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Don't Confuse Issues of Velocity with Issues of Incompetence

One of my Leadership Mojo Coaching clients recently reminded me of an important lesson that seems worth passing along.

In our Mojo Coaching sessions, my client’s goal was to create a successful launch of a new service line. What became apparent in our coaching was she thought the source of current business growth challenges were incompetency issues – when in fact her business challenges were related to velocity issues.

I am guessing she is not alone. In growing a business, be it as a leader in a major corporation or a solo entrepreneur, there’s a good chance there has been a point in your career where you have been facing a velocity issue, and may have been tripped up by assuming it was either incompetence or impossibility.

Let me explain.

Velocity is Flow

Several years back we were involved in Robert Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad, Poor Dad workshops. One of the lessons that stuck with me was people who are successful in creating abundance are going to be faced with the challenges of velocity. It can be easy to confuse issues of velocity with issues of incompetence! (That last part is our take.)

My memory of the lesson is: The more money you have, the more important it becomes to keep it moving. People who have great wealth must be able to handle velocity, meaning the flow of money. Most people are not comfortable with flow. Expansion, yes, but flow, well that is something different!

In this context, flow means keeping the money moving and that involves risk. The more flow – the more potential upside and downside. The level of money will go up and down. There will be times when all or a significant amount could be lost. The willingness to ride with that movement is what defines flow.

Flow is about going with both the expansion and contraction.

This lesson applies to much more than wealth and cash flow. This principle is related to anything energetic. Since we are energy beings, it applies in all areas of our work and life.

As a business leader both your business and you are energetic organisms. This means that when you are facing the challenge of getting to the next level, as a leader or related to your team’s next evolution, you will likely come up against a velocity issue and need to embrace and ride the expansions and contractions!

Fear of Failure

Let’s go back to my client. She’s been in business for quite while now. In the past couple of years, she has shifted from a solid, secure following in her area of expertise to expanding into a new broader target market. This has brought up all of her inner demons related to competence, as well as, success and failure. She’s had to learn new skills – which is an issue of competence – and she has.

As a result of building enough knowledge and skills, she began to move forward faster. Here is where her main challenge shifted to one of velocity. Yet, it could be so easy for her to assume it is about her level of competency. It’s not.

When I see clients at this inflection point, often their immediate tendency is to stop moving forward, thinking, “We’re (or I’m) not ready. We better stop and learn more before we go ahead.” This is the fatal mistake that stops the flow, forward progress, and ironically, also stops learning.

The way we learn is going forward, getting feedback, and adjusting. The tendency to stop and learn more is a coping mechanism for the fear of failure. People that are so concerned about failing, or not being perfect, shoot themselves in the foot when they pull back.

With this client, once I reframed the issue as one of velocity versus competence, everything came into focus. We worked on helping her tolerate the ebbs and flows of velocity.

A few examples of the work included:

  • Practices for settling the nervous system, and allowing for real-time access to more of her resources

  • Looking at worse case scenarios to address her fear of failure

  • Reframing the situation so she could utilize her zone of genius in a new way

I also introduced her to the concepts of “leaks,” which are holes in the process that reduce velocity. For instance:

  • Staying with an existing resource, such as a vendor, that no longer fit because she did not want to have the difficult conversation

  • Spending valuable time and money on her legacy service versus investing in her new service direction

  • Procrastinating investment in high quality, more expensive resources without certainty of immediate results

The way to work with leaks is to be more discerning in looking at what is working and what isn’t. Remember that when you are in flow, there is the potential risk that what you do may result in a lose of productivity or revenue but could be critical for longer-term growth. In evaluating choices, you want to be curious, access, adjust, and keep going forward.

Instead of looking at slow projected sales numbers as a sign the service line was wrong, this new point of view allowed her to consider these as leaks, and she accessed what might be needed to reinforce her projected plan, adjusted, and stayed the course.

She is now quite excited about how the launch is going. She has yet to confirm success; however, she isn’t as tied to the numbers as the only measure of achievement and is enjoying riding the waves!

I have no doubt she is going to be successful. It is possible the first release of this new service line won’t be the expansion she was looking for in terms of increased revenue or sales (although it might be!) Rather than assuming she has a competency issue and stopping flow to learn something new, she’ll access, adjust and stay the course.

However, my guess is she won’t pull the plug based on the fear of failure, but will instead go with the flow and learn from what happens.

I once heard an interview with several highly successful business people. One remark each person had in common was that they didn’t see themselves as failing, only learning along the way to success.

Babe Ruth may have said it best: “Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.”

Velocity problems are indicators of growth and expansion! It’s a good sign if you view it with curiosity and flexibility – both for yourself as a leader, and for your team!

It’s helpful to remember being in the flow doesn’t mean everything is comfortable. It’s sometimes just the opposite!

A new speed, a higher level of input won’t be comfortable, AND that discomfort does not mean there is a crisis or a major problem. You may just need to check for leaks!


P.S. Want some help working checking for leaks? Why not join us for Get Unstuck, Relationship Mojo, or our signature retreat Find Your Mojo in Montana. Want more one-on-one help? I’m also available for personal coaching.

CrisMarie Campbell and Susan Clarke are Master certified life coaches, business consultants, speakers and authors of The Beauty of Conflict. They believe real relationships are the key to creating great business results. They’ll take your team from mediocre to great.

Want to take a class? Sign up for one of their virtual classes: Get Unstuck, Relationship Mojo or come to their signature retreat Find Your Mojo in Montana. Click here to check out all their service offerings.

Click here to contact them to coach with you, consult with your team, or speak at your next event.


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