What does it look like to free yourself from the thoughts and habits that hold you down?

A business owner was referred to me. She loved her work, but spent much of her 14-hour days overcoming the incompetence, unreliability, and personal drama of her 15-person team.

We started with the low-hanging fruit: Daily huddles to get everyone on the same page. Weekly meetings to keep projects on track. Carefully defined accountability processes so everything doesn’t fall to her.

She eagerly applied the lessons and business improved…until new problems popped up and old habits took hold once again.

She had convinced herself that there were two ways to get things done:

* she did it herself.
* she micro-managed her staff so intensely that she might as well just go with option 1.

I led her down an exercise to uncover her competing commitment, starting with a list of all the behaviors that sabotage her success.

I then asked: “The type of person who behaves this way, what might they be committed to?”

She paused, took a deep breath and said: “I’m committed to not depending on anyone else. “

After some additional poking and prodding, we uncovered the belief at the root of the problem

“If I depend on people they will disappoint me, betray me, and I’ll feel awful.”

Next we had to bring that belief further into the light.

First a few low risk tests: She intentionally depended on her staff and family for simple things. Then a few riskier tests. We were building momentum, until a terribly frustrating day left her feeling resentful of her staff for not making simple decisions without her. She couldn’t get any of her own work done. She hadn’t even had time to go to the bathroom or eat breakfast before our 3pm coaching call.

I asked her—“Are you committed to having a company that can thrive independently of you? Or are you committed to not depending on anyone because they will disappoint you?”

With passion and a touch of righteous anger, she declared that she wants to have a company that can run and grow without her micro-involvement. We quickly outlined eight action steps—fire the C-players, clarify her expectations, start paying a market wage to attract more qualified people, set up a system for drama-free, easy accountability, and more.

Two weeks later, she reported the most productive, satisfying time she’s experienced as an entrepreneur. A month later, she told me she’s going on a 3-month sabbatical.

What does freedom look like to you? Curious how you may be unconsciously holding yourself back from getting there? Join my Competing Commitments workshop on June 15 to start your journey and #defygravity.   See the link in the first comment below.