How to Stay Grounded When Curveballs Come Your Way — Lessons From My Startup Journey


When I started Newberry Executive Solutions in 2008, I didn’t have a specific brand or company in mind that I wanted to emulate, but I did come from a company with a very strong brand – Deloitte. I learned a lot from my 14 years of consulting, coaching and leadership experience there. In particular, I understood the importance of consistently demonstrating value, living and breathing my company values and showing how my company was a leader in its field. When you do this, people will refer you business time and again because they know what to expect and know they can count on your company to get the job done well.

We all hit bumps in the road — those times when it feels hard to be an entrepreneur or to be in whatever role you hold. There are three key strategies that I leverage in my executive coaching work and that I still use for myself today.

  • First, stop and remember what this business or role is really about for you. Tapping into the underlying passion that fueled the startup of your company or the pursuit of this career path is important. What are you really trying to accomplish?

  • Next, get specific about what it would mean to achieve success. How would you be feeling? What would be happening? It’s important to write this out in detail and let yourself visualize it.

  • Finally, surround yourself with people who can remind you of those things, when you cannot do it for yourself. It’s important to set this up in advance, before you hit an emotional dip, so people know when and how to help.

The nerve-racking headlines about the economy we're barraged with now remind me a lot of what was going on when I launched my business. I am a pretty confident person, but I wasn’t mentally prepared for the economy tanking just three months after I started my company. To help myself get over the anxiety I felt, I mapped out how much time I would give myself to be successful – and I defined what success would look like for different increments of time (three months, six months, nine months, one year, etc.). I also focused on just two or three steps at a time. This strategy of taking small steps and staying in the present (instead of the past or future), kept me from feeling overwhelmed by the task of launching a successful business that would develop strong business leaders and provide income comparable to or better than my income at Deloitte.

Fortunately, I didn’t have naysayers around me — because I chose to surround myself with people who have the right energy. Most people couldn’t imagine starting a company at the time I did it, but they didn’t discourage me. My family and friends know that it takes a lot for me to walk away from anything. So, please think about what kind of energy and support you need in your life, to maintain your passion and fuel your efforts. Those day-to-day messages and stories you tell yourself can be the difference between success and failure.

In 2008, I didn’t know I’d be relaunching my company two years later in 2010 in Dallas. These strategies, along with a few other simple ones, helped me double my business that year while retaining my original clients. And my business continues to grow. It’s been an unpredictable but exciting journey. Remember to enjoy every step of it.