Post written by Mic Johnson, Blog Coach | LinkedIn Trainer | WordPress Website Guy | Rational Optimist | Jayhawk | Sushi Lover | @MJMeetings Husband
January marks my 7-year anniversary with Blue Gurus. My oh my…how the time flies.
As I received several notes of congratulations on Facebook and LinkedIn, I found myself reflecting on the past 7 years and jotted down some notes.
I hope some of my personal and professional lessons will inspire you in your life and career. I don’t have all of the answers…but I do have a few.
1. Communication is everything. No, seriously, it really is.
I’ve been married for nearly 20 years and whenever I talk to people about why Missy and I are still happy all these years later…it all comes down to communication. When we talk to each other about the ups and downs of life and business, we know that we’re coming from a place of mutual trust and respect.
Jason and I have a very similar relationship. We make each other better because we trust each other and LISTEN to one another. And if we have constructive criticism to share, we enter those conversations from an honest place. Jason said it best the other day, “I think a big part of our potential was, and continues to be, deep trust and respect.”
2. Be accountable.
One of the items listed on my LinkedIn Summary says: Reliable – I do what I say I’ll do. Every time. I don’t drop balls. If you’ve ever interacted with me or Jason and we haven’t done what we said we’d do, let us know. Holding ourselves and each other accountable is built into our DNA and into the Blue Gurus culture. We take great pride in being the type of people, in our personal and professional lives, that people can count on.
3. Remind yourself why you do what you do.
Help others. Have fun. Make a reasonable living. Have a REAL work-life balance. Those are four pillars that have been a part of the Blue Gurus culture since the beginning…and they guide us every single day in our personal and professional lives. There have been times when one or more of those have gotten out of balance for one (or both) of us, but we always do the work it takes to bring ourselves back into balance. Those four pillars are why, to this day, we wake up excited about what we’re doing…and why we’re doing it.
4. Celebrate the wins. Help each other through the losses.
It’s important to remember to celebrate the wins. We haven’t always been good about doing that because it’s very easy to get focused on the work, or getting the next client, and so on. But we also know when we get out of balance and haven’t celebrated enough. Whether it’s a trip together, taking the afternoon off, going to lunch, or taking our wives to dinner…we find ways to celebrate the wins.
And when we’ve lost clients, we’re there to help each other through it. Losing clients is so much more than lost revenue to us. We feel it in our guts…and in ou hearts. As I told a former client the other day, “It’s like losing a pet.” The loss is often sudden and unforgiving. You spend so much time investing in the people and the relationship…and then it ends (Thankfully, it’s rarely ended because of something we’ve done…or failed to do.) It’s a part of every business and you learn to move on, but it’s always been hard because Jason and I care about the people we work with at a depth that only he and I truly understand.
5. Learn to be comfortable being uncomfortable.
That’s the entrepreneurial journey in a nutshell for me. I’ve said more times than I can count, “Every year the equation changes…and every year we figure it out.” Sometimes there are years when we’ve done more LinkedIn Training. Sometimes there are years when we’ve done more websites. Sometimes there are years when more clients have signed up for blogging relationships. It’s very difficult to forecast in our business, but every year we figure it out.
And here’s a little fun fact…when Jason and I first started working together 7 years ago, we had NO IDEA what we were going to do together (true story). We just knew we wanted to work together and we trusted that we would figure it out. It wasn’t always easy, but we did it. For me personally, that’s been one of the most gratifying aspects of this entire journey.
6. Intentionally work on improving yourself.
This is one of the areas I’m most proud of over the last 7 years. Jason and I have worked so hard to improve ourselves as people, as husbands, as friends, and as trusted partners for our clients. Whether it’s working on our work-life balance, or running our peer advisory groups, or finding ways to reduce our anxiety levels, or fine-tuning the way we deliver the services we offer, or countless other things…we don’t settle for being average. We’re committed to being better today than we were yesterday.
7. If you’ve made it this far, go back and keep repeating lessons 1-6.
Thank you to everyone who has supported me and Blue Gurus along the way. It means more than you’ll ever know.