Why Founders + CEOs Need to Scale Within As They Scale UpFeb 03, 2019
(AND SO DOES ANYONE ELSE INVOLVED IN A GROWTH COMPANY)
Whether you’re an early-stage founder or a CEO of a well-established company, your intention is to expand your impact and multiply your revenue. Essentially, your goal is to scale your business. But one obstacle stands in the way of anyone in such a fast-paced, high-stress role. I’ve seen it again and again in my work with business leaders at varying stages of both the entrepreneurial and corporate journey: the need to scale within.
It’s one thing to have a great idea or a vision that you want to bring forth into the world. It’s another thing entirely to:
Actually grow a business.
Build a functional team.
Manage endless drama from clients and employees.
Deal with the countless other challenges that arise along the journey.
Whether you are currently scaling your business or are in the initial stages of a great idea, the road to scaling up necessitates learning to scale within. In other words, you must grow as your business grows.
Scaling Within Is about Leveling Up
The concept of scaling within is about expanding your internal capacity to sustain external growth. It’s about increasing your ability to lead yourself and others well as your company develops over time. Personal growth is crucial to your success as a leader.
Another way to think about scaling within is to picture scaling an internal mountain. Think about climbing up the mountain of what you’re capable of offering to the world in this life, and leveling up as you go.
I think of it like the video game Mario Brothers (the only video game I ever played growing up). You’re playing the game, developing skills, collecting coins, and, eventually, you conquer the bad guy and advance to the next level. Now, if you die on that next level, you don't go back to the beginning of the game; you start over at the beginning of your new level.
Scaling within means knowing what internal level you or your company is on and recognizing when you’ve hit a ceiling that you’ll need to overcome in order to level up.
When You Scale Within, Your Former Ceiling Becomes Your New Floor
As I mentioned, scaling within means recognizing when you’ve hit a mental ceiling and learning how to overcome that internal barrier. You can obtain a certain level of success based upon your natural abilities and skills. But, eventually, you will hit a ceiling—where what worked in the past isn’t enough to take you to the next level. For example, you may find that you need to develop better time management skills or greater self-awareness or a more effective communication strategy.
Once you recognize that you’ve hit an internal ceiling, you can become intentional about overcoming it. You can create a plan for internal growth, and execute it—just as you would implement a new marketing strategy or hire a new employee if the need arose. Once you’ve conquered the ceiling, that former ceiling can become your new floor. In other words, what used to block you from getting ahead is now your starting point on the journey to further growth. It’s like you’re on a whole new level in Mario Brothers.
The Foundation for Scaling Within Is Self-Awareness
Scaling within is about learning to act from intention rather than reaction, and the foundation for doing so is self-awareness. If you don’t have awareness about what’s happening on the inside, you will always react out of old patterns. You will never behave in the higher ways required for you to level up and will likely be unsuccessful in scaling up your business.
It's not only about having the awareness to recognize what's happening inside you, but also recognizing where your company is at in its developmental process—and acting accordingly. For example, it’s helpful to tie your two-year-old’s shoe for him. But if you’re still tying your eight- or even 16-year-old’s shoe, it’s no longer helpful. You’re performing the same action, but you’re actually hindering your child’s growth if you continue doing so at this advanced developmental stage.
In the same way, sometimes the actions you take that are helpful when you’re first starting out will actually hinder your business from moving forward if you don’t become aware and adapt as you grow. This is another reason why learning to scale within is so vital as you begin to scale up your business.
Scaling Within Is a Concept, but it’s also a Company
When you’re the head of a company, it’s often lonely at the top. As a leader, you continually need to pause and gain perspective, refine your capacity, and keep moving forward. My clients use our sessions as a place to process-relational issues at home, client or employee drama, overcoming anxiety, or reconnect to their core vision so that they can effectively level up.
Additionally, I do speaking and team trainings for companies, where I teach a simple framework from neurobiology that helps individuals grow in self-awareness so that they have the practical tools needed to scale within as they scale up their businesses.
If you are interested in learning more about Individual Scaling Within Consulting Sessions or bringing Scaling Within to your company or team, don’t hesitate to reach out.
Email me directly at [email protected]
For more on this topic, join the mailing list below or follow me on social media: @scalingwithin
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