Why we only progress when we work ON business and not IN business

So here goes with Chris Barrow ColdTurkeyTober stats:

My weight – 74Kg (ideal for my age/height is 70.85).

My BMI – 22.6 (normal for my age/height is between 18.5 and 25).

Calories required per day to stay the same = 2476. Calories to lose weight would be c.2,000.


We’ll see how the month proceeds with no alcohol, Paleo nutrition and 250km of targeted running (starting this morning).

I’ll be running the Manchester Half Marathon on Sunday 15th October and my third marathon in 3 months on Saturday 28th October – The Beachy Head Trail Marathon (a testing route with plenty of climbs).

For now…

It’s Monday morning and my brain is asking “where did the weekend go?”, my body is asking “when do we get to rest?”

No such luck – it’s a full-on Bunker Day today, with follow up to complete after the Retreat weekend, catch up on emails and then a task list of some significance including accounts analysis for two practices, slide preparation for The Showcase and personal preparation for a 1.5 day retreat with my business coach Rachel Turner, starting in London tomorrow afternoon.

So, having disrupted the lives of my retreat clients over the weekend, it will be Rachel’s turn to do the same for me between now and Wednesday evening. I’m excited at the prospect and open to learning and change.

The ultimate goal will be to decide what exactly the Coach Barrow business model will be for the next three years, given my personal and professional aspirations.

My next proper coaching meeting with a client will be Wednesday evening and, by then, I’ll have invested 6 consecutive days in working ON my client’s businesses and my own, before getting back to working IN my business mid-week.

It’s the distinction between working ON it and IN it that gives rise to progress, very little of which can be made whilst you are at your commercial rock face.

One of the moments of truth during the weekend retreat was explaining that I now book a quarterly 3-day retreat with myself (that’s 3 consecutive days in every 12 weeks) to work ON my life and business. Planning the time, the money and the people that I will need to move forward, pondering the WHO I need to be to make it all work (hence ColdTurkeyTober).

The retreat was superb and I’ll be publishing some testimonials over the days ahead. I’m already persuaded to repeat the event in the first half of next year and will broadcast details in due course.

There will be no more than 4 couples at any future retreat.

Drop an email to coachbarrow@me.com if you want to be shortlisted.

Have a great week.


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Chris Barrow

Chris Barrow has been active as a consultant, trainer and coach to the UK dental profession for over 20 years. As a writer, his blog enjoys a strong following and he is a regular contributor to the dental press. Naturally direct, assertive and determined, he has the ability to reach conclusions quickly, as well as the sharp reflexes and lightness of touch to innovate, change tack and push boundaries. In 2014 he appeared as a “castaway” in the first season of the popular reality TV show “The Island with Bear Grylls”. His main professional focus is as Coach Barrow, providing coaching and mentorship to independent dentistry.

4 thoughts on “Why we only progress when we work ON business and not IN business”

  1. But generally I agree. We had the first morning huddle of the week and I said “what are our goals for the week?”

    The answer was the usual mixture of:
    “see the paitents on time”
    “make it to next weekend with our sanity intact”

    which are actually great goals, but apart from the middle one, they’re difficult to measure. Also they aren’t really strategic things that will help us have a better 2018 beyond the idea that we do the day to day work well.

  2. Hi Chris, I’m on the coldturkeytober journey with you. Will be checking in for motivation. Roll on day 3!

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