It was about 6 or 7 years ago, and I found myself all over the place. Thriving, yes, but hitting plateaus that I couldn’t seem to break.
So, I did what most other successful people have done before me. I hired a business consultant to find out what I was doing wrong and what I could be doing better.
Now, I don’t remember much about everything the business consultant taught us, and we paid him a lot of money, but I remember it was worth it for one of the most profound and impactful pieces of business advice and life advice that anyone has ever given me.
It has to do with the concept of systems.
Systems, no matter how you want to look at it, just plain work. In fact, sometimes it’s just a matter of setting up specific systems for your business and your life, and then getting out of their way to let them work for you.
Of course, the concept of systems has a lot of different meanings, and they’ve been clearly working for thousands of years.
I’m referring to the general systems of life. So, why are systems so important? Because they make up ecosystems for your life; sustainable environments that allow an individual or situation to thrive.
Now, before you can set up systems for yourself, or position your environments, you have to have a basic understanding at its core.
Understanding Ecosystems & Implementing Systems
At a basic metaphor level, one could look at my Koi pond project as a perfect example of how a perfectly balanced ecosystem works.
I’ve installed an underwater camera that allows me to virtually display the Koi pond on a flat screen television in my office. Of course, the reason the camera works is because the water is clear.
However, if the water were blurry, the screen would be blurry, and you might not know the water was dirty, you might think there’s something wrong with the camera. Why am I bringing this up? Because most people will react in this moment, not understanding the source of the environment and then you invest in a better camera; maybe a high definition camera only to discover the picture is still blurry.
So, then maybe you think it’s the wiring, the software, the TV. . . And still, the picture is blurry. And in reality, it has nothing to do with the obvious things that cause the symptoms. It has to do with something unrelated but at the source.
It’s always the things we can’t necessarily see; the blind spots that keep us from understanding what we need and then growing and developing the right systems to thrive.
So, in relation to your life and business, if part of your life or business is not working and you keep swapping out components, relationships, business strategies, products and trying different things, while not changing the end result, then maybe something is wrong with the bigger ecosystem of your life or business.
And that was the lesson that the business coach taught me.
On our first session, when we sat down to look at our business – human resources, products, the different parts in each section, relationships, etc., he showed me the importance of having systems around all of these. Where did I have them set up, where did I not. How was I operating at capacity without enough systems?
He reminded me that you have to have systems in place to bring new people in, handle more sales, develop and promote new products and so forth.
And as you build and grow, if you don’t have systems in place for every part or element, you start to develop cracks; essentially chinks in your armor. At some point in your business or life, something will disintegrate; something will happen.
All of a sudden everything crumbles. And that’s where a breakdown comes from.
So, what happens with a lot of entrepreneurs, is what gets them to a certain point, is sufficient most of the time, but to take things to the next level, they have to implement new systems.
You have to implement new mental constructs, new ways of being, new things that you didn’t previously have to worry about.
Think of the automobile.
There was once a carriage and the way it was designed came a basic suspension, steel rings, rubber tires, etc. They didn’t need a full blow suspension like cars today because they had horses. Those horses are only going to pull so much at a certain speed.
Then they swapped out the horse for an engine/motor. All of a sudden, that carriage with a little motor and newer innovation, forced all systems to develop and grow simultaneously.
Just like the development of the car or any other invention, the concept of building systems can support you, your aspirations, your goals, your ventures and your personal life as well.
Since systems can be applied to all areas of your life, not just your business but all areas, then hopefully you can be able to share with others in return.
So, what I learned that was the most profound from my consultant is one very important line he shared with me:
“All frustration is merely the lack of the results of a system.”
Powerful, simple and true.
To me, that means that if frustrations can happen in parts of my life or business – maybe not feeling at your best, spending enough time with kids or family, or experiencing a slightly broken system with your sales or products – then you have to decide what you should change about your current ecosystem.
What Sort of Ecosystem Do You Want to Live In
An ecosystem is a self-contained, fully balanced environment.
Nature is designed to be self-sustained. That’s what ecosystems are. Whether you look at the desert, the bottom of the ocean, a river, a lake, there are all sorts of different ecosystems that sustain various forms of life.
We get to choose what sort of ecosystem we want to live in.
The question I ask you is what sort of ecosystem do you want to live in. What sort of set of environments and systems do you want to build around yourself that will ultimately create an ecosystem or environment?
In other words, a lifestyle that has all of the elements that you choose; that you want.
Can you see how this is much bigger and more in-depth and complex than just pursuing some goals?
Maybe there’s something deeper at the root.
It starts by having the right materials, the right assets, the right amount of everything you need to make it work.
Then there’s the human side of it, the person measuring the results and managing the systems to make sure nothing goes out of whack.
Every one of those things that motivate us and cause us to take action runs their course.
I think it’s amazing how nature takes care of problems or deficiencies. Well, we’re an extension of nature.
I believe that we are fully, not entitled, but obligated to learn from nature to create balance, to create systems, to create environments because it’s a choice that we have over any other species.
Any other species has to adapt to their environments, whereas we get to choose our environments.
We choose what our experiences will be like.
Nature is that incredibly resilient and resourceful and innovative; it finds ways; finds solutions.
So, the big wake up call is looking at every area of my life where there’s a deficiency, murky water, imbalance or a lack of natural state of flow or abundance, and looking at what are the systems behind that. And drilling down into all the layers to find the source.
And that’s my true inspiration . . . To get to the root cause to find the ultimate ecosystem; the most sustainable, rewarding and the most fun. And why not? What else is there to do?
Some Final Thoughts
Look at the obvious frustrations, but really put some thought into what the root causes could be; what is causing the discomfort in your daily life.
Sometimes the problem may seem so huge, but the solution is really simple. Sometimes we overcomplicate it, which in turn can be overwhelming. Sometimes it’s the little tweaks that give the biggest results; they just may not be intuitively connected at first, just like the Koi pond and the camera.
Additionally, do not allow yourself to become too attached to a specific outcome. Sometimes when you force it, when you’re racking your brain to find the solution to a problem, you just have to step away to get the clearer picture.
Just trust the solution is there to be found and it’s just hiding momentarily. Be open to the possibility that there’s a solution to whatever problem you’re facing and it will come.