Insights from Dana
From Business Breakdown to Brilliant Breakthrough

95% of business breakdowns are frontrunners for a breakthrough.

When it looks like everything is falling apart, when you feel like you’re spinning your wheels and getting nowhere, when things are really hard in your business, you’re often on the cusp of a revelation that will actually open new possibilities for you and your company. 

Of course, it’s hard to see things that way when you’re desperately trying to string a solution together.

When you’re facing a breakdown, it’s easy to get caught up in a sense of failure and frustration.

It can feel a lot like you’re stuck on a hamster wheel with no way out, especially when you find yourself running into the same issue or growth ceiling over and over again.

I know because I’ve been there.

My Six-Figure Breakdown

When I first started my coaching business, I had a ridiculously successful sales record. I hit six figures in my first year and, for the next three years, I continued to sell six figures. In my fourth year, I doubled my revenue and I felt like I was on top of the world. And then in the fifth year, I lost all my clients.

For the next two or three months, I brought in less revenue each month as a coach than I did when I started my first business venture as a Pampered Chef consultant. 

It was a rude awakening.

More than that, it was depressing.

I kept questioning my validity – who was I to think that I was a coach?

My business was breaking down and it felt like the world had turned against me. 

It was only in hindsight that I was able to see that if my business hadn’t broken down, I wouldn’t have learned the lessons that I’ve learned, I wouldn’t have gained that wisdom to bring to my business, and I wouldn’t have had the opportunities that I’ve had.

If my business hadn’t broken down, who knows when I would have learned how to really deliver on what I was promising my clients (and not just how to sell it).

Or realized how emotionally attached I was to getting that “yes” at the end of my sales calls. 

Or how being emotionally attached to making the sale was hindering my capacity for growth, holding me back from what might be possible, and keeping me stuck in the hustle and grind to drive my business forward while driving myself into the ground.

But my business did break down.

I did learn those lessons – and every single one of them led to a breakthrough in how I thought about the work I was putting into the world, shifting how I show up in my business, how I show up for my clients, and how I show up for myself.

Sometimes you need to breakdown to breakthrough to a new level of growth and understanding, to expand your perspective of the way things are and what is possible.

I’ve learned to look for opportunities in every obstacle – and to get out of my own damn way! 

I’ve learned to recognize my opportunities to grow so that my business can flourish, and I can, too. 

I’ve learned the steps to take to help my business grow from breakdown to breakthrough.

And it starts with getting clear on what the problem really is.

Step One – Name the Problem

Sometimes when we’re in the middle of a breakdown, we get so caught up in the chaos that we fail to really specifically look at what the problem is. In the moment it might feel like everything is falling apart, but in reality there is a specific issue, challenge, incident, client, or contract that needs to be addressed. 

The first step in navigating a breakdown is to name the root problem – not just a symptom of the problem. It’s easy to see the fire, and putting out the fire is always your first priority, but to fully resolve the situation you need to find out what started the fire in the first place.

Here’s a real life example that one of my clients found herself navigating recently. Her company was transitioning the software they use to run their internal processes – everything from their client scheduling interface to internal updates and emails – because their old software didn’t offer the support they needed as the business grew. 

They spent weeks preparing for the April 1 launch date, but there are always hiccups in any system transition. So, when I received her panic text that said she was ready to throw everything out the window, I knew that I needed to help her clarify what was really going wrong so that she could stop panicking and start problem solving.

Once we started talking through the issues, it became clear that the foremost issue was that the new software wasn’t letting her do some really specific, essential things the way she expected to do them. But most of her stress was coming from a thought born out of her own difficulties with the new system. She was worried about the client experience and that her clients would be upset about the changes. 

Clarifying the biggest challenges and naming them helped remove some of the stress and panic so that we could start working towards finding a solution.

Step 2: Interrogate the Truth

Ask yourself – if everyone in the world were faced with the situation you’re facing, would they react the same way that you’re reacting?

If it is true that every person on earth would react the same way, then it is a universal truth, or Truth with a capital “T.”

However, if you can see that some folks might react differently to the breakdown you’re facing, then the way that you’re responding isn’t the only option available. 

It isn’t truth with a capital T, it’s what you’ve decided is true for you.

When there is more than one way to respond to the breakdown you’re dealing with, then all of a sudden, there’s a glimmer of another possibility. There’s a way out, another opportunity, a different way of doing things.

That changes everything.

Step 3: Ask “What else is possible?”

After I lost most of my clients, it took about a month and a half of despairing and digging myself a deeper hole before I was able to take a step back and start interrogating the truth of the situation. 

It was when I was able to ask myself if there might be another way to handle the experience that I was able to start creating the space I needed to expand my perspective and find a breakthrough in my business breakdown.

My client could have tossed the new software out the window, along with the money and months of preparation she had invested, and gone back to her original interface, but she never would have known how it might have turned out in the end.

Instead she took a few breaths, reached out for support, talked it through with her coach, and started making a list of the issues her team was having so they could troubleshoot solutions. 
This step isn’t about getting it right or wrong, it’s about exploring the possibilities and being open to opportunity. Ask yourself, “what else is possible?” and write down all the different ways that particular breakdown could be handled, from the most practical to the absolutely outrageous. After all, losing your sense of humor isn’t going to help the situation.

Step 4: Choose a Difference Response

There would have been nothing wrong with my client throwing the new software out the window. It doesn’t impact me if my client throws the software out the window, it only impacts her and her business – nobody else freaking cares.

You can look at that any way you want, but the truth is that there is no “good” or “right” or “wrong” way. 

What matters is what serves you best.

When you have a list of all the possible ways you could navigate this breakdown, you can ask start asking yourself –

What would best serve your business, your team, and your clients? 

What will keep you stuck? 

What will help you start moving forward?

What approach will help you turn the breakdown into a breakthrough?

Getting from breakdown to breakthrough is about keeping yourself open to what is possible as much as possible, even while you’re in the middle of facing a challenge.

When you take a deep breath and step back from the situation to ask yourself these questions, instead of getting stuck in the spiral of frustration, you create an opportunity to reinterpret the situation and reimagine what the solution could look like. 

Here’s your recap of how to go from Business Breakdown to Brilliant Breakthrough..

#1. Name the problem. Not the symptoms, the root cause.

#2. Interrogate the truth. Have you discovered a universal truth or is there perhaps another way of interpreting the situation?

#3. Ask “what else is possible?”. What is the most practical way you could attempt to resolve the issue? What is the most outlandish?

#4. Choose a different response. The only “right” way to remedy the situation is the way that best serves you, your team, your business, and your clients – and you get to decide what that looks like.

Instead of spiraling in frustration, use these steps to turn your business breakdown into a new opportunity and create your own brilliant breakthrough.


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