You have ideas about where you want your business to go.

And you probably have plans and marketing strategies about how to get there.

Although you would like the experience to be a smooth and predictable one, it rarely happens that way.

You may have seen this diagram, or some version of it, before.









Image credit: This Is A Book, by Demetri Martin

But instead of a line (straight or tangled) that always heads upward and to the right toward your goals, why not consider another option.

An alternative way to think about your success path is to view your business and marketing journey as a river.

“Kawa is the Japanese word for ‘river’. The Kawa Model uses the natural metaphor of a river to depict one’s life journey. The Kawa Model (2006) was created by a team of occupational therapists in Japan led by a Japanese-Canadian occupational therapy scholar.” Teoh J. Y. & Iwama M. K. 

I learned about the Kawa Model from an article in Fast Company that applies the Kawa framework to a professional journey. 

Immediately I thought, if the Kawa model which was created for the journey of life but could also be applied to a professional career, then it could absolutely be useful for the experience of small business owners.

This concept resonates with me deeply as a nature lover and as a person who knows that while the entrepreneurial experience can be thrilling, it is not always easy.

And it definitely does not unfold in an unswerving way.

So instead of viewing your path as an uphill struggle to reach some higher level, try to reimagine your route as a river.

“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.” Lao Tzu

It is possible to run your business from a place of peace and serenity and be prosperous.

A River is Always Moving

Just like a river which is always moving, sometimes fast and sometimes slow, staying in action is important for the well-being of your business.

Clarity comes from action and action creates momentum. More on this here.

Consistency is a form of continuous movement. Consistency builds trust and allows you to be visible to the people who are looking for you. Go deeper on this here

“A river cuts through rock, not because of its power, but because of its persistence.” James N. Watkins

You also learn by taking action. And sometimes action is the only way to determine what’s next. Action also helps you discover and refine what’s working and what isn’t.

Action includes being proactive and asking for what you want. The answer will not always be yes, and that’s fine. Read more about how to handle no, here.

A River Will Encounter Obstacles

Nature is always changing and a river faces continuous challenges.

Your business is also subject to unforeseen events and variable conditions.

Sometimes this can be a good thing. A path you didn’t consider may bring you an even more beautiful opportunity than you had originally planned.

Remember, there is always more than one way to reach your destiny. There are many, many ways. So when one passage doesn’t work out, look for a way to divert in another direction.

And if you approach this with mindfulness, the journey will be even easier. For more on mindful marketing, click here

Trust the flow and know that the river, and your business, will find a way around, over, or through the obstacles you meet.

A River Encounters Different Seasons

A river flows in different ways at different times of the year.

The speed and direction of a river change over time and you can expect the same for your business.

Sometimes things move quickly like rapids and other times it’s more like a gentle stream.

Being in flow as you work in your business is rewarding and effective. Read more about flow in this post

Seasons are a part of nature, life, and business. Accepting this, removes the pressure to always operate at a maximum level of productivity.

Some days your best will look different than other days and that is normal.

Perfection in business is a myth that will never be attained. 

Doing your best is an intention grounded in reality that can always be achieved. For more on this, check out this post

“May what I do flow from me like a river, no forcing and no holding back, the way it is with children.” Rainer Maria Rilke.

I hope this perspective supports you and your business and helps dispel the myth that the only direction that is important in business is up.

© Stephanie Ward

WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR NEWSLETTER, BLOG, OR WEBSITE? You can, as long as you include this information with it: Stephanie Ward is the Marketing Coach for Entrepreneurs who want to create meaningful and profitable businesses. Grab your FREE copy of the special report ‘7 Steps to Attract More Clients in Less Time’ plus business building tips, at:

How do you view your business?

Does this concept resonate with you?

Share your thoughts and questions on this topic in the comments section below. I respond to every single comment.

Stephanie Ward

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