I want to tell you a story and it’s probably going to sound pretty familiar… I was raising capital for my first restaurant and about to get married. It definitely was an exciting time. But it was also stressful. While I was excited about the future, there was a lot I didn’t know. A close friend recommended I listen to a business course on a cassette tape (yes, a cassette tape—times sure have changed).
That was honestly one of the best career decisions I’ve ever made. The day I listened to that tape was pivotal because it pushed me to find my mentor and my support system. It made me realize how little I knew about the way the world worked. I only knew what my parents, peers and co-workers were telling me, but I realized none of them were anywhere near the level of success I was seeking nor had they been through the journey I was about to embark on.
BIRDS OF A FEATHER SHOULD FLOCK TOGETHER
The great business coach Tony Robbins says, “You become who you spend time with.”
It’s easy to feel lonely when you’re running a small business. There is literally nobody to talk to about your problems and challenges or you’re just too busy to even think about tackling them. When faced with stepping outside of our comfort zone to tackle something that’s new or uncomfortable, we tend to focus our attention on the things we DO know and that’s where the problems start.
Generally speaking, adults don’t think about hiring coaches because we think that learning stops after you graduate from school. But the best in the world at anything (including business) never stop learning and aren’t afraid to ask for help.
Do you think the greats—Tiger Woods, Muhammed Ali, Lee Iacocca, Ray Kroc, Richard Branson, for example—reached their level of success without seeking professional advice from others?
Of course not! When the best of the best have problems—they are just like you and me, after all—they turn to a trusted mentor or support system to help them find the right solutions.
And this is exactly why you need to find a group of likeminded people or a group of people who you aspire to be like. People you can trust. People you can turn to when things are good and when things aren’t. People you know have been there and will have the exact right answer for you at the exact right time.
ALL GROWTH HAPPENS OUTSIDE YOUR COMFORT ZONE
A quick Google search for “growth” or “change” will return a multitude of Pinterest-worthy images with phrases or quotes placed on top.
Believe me, you don’t need Pinterest to tell you that ALL growth happens outside the comfort zone. If something’s comfortable, you’d already be doing it and that’s not growth. What you should be afraid of instead is not changing, not growing, not exposing yourself to different thinking, or not trying something new because what got you here won’t get you there!
And the only way to think differently than you already are, is to get opinions from people who are further into the journey than you are. If you only make business decisions based on conversations with your team, then nobody is pushing you outside of your comfort zone.
The best way to take the first step towards getting out of your comfort zone is to find a person or group of people who have done what you want to do before and will help you take the right steps towards your goal. If you keep doing the same things you have been doing, you CANNOT possibly expect different results.
You have to allow yourself to try new things. It might feel weird or uncomfortable but if you allow yourself to let go and to ask for help, you might:
- Grow faster.
- Get out of the place you are stuck.
- Get more done in less time than you have in the past.
THE COBBLER’S SHOES
There is an old phrase, “The cobbler’s children have no shoes.” The general meaning is that the shoemaker is often too busy with his own work to spend any time making shoes for his children. Extending this to your restaurant, it means you’re too busy working your business that you don’t have the time or brain capacity to take an honest look at your problems and how to fix them.
Wouldn’t it be great if you had somebody you can talk to who really knows what they’re talking about and can help you easily make the decisions that will lead to growth in your restaurant?! I don’t mean finding someone who is experiencing the same problems as you or a group of people who will listen to you complain. I mean finding people who have been there, done that and know the answers.
These are the same people who will see things you don’t see in yourself—not because they are smarter than you but because they have a different perspective. They take all of the things they’ve learned from working in the business, and with other business owners, and can share with you what works and what doesn’t.
Think of it this way… you might have 4 or 5 solutions to a problem but are unsure which one is right. But a coach or mentor will know the right solution because they’ve been there, navigated the waters, and knows what works best.
Just be careful who you are getting advice from. Turning to a Facebook group with 5,000 members, 90% of which are not at or beyond your experience level, is not going to get you the right advice. There is a lot of information on the internet that’s been written by people who are paid to write; not by people who have ever experienced what you are going through.
So, if you find you’re stuck or keep doing the same things over and over but not seeing the results you desire or if you simply don’t know what to do next or how to get there, please consider finding a coach or a mastermind group that will have your back and steer you down the right path to success.
Ryan Gromfin is an author, speaker, chef, restaurateur, and founder of therestaurantboss.com, clickbacon.com, and scalemyrestaurant.com, and author of Make It Happen. He is the most followed restaurant coach in the world helping Restaurant Owners and Operators increase profits, improve operations, and scale and grow their businesses.