This is How Your Business Succeeds: Vision, Reflection, Education

Jen McFarland
The Startup
Published in
5 min readJul 21, 2018


During the early stages of your business, it’s easy to get excited — you assume success is imminent.

You see other companies achieving great success, and you decide that’s where you are going to. So, you get to work.

One press account said I was an overnight success. I thought that was the longest night I’ve ever spent. — Sandra Cisneros

The only problem is once you get to work, you forget to stop and take a break.

I’m not talking about a coffee break. I’m talking about stepping back and reflecting on your business trajectory.

How did you get here? Is here where you want to be?

You forget to pull back. You are so busy in the daily grind. Hustling. Working. Serving. When was the last time you stopped to think about how you will reach your goals and who you are bringing along with you?

Success is a well-oiled, well-planned machine. Success takes years. But it is worthwhile if you put in the time to create the business (and life) you want.

That’s why you need to pause for a minute and consider the three pillars successful businesses integrate into their practices to make sure they stay on track:

1. Visioning: Your Success Depends on Your Vision

According to Ari Weinzweig, “A vision, quite simply, is a picture of what success will be at a particular time in the future.” Weinzweig knows a thing or two about business visioning — he’s grown his delicatessen into eight different businesses with about 500 employees.

Visioning is creating the idea of what you want your business to be. What do you want?

If your business could be anything — what would success look like?

You can easily find ‘business visioning’ exercises via Google.

I’m not asking you to do that.

I’m asking you to dream. Dig deep.

How does that change you vision?

Explore all the nooks and crannies of what that best business world. As the leader, it wouldn’t do you any harm to consider what your life looks like inside that best future business.

It will affect your life, after all.

That requires introspection.

To thrive, all businesses must focus on the art of self-disruption. Rather than wait for the competition to steal your business, every founder and employee needs to be willing to cannibalize their existing revenue streams in order to create new ones. All disruption starts with introspection. — Jay Samit

2. Introspection: Replace Stagnation with Growth

Another word for observation, introspection is taking a step inside of your plan, digging into it and considering how things are working. Or not working.

The truth is, as business owners we don’t know if things are working unless we measure it, and then pause for reflection.

Reflection can take many forms.

It might be celebrating a big win and making a list of what worked, and what didn’t work.

When you’re about to make a significant shift, you may feel called to pause — follow that instinct.

Or maybe you’re like Warren Buffett, and Richard Branson, who are both known to write regularly, not only so they can stay sharp, but also to keep on top of their business and have an anchor point for assessing successes (and failures).

About those failures. If you’re not failing, you’re not working hard enough to get out of your comfort zone. Time to get real with yourself about your lack of failure.

If you’ve had a recent failure, that’s experience. And there’s no better way to grow than to have a ‘Come to Jesus’ meeting with yourself so that shit doesn’t happen again.

For your business to grow, you have to be willing to learn.

Photo by Kyle Glenn on Unsplash

3. Education: Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself

You’ve checked in on your vision. You’ve reflected on it, explored it, and now you’re ready to do something, right?


Or you could check in with a mentor.

You could look at your business financial projections with a fresh set of eyes. Evaluate how others before you succeeded (or failed) attempting to follow your vision.

Education looks different depending on your business vision and what you learned through self-exploration. Knowledge-gathering for a startup in disruption mode is different from a solopreneur adding a new product or a multi-national corporation considering a merger.

The point is, even the most prominent, most successful gunslingers (Richard Branson, Elon Musk) are well-researched gunslingers. These leaders surround themselves with people smarter than them so they can be cocksure before they pop off to the press.

You need to be too — regardless of your business size or goals.

Your Process Never Ends and That’s Good

Not only are these three pillars the strong base of your business, but they are also the main components of a constant process that you must implement if you want to be successful.

In business — and in life.

To take your business to the next level you have to continually set your sights on the next big goal, evaluating your plan for getting there, and then making that plan a reality.

Or, course correcting to make sure you’re in alignment. And then making those big dreams a reality.

If you don’t, you might end up feeling burned out. Or worse yet, you might give up your dream.

And the world needs your dream to become a reality. Because when you succeed, we all succeed.

Want to learn from your growth hacking?

I’ve created a guide to help you measure your growth hacking efforts.

Ready to experience these pillars in action? Check out Tim McCain’s interview on the Third Paddle Podcast:

Listen to “Tim’s Transformational Journey Will Make You A Better Leader.”

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Jen McFarland
The Startup

Passionate about women-led businesses. Advocating leadership, project, and digital marketing best practices.