On Being Your Own Boss
Entrepreneurship is not for everyone. It is a life path that challenges every aspect of being. It can be immensely rewarding, as well as terrifying. The truth is that some people go into entrepreneurship for the wrong reasons. Some people approach it as if they have something to prove. They appear angry. They seem to express an “it’s me against the world,” mentality. I see entrepreneurship as an expression of freedom. However, that freedom comes with great responsibility. It is not the kind of freedom when you aren’t beholden to anything or anyone. Quite the opposite — you are beholden to yourself and to those you provide for in your life.
Make no mistake about it: all of your survival processes will be triggered. So I think it is critical to determine what you really want. As Abraham Maslow said, “One can go backward toward safety or forward toward growth.” That is not a dare. You are not less than for wanting to feel safe. Eventually you can have both…but it will be intermittent. You can’t build a business without incurring risk.
What Are You Hungry For?
We are all different. Yet, we are also all the same. Most of us want something. Some of us know how to articulate what we want while others struggle to identify what they want most. It doesn’t matter what services or products you sell. You are in the business of providing something people want. In some cases you may also be providing what people need.
Every so often in my life, both personally and professionally, I ask myself “What do I want more of?” Then I ask myself “What do I want less of?” And when I am meeting with clients (therapy, coaching/consultation, supervision), I consider the same questions of them.
What does this person “want more of” and what does this person “seem to want less of?” It is important to listen to what a person says they want. But if you only do that, you are setting a limitation on what is possible.
To truly make a difference for yourself and for others, you have to ask the question – “What are you hungry for?”
Let Go of Prior Ideas
Once what is truly wanted is uncovered, you have a better chance at achieving it. The next step is to let go of preconceived notions. When you let go of prior ideas…yours and theirs you have a chance to conceptualize something new. The something “new” doesn’t have to be innovative. It simply has to effectively deliver the answer to the questions that helped to uncover what is truly desired.
Almost anytime someone is dragging their feet is an opportunity to deepen one’s understanding of their true desires. For example, some people think they want a relationship. But what they truly want is to be happy. A relationship can contribute to one’s happiness but it is not the foundation for “happiness.”
Some people want to earn a 6- or 7-figure income. They may, for example, believe that this will give them “peace of mind.” Some people truly believe that all of the challenges they face can be resolved with “enough” money. That is, of course, not true either. Peace of mind is something we must work to cultivate regardless of our level of monetary resources. There are very anxious, angry and resentful people across the income spectrum.
If you find yourself or someone you are serving at a roadblock: Stand still, stop pushing…take some time to explore what will truly bring more peace or happiness. It could be more support, more free time, more connection, better health and so on.
Work is Work
There is misconception out there about “doing what you love.” The misconception is that if you do what you love you will “never do a days work in your life.” In my experience that is not true. I love the work that I do…but it is still work. It is work in the sense that there are things to do or delegate. There are plans to make and implement. There is work to be overseen or directed. If you are interested in entrepreneurship because you want to divorce yourself from work…you are mistaken.
If you want whatever you build or offer to fulfill its intended purpose and be sustainable, it will be you that has to see to it. This does not mean that you have to go it all alone. It does not mean you can’t get help. What it means is that work is work. It means that you have to take responsibility for it all.
Persistence, Discipline, Focus and Accountability
- Persistence is a key ingredient to anything you want to achieve. You will have to repeat certain steps over and over again. You will have to get up when you fall down. You will have to breathe through the pain points. Whether you are trying to excel at sports, or in the arts, or in business — persistence is key. Don’t give up. It’s worth stating again…Letting go does not equal giving up. Sometimes letting go is a course correction. It can be the response to the question “What are you hungry for?”
- Discipline is the difference maker. Anything that I’ve done well has involved being disciplined. It involves a non-negotiable agreement with one’s self. When I have failed, it has almost always been because I did not develop any discipline or rituals to sustain my efforts. Everything deserves a process. Without a process…you can have the best content or product in the world and it won’t make a difference for you or anyone else.
- Focus is critical to getting anything done. Too often people/entrepreneurs swing from one idea to the next; juggling multiple tasks and projects. I often liken the process of having multiple income streams to spinning plates. You can’t move on to start the next plate spinning until you have the 1st plate going. Even after you start the 1st plate, you have to come back to it after the 2nd plate is spinning. Now you have two plates to spin. You can then entertain a 3rd plate and so on. If you try to spin too many plates at once…one or more will fall.
- Accountability is the engine. Motivation and intent are important. Knowing what you want is a must. But nothing propels people forward like accountability. You must have accountability partners or you must have built in incentives to keep you on track. Accountability is about checking in and acknowledging how far you’ve come and where you are heading. Accountability means that someone is expecting something from you and you must deliver. This is why it can be internal (incentives) or external (accountability). If you are in a slump, an external accountability partner is critical to getting honest with yourself about being off-track or off-purpose.
Copyright © 2017 Ruby Blow. All rights reserved.