Three Ways to Help Empower and Energize, Rather Than Stall Your S Curve

“Energy and persistence conquer all things.” Benjamin Franklin

Late last week, I spent two days with one of my childhood friends and a few of her friends (now my friends) at the beach. We walked, talked, explored; we ate; we enjoyed the sunshine and each other’s company.

My friend Kathleen first organized one of these girls’ weekends over a decade ago, followed by a few others scattered over the years. This past weekend was the fourth such gathering.

Something happened during this getaway that was different from the previous occasions. Instead of talking vaguely about the next time, someday in the undefined future, we started talking about next year. Where? When? What? We were specific.

I couldn’t help but think that the trajectory of these weekends is following that of an S Curve.

Kathleen organized the first one. She explored the outcome and thought, “maybe I’ll do it again.” But she also considered: did the event work? Who would attend a second time? Did they enjoy the first gathering enough to prioritize coming to a second iteration? Did these people, all her friends but random strangers to each other, gel?

She ultimately decided it had been a good get-together, but doing this big new thing was a big lift. So it was a few years before the next event happened. 

The second gathering offered up more data on feasibility and enjoyability. Kathleen determined it was fun and could work as a more frequent event.

So the third was a little easier; the group was coalescing, but then COVID happened, so four years intervened.

This year, Kathleen focused on making it happen, but another friend, Kathi, was also behind-the-scenes, encouraging, saying, ‘Let’s do this. When can we do this?”

And now, significant data has been collected about the success of this activity, and this past week she (and we) tipped into the sweet spot. We’re ready to make it an annual event. We’re wondering what fun things we might do, where we might go, and how it might look. The occasion has developed a momentum that starts to overflow from a singular effort.

The three ways she energized through the S Curve launch point were by following a pattern of exploration, collecting data —and persistence—all of which were precursors to the sweet spot.

Kathleen might have decided not to do it again after the first gathering. Or, after any one of the successive events, she might have found it wasn’t for her or wouldn’t work. But after collecting data and evaluating it, she decided to do it again. And again.

Remember, we compare the S Curve to a wave. At the launch point, there’s very little energy, but with the friction of a challenge, momentum starts to build, to eventually crest.

Is there anything in your life that was long at the launch point? Not because it was a bad idea but because it took a while to explore and collect, requiring patience and persistence.

This week’s podcast episode is with Andre Menezes, CEO and founder of Next Gen Foods, who is on a quest to make plant-based food so good, so meat-like, that for meat lovers like me –– we will eat it, like it, and know we are doing something good for our planet in the process. He and his team use the S Curve, albeit differently. 

In their case, it’s not persistence as much as it is an awareness that they are going so fast; they need to give themselves grace. They remind themselves that every few months, the entire company is on a new S Curve –– a new launch point where it will feel uncomfortable and scary.  And that’s normal. But when we persist with the process, we can get something magical—similar to this past weekend at the beach.

As always, thanks for being here!

My best,

P.S. If you are a coach or leader looking for an opportunity to help others grow, check out the Disruption Advisors’ Smart Growth Certification program. Learn more and register here.

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