Between Fear and the Glass Ceiling

The last few months have burst a lot of bubbles. Some are beyond our control. Some, if we’re honest, are beyond our comprehension.

But some bubbles were created by the owners of companies for whom years of doing the same thing increasingly well, convinced them that they were in control of their own destiny. In the end they had slowly floated above the reality of their business.

I call it semi-conscious ownership. And it always ends badly.

The truth is they were living a reality they wanted to believe and filtering the evidence to support that view. It’s tempting when you really want something to be true. But it comes at the expense of asking critical questions. And when the bubble bursts, the drop is terrifying.

The inevitable outcome is fear-based over-reaction. And that’s a very hard place from which to live. Or run a business.

The other side of the coin is the person who has built a consistently successful business which never quite goes to that next level. You can’t argue with their achievements per se, or their ambition. Their talent is obvious. And occasionally you’ll see glimpses of their brilliance. It’s just that the business itself never quite delivers on all that potential.

There will be one other trait that also becomes obvious over time. They are always busy. Every hour of every day. Their lives are crazy.

I’ve come to understand that this too is about fear. Their fear that they don't deserve to live their dreams. So they place a glass ceiling above their own heads that defines the success they think they do deserve. As they get close they start coming up with new ideas that are really just designed to keep them right where they are.

Since all businesses are reflections of their owners, this runs through the DNA of the company. Neither the company or its people ever discover what they might have been. Which is tragic on every level.

Between fear and the glass ceiling lies the place in which you are present. In which you are in the moment.

It’s not an easy place to be. But recognizing where you’re not, is the first step to getting there.