from day one will give you the points to which you can measure your alignment. (It also helps to know what you don’t want, so those things can be avoided, too!)
Another example of something you will need to decide in order to find alignment in your business are the services you offer! While it may be helpful to get feedback or input from others, the key to an aligned business is aligning it to YOU, not what someone else wants you to do. Just because other VA’s offer tech and systems assistance, doesn’t mean you have to if that isn’t the kind of work you are good at or that you enjoy.
Remember, you are the “decider” or “decision-maker” here. In addition to all the other titles you carry as a business owner, don’t forget this very important one. Other things you get to decide are: your working hours, who you work with, what work you do, how much you get paid, what new packages you will offer, and so many other things.
Decision-making is such an important part of alignment because, in order to be and remain in alignment, action is necessary!
Taking time regularly to reflect on how things are going in your business and in your life is a very crucial step to making sure you are staying aligned with your business.
What was your mission when you started? Does it still ring true for you today? It is entirely possible that your mission will evolve over time, which is why it is so important to ask yourself these kinds of questions regularly. If all of your actions are trying to get you to a point that you don’t really want to reach anymore, you’re going to end up feeling lost and out of alignment.
The next question to ask yourself is, what feels good and what doesn’t? This could apply to any part of your business! Think about your: working hours, tasks, clients, systems, marketing tactics, etc. It is a really good idea to record the feelings that come up somewhere, in a journal, a note, or a Google doc, so you can see over time, which feelings and topics pop up the most together!
Finally, a somewhat related but definitely different question to ask yourself is, what is truly working well, and what is not? And by all means, if something falls into the category of “not working well” AND “doesn’t feel good”, please immediately write it down and address it as soon as possible to help you to avoid inevitable burnout!
Being selective in the people you allow into your business’s world takes courage, confidence, and faith, but it is such a worthwhile muscle to build. Don’t get me wrong! Being selective in this sense isn’t like a clique at high school or something like that.
Carefully selecting the people who interact with and within your business will make sure that the atmosphere of your business is something that feels good and stays in alignment with the mission of your business.
I know that when you’re first starting out or when you’ve had a slow month, it can be really tempting to take on any new client who comes your way, but I really encourage you to feel out whether this person is a good fit for you, or maybe… not so much. Hey, you didn’t start your own business just to continue working with people who don’t value your work or who want to become your boss!
Being selective also comes into play when you are expanding your business and creating your team. In both of these instances, knowing your values and goals plays a huge role! Having these key things in mind while hiring new people will help to ensure the person you choose to join you on your journey will be an aligned fit for your business as it continues to grow. Before chatting with anyone, write down your deal-breakers, the characteristics or skills you’d like for them to have, and the values you’re looking for in them.
Coming up with these ahead of time will help make the process infinitely easier for you!
Okay, okay. I know we have just been talking about how “action” is required to stay in alignment, and I fully mean that. But what I want to clarify, is that these actions should be mindful, strategic, and in alignment with your values and long-term vision. Action for the sake of action could be knocking you out of alignment!
Shiny object syndrome is a trap that each and every one of us falls into at one point or another!
Living in a world where we are almost constantly exposed to a variety of opinions, lifestyles, and even now in online entrepreneurship, business types! If you haven’t heard that term before, let’s see if this sounds familiar to you:
Let’s say our friend Amy is scrolling through Instagram one day, and she scrolls past another online business owner who has just announced that in addition to social media management, she is now also offering scented candles that are branded to her clients’ businesses.
“Candles?! I LOVE candles! And I bet my clients also love candles! I’m going to make candles, too.” *Spends the next two days doing nothing other than looking up how to make candles, without much thought as to how that would actually fit into her business or if that’s something her clients would be even remotely interested in, seeing as she usually takes care of their scheduling, emails, and automations.*
While it is totally a possibility that her clients may like candles, Amy didn’t really check to see where selling candles aligned with the direction of her business, or at least if it aligned enough to add it as a small, new service. There’s nothing wrong with adding candles to your offers (literally and metaphorically speaking😉), just make sure that whatever it is, is aligned with your business as a whole before going full force on it!
Another point where I want you to show some resistance is when it comes to others’ opinions.
Friends, family, coaches, and other biz owners may have only the best intentions when they are giving advice, but at the end of the day, the most important opinion (when making decisions for your business) is yours.
Resist the urge to give in to pressure to run your business a certain way. As we talked about in a previous post, you and your business are so intertwined in one another! To make sure your business continues to feel aligned, it is okay to listen to the advice of others (when you ask for it, of course!), but at the end of the day, make sure you are still the one calling the shots.
The last thing you want is to wake up one day and not recognize your own business, because you’ve been allowing someone else to decide on its direction!
The final step of this alignment process has its feet set in the present, with its mind on the future!
It is important to be mindful about choosing new services or directions for your business, but it is also important to allow yourself to make those decisions when they feel aligned.
If you’ve come to this post because you’ve been feeling out of alignment, you may have not been allowing yourself to really grow and make aligned changes. So, how do you know if the next step you envision is in alignment with you or not? Come back to this process I’ve outlined for you in this post!
Decide what you want the next step to look like, reflect on your values and see how it matches up, combine “select” and “resist” by asking yourself if this new step is something you want, or if it’s something someone else may want. And if at the end of that process, it still feels like the right thing to do, then you have your answer!
Part of growth is taking a step into the unknown. Not every aligned decision will give you the most perfect results, but it will be getting you at least one step closer to your bigger vision! Versus, when you make growth decisions that aren’t aligned, (ie. you feel like you should do something, but it doesn’t actually feel good at all) instead of taking one step forward, you move two steps back.
There is no set amount of times you should make changes in order to grow in your business. You can make changes as often as you need to, as long as each feels in alignment for you! At certain times in my business, I make a ton of tweaks, and at other times, really none at all! It is all about finding a balance that works for you.
Keep in mind, that some growth decisions will be small, and some will be big. Just because something feels aligned, doesn’t mean it won’t also be a little scary sometimes! Have courage, trust yourself, and know that at the end of the day, you will always know what’s best for your business.
Alignment is such a fun balance of action and reflection! If you came here because your business has been feeling out of alignment for you, don’t worry, you are definitely not alone! Alignment is not a one-size-fits-all or a single destination! It is something that each and every one of us works to find balance in, pretty much all the time. It is made up of the smallest choices, like when you start work each day, and big choices, like investing in a team.
Each decision matters and each aligned choice contributes to the health of the whole! The next time you feel stuck or out of alignment, just repeat these 5 steps! You’ve got this!!