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Exploring the Darkness

Twinkle Light Quote

I recently read the book Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brené Brown. In that book I was hit by one thought she has shared in presentations and she now has put into print, that she calls the Twinkle Light Quote:
“Only when we’re brave enough to explore the  darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.”
In reflecting on this I was struck by how much it applies to someone running their own business.
Really? Yes.

Dysfunctional Business Themes

Each of us has our own blind spots, our own weaknesses. These are our darkness. Only by exploring these weaknesses can we change them.
The EMyth platform calls these Dysfunctional Business Themes, or DBTs. Each DBT is the shadow cast by a strength that has gotten a business owner to where they are today. In some cases, the shadow can start to eclipse the light or strength at some point in the business owner’s growth with his business. What do I mean by this?


Let me use an example. I know a business owner who started off his business years ago as the “chief cook and bottle washer” as the saying goes. He was the owner, manager, and general substitute employee. He was passionate about making his business a success. It paid off. For about 15 years he grew the operations at one location consistently year over year. (I don’t have exact figures here, but the business thrived and the location expanded to almost double its original capacity over that time.)
Then came the opportunity to add a second location. He jumped at it. He kept running the first location with an on-site manager for the second. Then came the chance for a third location. At this point he decided that he should get a manager for his first location so he could share his efforts evenly among all three.
With that decision, the shadow appeared. He had been an over-responsible manager/owner for twenty years. There was no one else who could run that first location the same way that he had done for so long. While his other locations thrived, this first location struggled for a few years, churning through managers who failed to meet his expectations. Finally the lease on the property came due and the landlord chose to not renew, but instead make another use of that property.

Solving the Problem

Unfortunately, these are blind spots and we usually can’t see them on our own. I recount the example above in retrospect of a time before I knew the power of being the outside eyes to show a business owner how their strength has turned against them and helping them to regain control.
In this case, there are several actions that the business owner could have done to make the transition in his role more successful. First, he could have reviewed all of the roles that he played at this first location, and broken those responsibilities up among the positions who could best continue those duties; some would have gone to the new manager, others to the maintenance team, others to sales. By doing this he would have given each position its best chance for success in his absence. Second, these responsibilities could have been clearly stated in written job descriptions to eliminate any confusion that the people inheriting the responsibilities may have had. Finally, had this business owner realized that he tended to hold all of the responsibility for the business within himself, he could have been better prepared for his own responses to changes that would occur. Simply having that knowledge could have made a world of difference for this business owner in preparing himself and that first location for a transition.

Business Coaching

The concept of a business coach is foreign to most independent-minded business owners. They have fought their way to where they are by their own determination and hard work. But,  Marshall Goldsmith buildt a name around the concept that What Got You Here Won’t Get You There: How Successful People Become Even More Successful. The business owner in our example found out that one decision changed everything in his relationship to his business in a way that he didn’t expect. A business coach can help you to see the shadows that your strengths are causing, and how those shadows – your Dysfunctional Business Theme – will hold you back from taking your business to the next step of what you want it to be. A business coach can also help you to work through the details of creating change in your business in ways that will maximize the positive results and minimize the negative.
If you’re ready to try something different to take your business to the next level, to “explore [your] darkness”, I’d love to help you “discover the infinite power of [your] light.” You can visit my coach page on EMyth, email me, or call the number plastered all over this web site (801-243-6874) to learn more about what business coaching with Beyond Imagination can do for you.

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