In this weeks Friday guest post coach Melani Luedtke-Taylor shares advice from her experiences as she set up her coaching business.
Follow the Yellow Brick Road
by Melani Luedtke-Taylor
In the midst of starting my own business, I am starting to realize how much the experience reminds me of one of my favorite movies, The Wizard of Oz. Yes, really. Here I am, feeling like the world is so much bigger than me and knowing that something is missing from my life. I have always had an entrepreneurial spirit; I just didn’t know how strong it was until I started seeing my coworkers start disappearing from my job at a Fortune 100 company.
This was my proverbial tornado. I still had my job, but I was saddened by how many of those coworkers not only had no idea that this could happen, but did not prepare themselves with any sort of exit strategy or alternative. I knew that I needed to do better. I knew something had to change, but it took a lot of thought to determine just what it was that I could do.
So, I set out to find my very own version of the Land of Oz on my own Yellow Brick Road. Luckily, the trip did not begin with the Lollipop Kids, that part was always a little spooky to me. However, it did begin by finding my very own mentor and coach –or my own Glenda. She was supportive but stern. She helped me face some of the challenges that she knew would be coming my way. She helped me to stay on task and in my own timeline. Without her experience and support, I am sure that the road would have been much more like a mountain hike rather than a brick road.
I started pulling together little pieces of my business plan, but quickly came to realize that I needed help. That is when I came across my Scarecrow, the person who had more knowledge in certain areas than I did and kept me grounded. It is impossible to know everything well, so you need people around you to help you where you may be weak. It is not a sign of weakness to need help – it is a sign of good leadership and maturity. My Scarecrow asked me the questions that I needed to think about to successfully complete my plan and was someone I could bounce ideas off of.
As I was writing my plan, I started to feel like I was drowning in administration. I felt like all the planning had sucked the fun right out of the work I wanted to do in the first place. I took some time to myself and after some careful consideration, I realized that I wouldn’t have started off down this yellow brick road had it not been for my Tin Man, my passion for what I wanted to do. The passion is what drives us forward, helps us to overcome any of the obstacles that may be ahead of us. It is also what helps us to sustain enthusiasm even in the most trying of times.
There were risks, of course there were! When are there not risks that are associated with trying something new; especially something that you are counting on to pay your bills and sustain your family? My cowardly lion gave me the strength to keep moving, to keep the benefits in prospective and to keep taking the risk. I needed to trust in myself, my plan and my passion.
There were people who said I couldn’t do it. There were the nay-sayers that told me that my idea would never work. There were people who tried to setup roadblocks along my way. Regardless of their motivation, there are always the Wicked Witches out there who try to make you give up and not follow through. It can be anyone – including your own self-doubts. Negative self talk can be just as destructive to your progress as the negative people that can surround you. All of this can make you rethink your plan, try to force you off of your road and divert you from Oz.
When struggling with all the tax preparation, business plan writing and marketing plans, I had thought “perhaps I don’t want to do this” or “perhaps I am not good enough to do this” and I considered giving up. However, it was my skills, my passion and my strength that persevered. Whether or not I believed it then, I was always the man (or woman) behind the curtain pulling the strings.
A few pointers to ensure the flying monkeys don’t get you along the way:
1) Take the road one brick at a time.
This was a hard one for me to follow because like most in my generation, I like to have everything NOW. However, taking the time to plan positive short and long term goals for yourself is just as important as helping your clients do the same but take each day as it comes and enjoy each moment – you’re doing it!
2) Remember, it was the Tin Man, Scarecrow and the Lion that helped Dorothy.
We each have our own talents so make sure to surround yourself with people who have a different skill set than you do.
3) When given the “impossible” task of getting the witch’s broomstick, don’t give up hope.
You can’t plan for everything. There will be minor and even some major setbacks. Accept it as a lesson and do your best to learn from the experience. Make plans to steer clear of the situation in the future but keep on walking the road.
4) When someone runs off into the poppy field, don’t automatically follow them.
Be different, be creative, be YOU. Try new things and (possibly) fail, learn from those failures and succeed. A follower may do OK but will never be an innovator.
My best advice to you is to throw the water on the doubters, find your own Good Witch of the North, Scarecrow, Tin Man and Cowardly Lion and be your own Wizard. Do away with the negativity and maintain your enthusiasm – it is the only way to make it to the end of your own yellow brick road and make it back to a new, brighter version of your home and happiness.
About the Author/Further Resources
Melani is an accomplished marketing professional with over 16 years at a Fortune 100 company and has served on multiple non profit boards. She is certified in coaching through the Coaching Academy of North America (CANA) in Marketing, Non Profit Board, Resolution Success, Infertility and Life Coaching. She values education and is constantly working on updating her skills to ensure the most success for her clients.
She is married with a ten year old daughter.