How Did We Get Here? Four Lessons Learned After 10 Years in Business

by | Jul 2, 2020 | MaxEx

Maximizing Excellence celebrates ten years on July 15, 2020. TEN YEARS! Life sure looks a bit
different than it did ten years ago. On July 15, 2010, I had yet to be married … or have kids … or
live in Salem, South Dakota … or lose a parent … or try sushi … or meet hundreds of incredible
people doing amazing work all across South Dakota and the Midwest.

I also had some very valuable lessons to learn. Ten years later, this is what I know to be true:

Let Others Shine
For a very long time it was important to me that people saw what I was doing and told me I was
doing a good job. Now, not so much. Not because I no longer like being complimented, but
because it feels SO much better to tell others they are doing a good job. Whether it is one of my
amazing team members, a volunteer, or a client … I learned being part of elevating their abilities
and celebrating their achievements brings me great joy. It is fun and rewarding to watch others
enjoy the accolades of their good work. Seeing them shine comes with a multiplier effect that
cannot be matched in any other way.

The Show Must Go On
People have expectations. And when people have invested in a specific outcome, they deserve to
have their expectations met – if not amazingly exceeded. As someone who has battled depression for 25 years, there have been days where meeting expectations is hard. I learned to dig deep. I learned to find energy and mental toughness. I also learned to ask for help and let others step in. I learned being vulnerable is okay.

Reward Outweighs Risk
Depending on what outlet you look at, the percentage of businesses that make it ten years is
cited anywhere from 4-15%. Why would anyone willingly choose to start a business knowing
those odds? While I have definitely done some pretty ding-dong things along the way, when
faced with a fork in the road I chose the road less travelled. When asked if I knew how to do
something that I certainly did not know how to do (yet!) my answer was often, “I can figure it out.
Let’s try it!” I learned that it was in this mindset I was most creative, most energized, most
engaged, and most successful. The rewards from those risks are the only reason why I even get to write this reflection today.

Caring Counts
Why did I start a business? Because when I discovered the intersection of where my talents align
with changing peoples’ lives I could not turn away. What we do at Maximizing Excellence
strengthens the effectiveness of mission-driven organizations. This journey has reminded me time and time again that caring about the outcome and the people is the motivation needed to endure the pace, stress, mistakes, disappointments, and many balls in the air. I also learned how many others care, too. When I look back, I see so many incredible people who I will be bonded to
forever because of a shared commitment to making the “world” around us stronger, safer,
noisier, and all around better.

Today my cup runs over with gratitude toward my family, my team, my mentors, my clients, and
to everyone who believed me when I said, “I can figure it out. Let’s try it!”

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