Are you struggling in your business? Maybe you’re just a sports car missing an axle.

Are you struggling in your business? Maybe you’re just a sports car missing an axle.
Photo by Johannes Giez / Unsplash

A friend of mine was so upset yesterday because her business partner called off the event that they had been working on together for months. Very suddenly, unexpectedly.

All that hard work kind of fell down the drain, and she felt bad like, “What did I do wrong? How did I sabotage this? What mistake did I make?

I said, “You know, I don't think you did make a mistake, exactly. I was watching you guys, and you worked hard on this, month after month. You stuck it out. And then when it came to building up your numbers… your signups… your registrations, that just wasn’t happening.

And I think what really happened was: neither of them knows how to do sales.

So if your business partner doesn't know how to do something, and there's a hole there; and you don't know how to do that same thing, and there's a hole there; guess what? It's entirely likely that you're both going to collectively forget about that thing. And that’s a big, big thing for a business to know how to do, right?

Because as they got into the selling phase, I was thinking: “Okay, so what's your plan? What's your method? What's your training to do to get these people in the door?” And I didn't hear anything. It was like, there was nothing there. (There was a hole.)

And so very often, what actually happens isn't that we're so terrible or that we're doing it all wrong. It's that there's a piece that we just don't know how to do. And that creates a hole, and that hole makes us feel like the whole system is all broken — when what’s really happening is that we just have a gap in our process!

Taken at the 76th Goodwood Members’ Meeting at Goodwood Motor Circuit in Chichester, England. This photograph shows a preoccupied mechanic behind a selectively focused engine that was destined for this Porsche race car.
Photo by Oli Woodman / Unsplash

We beat ourselves up for that. It's like this: imagine a beautiful sports car. It's in great shape, brand new; only for some reason, it’s missing a rear axle. It's a perfect car, except for one missing piece, right?

Now try to drive that car. How far is that car going to go?

Would you say “this car is a piece of junk?”

Would you say “ this car must have a belief that it does not deserve to be driven”?

Would you say, “let’s make sure the upholstery is shined up, and the chrome is bright and sparkling”?

I hope not. If you knew where to look, you would probably look and see that it was just missing a rear axle. A part that was needed for its whole functioning, that it just happened to be missing — for whatever reason.

scrabble, scrabble pieces, lettering, letters, wood, scrabble tiles, white background, words, type, typography, design, layout, incomplete, imperfect, not finished, finish, lacking, omit, gap, hole, lacuna, mind the gap,
Photo by Brett Jordan / Unsplash

So in our businesses, we've got to look — especially at those gaps where we're not doing something, because nobody knows how to do it. In fact maybe no one even knows that there is something else to know!

So it takes a little bit of humility to widen back. To say, “let's see how we could find the person who maybe could fill in that gap”. And it's not because you're bad. And it's not because you're wrong. If there's a piece in your business that’s not working, maybe there's a piece of knowledge, or training, or outsourcing, or support that you actually need, and it's all about getting that piece.