Business leaders are often hyper-focused on expansion and abundance as part of the big win of having it all. But we miss the other end of the perfection of balance when we dismiss the contraction, or the lows, that businesses inevitably go through. We often panic when emails get quiet, phones aren’t ringing, and cash flow is choking. We habitually label these ebbs as negative experiences, and we may even turn it on ourselves — doubting the relevancy of our skills or worrying that we’re doing something wrong.
Like the seasons, all businesses have times of abundance and times when the leaves fall to the ground. But a business contraction, in any industry, doesn’t have to mean a panic attack. It’s an opportunity for a deliberate inhale and a time to examine what is working and what isn’t. When a business is in the flow and things are grooving, there is no need or room for examination.
In our culture where we are pushed to push, we miss the purposefulness of the pauses.
In our culture where we are pushed to push, we miss the purposefulness of the pauses. On a practical level, a contraction is a chance to declutter. Clear out obsolete operating systems, back up computers, and upgrade software. Review company policies and business plans before taking firm action forward.
As a female entrepreneur with my own solvent entertainment company, I find the space between the harvest to be the most significant time. This is when I realign my company and my work with a future timeline that is more congruent with who I have become, who my customer is, and what’s happening in the world at large. Careers, too, have highs and lows, and my career lows have become the largest realignments that set me up for future business growth. Had I sat on the sofa in self-pity and not taken the directed exit ramp, I might have missed my turn.
Like many industries, entertainment itself is changing. Broadcast and syndication are out; YouTube and Snapchat are in. Celebrity endorsements are out; influencers with followers are in. Likewise, you may find that a slowdown in your business reflects broader shifts in your sector. Embracing the stillness aligns us to our next step — whether it be a new chapter for the business, a seasonal change in business rhythms, or an entirely new career path.
Embracing the stillness aligns us to our next step — whether it be a new chapter for the business, a seasonal change in business rhythms, or an entirely new career path.
At a time when consumer demands are shifting, future projections are uncertain, and technology is disrupting entire industries, conscious business owners know that their moments of stillness are only part of an intentional and collective wave of contraction. If we’re aware of the pause and use it to our advantage, we can effectively align ours and our clients’ visions with tomorrow’s business landscape. But if we diminish these purposeful pauses, we miss out on the chance to be thought leaders in the new iteration of our sectors and can be left behind.