I was sitting on my back porch drinking my homemade morning latte when the email came in…
“I’m shutting everything in my business down and taking an extended period off, I don’t know what will happen during this time or what it will mean but thank you for being part of my community and I’ll see you all on the other side.”
You might think I am describing a particular person, email, or moment in time, but I’m not. It’s simply a cinematic re-enactment of an all too familiar story and pattern I’ve seen emerge in the past several years. That exact email has landed in my inbox at least five times in the last 6 months. And at least twice a year every year since I started my business in 2008.
This begs the question…
Why are so many successful business owners and CEOs shutting everything down and needing to take time off because they are burned out?
Before I answer that, I want to be super clear: I am not criticizing, judging nor saying an “I told you so” to anyone who made the decision to do this.
If you had to do this to any degree in the last few years, I applaud the decisions you made to end an unsustainable cycle and NOT sacrifice your mental, emotional, and physical health any longer. I understand the heartbreak of spending so many years building something only to find it feels like an out-of-control monster that puts unbearable pressure on you. I empathize with the stress you as a CEO carry, when you have to let go of the team you care about. It’s never a decision made lightly.
And while you may feel immediate relief after making such a decision, I also sympathize with the impact that decision has long after you stop the train and get off.
- You might lose trust in yourself and feel shy about plans to scale in the future, which will hold back your earning potential and deprive those you impact with your gifts.
- You might question if you’re even a good CEO at all and lose confidence in your decisions.
- You may experience depression or anxiety while you feel like everything you thought you knew is being upheaved. It can create a real identity crisis and slow you down for years longer than it should.
And as I see more and more of these stories unfold publicly and in private conversations with many of you, I can’t help but feel that it never had to be this way or get to this point. So how can you prevent this from happening (and if it already happened to you, how do you prevent it from happening again)?
First, we need to understand why it happened in the first place.
I’ve been helping CEOs create lives and businesses they DON’T need to shut down or take an extended vacation from for over 14 years. The main reason shutting down or taking a sabbatical from your business happens is that your visibility and profitability strategy (aka your growth strategy) wasn’t sustainable or aligned from the get-go.
I want you to think of your business as a Ferrari. In order to keep that Ferrari in peak condition and moving forward, you need to make sure you have adequate, high-quality fuel in the tank and tires that can go the distance. But if you’re only focused on getting to the end goal as quickly as possible, you’re going to waste gas and strip your tires more quickly. You’re the Ferrari in this example.
Your gas reserves and tires are your strategies and your CAPACITY to grow sustainably and profitably. If you “spin out before the finish line,” aka have to shut things down, it’s because somewhere along the way, you missed a few necessary ”pit stops.”
Sometimes our ambition as CEOs can be our greatest blind spot. We get so focused on rapid growth, and we get so busy we forget to pause and reassess our structures and strategies at every new level of visibility and growth. Taking the necessary pit stops as you grow is crucial to long-term, sustainable visibility and profitability because they give you the spaciousness and time to re-examine what needs to be tweaked now so you don’t burn out as you scale into your next level.
So why do many successful CEOs forget to make the pit stop check-ins needed and ultimately spin out and shut down? You’re too busy.
As your visibility and impact grow, you can easily become the bottleneck in your business. Your time and you are increasingly stretched thin. You’re so overwhelmed your survival instinct kicks in, and your cognitive focus narrows. You can only put your attention on the “most urgent” business needs. You no longer have the visioning time you need as a CEO to pause and recalibrate your epic vision. What happens next is a vicious cycle.
As you feel more and more pulled in a million directions, you start applying quick fix strategies from a place of urgency to alleviate your overwhelm. For example: you wonder if the problem is that you need to free up some time and work less 1:1 with clients, so you try a funnel or a group offering, but the funnel ends up being MORE complicated and more work than having 1:1 clients.
Or you wonder if just hiring more people will stop you from being the bottleneck, but now you have to manage MORE people because you hired from a place of desperation and got candidates that require micromanaging. You wonder why the more your business grows, the more ENERGY it requires from you to stay afloat.
After all this, you’re STILL burned out and exhausted by it all. You’re still the bottleneck, and to top it off, you have a NEW stressor – the immense pressure of keeping up the revenue you need to cover those enormous costs that keep the business going.
No one can handle this pressure for very long without adequate capacity, foundations, and support systems. And that can’t happen when you’re so busy and overwhelmed that you never have time to make the necessary pit stops and re-assess what will work for YOU (not what’s popular or working for everyone else).
That is why the dreaded “shut-down” happens. A business you have to shut down or take an indefinite sabbatical from is a business that was never sustainable.
Please do NOT feel bad about this if this has happened to you. It’s easy to miss because we can’t see our own blind spots as CEOs. You’re not alone. And here’s the good news…
I can show you how to avoid this altogether. It’s what I’ve been helping business owners do successfully for almost a decade and a half. For a most recent example of this, let’s look at my amazing client Shaneh. She went from…
- Shutting down a business that made just shy of a million in revenue, but made her so physically ill she couldn’t continue.
- Being stuck in a low multiple-six-figure revenue plateau for 7 years
- Holding back her visibility and hiding online because she wasn’t clear on what to post
- Posting sporadically because she always felt disheartened every time she posted and got no engagement
- Blowing past her revenue plateau by $450,000 in less than 8 months
- Ending the year at the exact amount she made during the year she burned out (just under a million in revenue), except this time, she has ZERO burnout or physical issues, and instead tells me constantly how joyful, spacious and delightful her life and business feel.
- Feeling clear on her updated messaging and positioning that showed what a badass she is (so posting on social and all her marketing now feels easier and fun.)
- Posting consistently and regularly getting sales anywhere between $5,000 to $200,000 from one social media post.
I took her to brunch recently to celebrate her incredible growth, and she showed me how dramatically her revenue grew quarter after quarter after she started working with me. Here’s the screenshot from my Notes app, where I jotted the numbers down as we spoke over a delicious burrata appetizer and champagne spritzes…
So how did she make this shift so quickly?
We took the necessary pit stops — we looked at all the areas of capacity her business needed to have in order to step into her epic vision of breaking past her plateau and getting back on track to seven figures. And most importantly, I taught her my signature methodology for how to make her business a Visibility Vortex™.
Think for a moment about what a vortex is. Vortices draw in what’s life-giving. Vortices spin OUT what isn’t. Vortices are self-sustaining ecosystems that regenerate energy without ever running out. When your business becomes a Visibility Vortex, you:
- Become a master of your time and schedule
- Honor your own pace and rhythm, honor the rhythm and pace of your
business AND ensure that your life & business never feel at odds again
- Do consistent and epic visibility YOUR WAY with delight, truth, and sustainability
- Make more profit in a way that energizes you and everyone around you
- Hire (and can actually afford) the people you REALLY want to hire—i.e.the team that’ll take you to the next-level
- Get the deep support you’ve been needing in your personal life and business
AND your life & business are set-up to generate a constant overflow of energy, instead of requiring you to always pour out from an empty cup.
That’s what I taught Shaneh how to do, and up until now, I’ve ONLY taught this to 1:1 clients. But now I’m teaching these advanced-level systems in our NEW Visibility Vortex mentoring mastermind.
The pre-sale price of up to $3200 off is expiring SOON (on March 1st), and we’ve added some amazing new bonuses. If you’ve felt curious but haven’t reached out to learn more and to get the brochure, don’t wait any longer because I don’t want you to miss out on the “founding member” pricing and bonuses you can get before March 1st.
In speaking with many of you interested in learning more about Visibility Vortex, many of you have shared that you found yourselves at a crossroads in the last few years. You questioned how you’d been taught to grow your visibility and profitability. You took the time last year to really sit with how you wanted to do things in the future, and now you’re ready to do things the aligned and sustainable way.
Good. Because you deserve to have a business that serves YOU, not the other way around. You deserve to grow in ways that feel pleasurable, spacious, and delightful, not stressful and draining. You deserve to have all the profitability you desire without feeling like a burned-out bottleneck in your business.
Above all, you are worthy of having a business you never “have” to take a sabbatical from. Let us show you how.