It’s Lonely, and I’m My Worst Enemy!
In tonight’s blog, guest writer Bruce Baker shares with us about the destructive mindsets that can lead many small businesses to fail. We hope you find a valuable resource in “It’s Lonely, and I’m My Worst Enemy.”
We only start living when we stop defending ourselves.
There is never a day I don’t hear someone expressing the dire consequences they face if or when they fail. In a previous article, I explored the unhealthy mode many of us business owners and leaders are in – the mode that almost anything these days is a catastrophe if it is not solved within a few minutes or, G-d forbid by the end of the day!
This destructive mindset is why most small businesses fail, not because of the lack of tools and resources but due to being trapped by their self-destructive thoughts. Never has there been a time I have either helped a business owner scale up, start up or fix up their business because of the tools and solutions I worked with them on. It was first because of a reshaping of their mindset that brought them sustainable success.
Although the above is just one of many destructive behaviours, what amplifies them is attempting to resolve their challenges in isolation. If an individual has a challenge to solve, the intellectual part of the solution is simple for the most part. Still, the emotional component is where complexity rears its ugly head. We all can identify where we were trying to solve a problem, only to be paralyzed by decision fatigue or simply indecision. Some of the regular comments I hear from business owners are:
- I know what needs to be done but have to think about it a bit more.
- I know it’s the right thing to do, but I am worried about….
- I need to look at a few more options before I make my decision.
- Oh well, another day, just a different pile….
The last statement is of particular importance because this is the one, I hear when business owners have finally shut themselves down to those around them. The challenges are not isolated to business concerns but a mix of business and personal/family-related issues. We are taught not to mix business with personal life or to ensure a “work-life balance.” Let’s not fool ourselves. As business owners, these two entities, for many if not most, are interlinked and to try and fully separate these two emotionally is almost impossible. The consequences are catastrophic, not only in terms of business failure but losing what is most dear to us personally. The challenge now becomes insurmountable, and everything seems to be crumbling around us until we change one thing.
Being open to identifying and engaging with a like-minded individual or group to rely upon is by far one of the most powerful solutions any business owner has in their arsenal. The need to be in control is a critical foundation of our success and to be in control means we need to be connected and being connected makes us comfortable. Being comfortable allows us to share the strong emotions and stories we must tell. The power is not just in what we tell but the realization that we are not alone and many if not all have experienced the same emotions and the challenges they bring to their businesses. The big difference is that many have resolved these challenges and have become successful in all spectrums of their lives, including building outstanding companies!
Most challenged business owner I engage with initially resists this notion when I first suggest it. Some say it sounds like a therapy session, others say it sounds like they are attending an “Alcohol Anonymous’ group session. “How on earth are you going to help me grow my business by fixing my emotions?” said one business owner to me. His reaction was simply self-preservation, the need for self-reliance and ensuring others to know “we have it under control”. Plainly put, the resistance for many comes from the downright feeling of embarrassment. The embarrassment comes from thinking others may consider you incapable or questioning your ability to build and run a business or telling others that you are not someone to do business with.
All this false talk prevents us from taking advantage of this powerful opportunity that we all have available to us! The more we remain in this state the more we isolate and rely on the “emotional mess” that’s we’ve created for ourselves.
I have and continue to have the privilege of working with business owners individually and in groups where we work through their challenges, both professionally and personally. This hybrid solution consistently creates business success because challenges are solved and built upon successfully, not just because of introducing new systems and solutions in their businesses but also overall life solutions that are the primary driver of success in building a business.
Consider how much hardship you cause yourself and the great need you may have in defending your actions and decisions. The amount of unnecessary energy you spend is exhausting, and you deserve better!