Today is Groundhog Day; observed each year in the US and Canada. For a nice welcomed break during the winter, on this day the groundhog awakens from his nap and goes outside to see if he can see his shadow. It’s believed that if the groundhog sees his shadow that there will then be six more weeks of winter. If this is so, he then retrieves back into his den and goes back to sleep. If he is not able to see his shadow, the groundhog remains outside to play and people celebrate believing that spring is just around the corner.
Some of us here at Advocate HQ weren’t aware that there was such a creature as the groundhog (just hedgehogs and Gruffalos, of course). When I hear the phrase “Groundhog Day” I immediately recall the 1993 film starring Bill Murray. Secondly, it’s a phrase I hear time and time again from colleagues, clients, friends and family often describing their working life, or life in general, as “Groundhog Day”.
It got me thinking how the legendary groundhog, the film, and business are in fact all very similar. Let me explain more….
In the film, Murray plays Phil Connors, an arrogant weatherman who finds himself in a time loop, repeating the same day again and again. After indulging in hedonism and committing suicide numerous times, he begins to re-examine his life and priorities. Let’s trace the journey of how Phil feels during his time stuck on a loop, re-living the same day over and over again.
Feeling #1: Confused & Dazed.
Feeling #2: Recklessness. After several days stuck in the time loop, Phil decides to take advantage of the situation with no fear of long-terms consequences. He goes down a path of stealing, seduction and drunken behaviour, and eventually gets thrown in jail.
Feeling #3: Depression & despair.
Feeling #4: Self-improvement & development. Realising his current tactics aren’t having any impact, he endeavours to improve himself. He begins to use his vast knowledge of the day’s events to help as many people as possible, and uses the time to learn.
Eventually, Phil is able to befriend almost everyone he meets during the day, using his experiences to save lives, help people, and ultimately to impress a lady called Rita. He crafts a news report on the Groundhog Day celebration so eloquent that all the other stations turn their microphones to him. After the town’s evening dance, Rita “buys” Phil at the event’s bachelor auction. Phil makes a snow sculpture of Rita’s face and they kiss, then retire to his room. He wakes the next morning and finds the time loop is broken; it is now February 3 and Rita is still with him. They walk outside and Phil proposes that they move to Punxsutawney together. #happilyeverafter
Is any of this sounding familiar? I’m not suggesting that we’ve all been on a trail of drunken debauchery and crime, but that feeling of being stuck in a rut does sound all too familiar. We know how we feel, but we do not necessarily always know why. Our SCALE Philosophy has been designed to tell business owners WHY they feel the way they do; here’s how:
Without a clear Set-up of Strategy, you won’t know where you’re going, you’ll feel lost, you’ll be creating a culture of confusion. We refer to this as the FOG.
If you’re not congruent; you don’t have the right people in the right seats, no clear systems processes in place, no alignment, you’ll be worried and anxious. We know when clients are at this stage as they admit to SLEEPLESS NIGHTS.
In our experience, you’ll have alarms and alerts going off in your business, but you don’t know why or what’s causing them, often when it’s too later. You’ll be in a panic, running around out of control. We call this stage HEADLESS CHICKENS.
Even if you have the above in place, are you learning any lessons? If you’re not learning from your mistakes time and time again you’ll be getting frustrated, you’ll be losing confidence in yourself and your business, and you’ll inevitably feel a FAILURE.
And finally, without an Execution Plan to ultimately Exit you won’t even progress, you’ll start getting bored and disengaged from your business, and on track to completely fall out of love with it. This we refer to as STUCK IN A RUT.
So, you’re not alone. In business we’re always faced with new challenges, and we simply don’t know what the future holds. We may not have the luxury of a little furry Groundhog popping his head out to guide us, but we do all have access to systems and tools to help us create the right environment in our business to enable sustainable growth in a controlled and measured way.
As Thomas Edison succinctly put it:
“When you have exhausted all possibilities, remember this: you haven’t.”