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REACHING THE TOP can be exciting … but it’s also a lonely place. I’ve actually found that the fear of reaching goals can hold people back.

Because when you reach the top, what’s next?

I happen to believe that it’s the business equivalent of the “mid life crisis.” Is this all there is? Wasn’t life supposed to be glorious by now?

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GREYSTONE TECHNOLOGY is a local Information Technology (IT) outsourcing firm. Currently with 85 employees, they’ve been growing at a rapid clip for over a decade.

I had a chance to sit down with Peter Melby recently, who owns the company along with Jesse Armstrong. They formed the business in 2001 with the idea that this would be a fun and motivating environment for employees.

Which is what they’ve built. But there’s so much more to the story.

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PEOPLE OFTEN COMPLAIN that companies only worry about the current quarter, or even the current week.

I don’t care if you’re a one-person business, or a billion dollar mega-corporation. You care that the business is going to survive. For years, decades, even forever.

As a leader, your role is to plan for that future, to lay the groundwork and structure for enduring success. So don’t complain about the shortsightedness of the stock market, or the regulators, or your boss. It doesn’t help.

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YOU WOULD LIKE TO THINK that a clear sense of mission straightens everything out.

And to a certain extent, it does.

But the truth is also that knowing where you’re going doesn’t mean that reality will line up to make your job easy.  You may be on a mission to save lives on the other side of town. Your sirens and flashing lights can help clear the road a bit, but the roads aren’t going to move to make your job easier.

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PEOPLE GET HUNG UP on all the challenges they’re facing.  Big competitors.  Annoying customers.  Employee turnover.

But here’s the thing:  EVERYTHING has a good side and a bad side.

Often they’re two sides of the same coin.  For instance, the loss of a good employee can mean the opportunity to find someone who’s a superstar.

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STEVE MARSHALL BILLS HIMSELF as a “Transformation Enabler.”

At least that’s what it says on his business card.

What he really does is to work with  leaders on strategic planning, organizational development, managing change, and executive coaching.  It’s similar to my own coaching practice, but he tends to focus a bit more on larger companies and more complex organizations.

As you know, my website here is dedicated to business owners who are living in a different paradigm.  We’re making money, sure, but more importantly we’re improving the world through our work.

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YOU’D LIKE FOR THE WORLD to be a safe place. After all, you’ve put your heart and soul into your business, and it would be terrible to have it fall apart.

So you try to play it safe.

But there are different kinds of safety. You could run close to the edge on being legal – but if you step over that edge, the regulators will shut you down.  Permanently.

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TRUE CONFESSION: I never get significant results by myself.  Even as a one-person business, I rely on a great number of others to support me and magnify my impact.

I suspect you have the same kind of reliance on others.

The first category is those people who help me produce what I do.  That includes development and delivery of my services.  If I were producing a physical product, I’d need design, production and inventory.  Those might be done inside the business, but a lot of it depends on suppliers, consultants, partners, and so on.

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THE CUSTOMER IS COMPLAINING. That employee didn’t show up for work. It’s getting near tax time and you’re not sure what that’s going to look like. And the dog needs to go to the vet.

And that’s just in the first 15 minutes this morning.

Running a successful business is a challenge every minute of every day. Guess what? The buck stops with the business owner, so it seems like you’re sucked into EVERYthing.

There’s a way to deal with this, and I’m not talking drugs.

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Thank you Kyle BroadAMERICANS ARE DISSATISFIED with the direction of morals and values in our country.

Thus proclaimed a recent study that I heard mentioned on the radio.

Here’s the problem, though:  This has been a common complaint, pretty much for the entirety of human history.  It has to do with the innate sense of striving that we have as humans, and frustration that things rarely go as we desire.

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