Next Level Thinking [NLT] was a concept I have had running around my head for a while now, at least 2 years, and it all came about from a chance conversation with a client who had reached his ‘ceiling’. He had got to a stage where he couldn’t seem to take the business to the next level.

This happens to the best of us and to be honest it happened to me around 2009, no matter what I did I just couldn’t seem to get to that next level.

My client was now in the same boat as I had been in 2009.

I suppose the good thing for him was I had been through it and I could at least give him the benefit of my experience. I wanted to help him start to see where he could make changes to his thinking, because that’s what was holding him back from reaching the next level.

Before we get started I just want to say that what follows is what has helped me and it has helped numerous clients over the years to view their business differently and more importantly to help take it forward with more confidence and assurity than ever before.

One of the things that holds us back the most is our ego, plain and simple. When we are in business we do get into the habit of thinking we know it all, when in fact we know very little.

In his book ‘Ego is the Enemy’ Ryan Holiday states very clearly that not only did his ego hold him back it very nearly killed him.

“I was wound so tight that the slightest disruption sent me into a spluttering, inconsolable rage. My work, which had always come easy, became laboured. My faith in myself and other people collapsed. My quality of life did too.”@RyanHoliday

Ego can make or break the best of us and it can be the biggest factor in holding you back from Next Level Thinking (#NLT)

If you think you can do it all then you really are doomed to failure. Everyone needs someone and a great friend of mine Les Dossey is a great exponent of what I term NLT.

Les sees things before most and acts upon it. He helps entrepreneurs really find themselves, I know, it all sounds a bit warm and fuzzy but knowing your mind is the biggest step to NLT because this is what holds you back from taking the next step.

“Learn DO Grow 10X is an innovative coaching and growth program for successful, ambitious entrepreneurs who want to expand their freedom and grow their future 10X” Les Dossey

I urge you to check Les out over on Facebook, you’ll thank me.

Let’s get back to just why most business owners and entrepreneurs fail to take the all important next step. If you can get over the ego problem and at least ask for help you will find that everyone you ask will answer, well most anyway. When a business stagnates it’s usually because the owner hasn’t invested time and effort in themselves. They are stuck doing the same thing day in day out.

Does any of this sound familiar?

  • Tired of doing the same things
  • Not motivated enough to do anything about it
  • Don’t know where or who to turn to

This is just a starter list, I am sure you can add many more scenarios to it, write them down this really does help clarify the problem.

Ever heard the term “think small and you’ll be small”? Well this was a quote I came up with for this very situation in 2009, I wrote it down and kept it with me and it really did help me push through to the next level. You see everything I was doing was small, I did everything in such a small way my business was never going to succeed and neither were my clients.

So this is what I came up with, well some of it anyway as it’s far too long and detailed to go into here, although it could be a series of posts, see already I’m starting to think ‘big’ and that’s the essence of NLT. Break everything down in to manageable chunks.

Right, lets dive in.

Let’s say you have a printing business, you print brochures, fliers, t-shirts in fact anything that can be printed you print it. The problem is everything is stagnant the business is going nowhere, you’ve reached your ceiling. What do you do next?

Well most of us never recognise that there is a problem until it jumps up and bites us on the bum. We sail along oblivious to the seriousness of the situation. Now this could be anything from the business slowing down, to you being pulled from one section or department of the business to another and never completing anything, it could be not managing staff correctly it could be any number of things.

But you have that nagging doubt in the back of your mind that something is wrong, don’t worry we all get it, trust me if you haven’t you will.

The problem is you are still dealing with the minutia of the business and not taking a holistic view of where it is and where it should be headed. ‘Working on the business and not in the business’ is a term Michael Gerber came up with in his book The E Myth, the updated version is here The E Myth Revisited and it still stands true today.

Think big not small.

So how do you put NLT in to operation? I can tell you from experience that it’s not easy, in fact it can be so hard that most don’t even attempt it, they give up and find something else to do. Fine for them but we are not quitters, are we?

So let’s say that you recognise that there is something wrong and after all the soul searching and hand wringing you finally admit to yourself that you are to blame, you haven’t grown as a person so how can the business grow, it can’t. Fantastic, that’s the hardest part over with, from now on it can only go one way and that’s up.

So you admit it, you need help. But who do you turn to for that help?

Well, there are a plethora of mentors and business coaches out there who are only too willing to help and someone like my good friend Les should definitely be considered that’s for sure. But say you’re not ready for that, say you want someone who will understand you and your business because they know you already.

You could turn to a family member or good friend, but are they the right person to be consulting with? On one level yes as they know you well and can sympathise but on another are they a business person? Do they know how to turn a failing business around? Let’s face it, you need the ‘right’ help.

Finding the ‘right’ coach or mentor

So how do you find the right mentor or coach to help? I can only give you my own experiences here and they have served me well when it came to the NLT concept of thinking big, please don’t think this is the only concept in NLT, it’s not, there are others which we will touch on in later posts but for now this is the most important.

First off I talked to people both on and offline who I knew had gone through similar problems with their business and life in some cases. One thing to keep in mind when you travel down this path is that you have to be brutally honest with yourself and the person you are seeking help and advice from, don’t hide anything as it will not serve you well in your long-term recovery.

I asked questions such as “how did you get out from under it?” and “what can I do to replicate your successes?” I must have been a right pain in the bum but to be honest everyone gave their time and advice freely, I was never made to feel second class or a failure, the reason for that, most have been through it. Just like I had so when I spotted the tell tale signs with my client, I could give him my advice without thinking.

Secondly, once I started to realise that I was thinking too small I took steps to change it. I decided that enough was enough and for the sake of my sanity and bank balance something had to change, and it did.

In the next post I will let into a secret, I will tell you how I turned the business and myself around by employing the ‘think big’ concept of NLT.

Please feel free to leave a comment I love hearing your stories and it goes without saying if you find any of this familiar and you think I can help don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Keith McMean

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