OK, that was a little harsh. But really, it’s a valid and oh so important question.
As entrepreneurs, we can so easily get derailed. The temptations are many, and they center around one thing.
You are not connected with yourself.
When that’s the case, it’s easier to look outside of yourself for answers.
Without that connection, you can open yourself up to a lot of aimless wandering. Enter the gremlins.
Gremlin #1. I can tell you what to do.
Oh crap, this one I have both experienced and observed. And it’s not pretty.
The well-meaning tool-wielder who wants to tell you who you are and from that profile, what to do in your business. Or the tough-love drill sergeant, barking orders that, ‘This is the way!’ Even the coach who hides that they have no idea how to help you to discover your own way, and instead pushes you in the direction that is familiar to them, even if it’s wrong for you.
In retrospect, these all seem clear, but at the time, I was drawn in too. This gremlin seems to offer the way out of terrifying uncertainty. It’s so understandable. And so damaging. At the very least, you’ll be delayed from finding your true way with these detours.
Gremlin #1 Protector: If you hear the words, “I can tell you who you are/what to do,” your inner radar will begin sending out alerts. Listen to those signals, and step away if you’re being led away from what feels right for you.
Gremlin #2. Follow your fears.
Your own subconscious can lead you astray. It’s so uncomfortable to be uncomfortable! Uncertainty will do that. Until you accept that discomfort is part of being an entrepreneur, a necessity for growth, it’s only natural to want to avoid it. So you can become ruled by your fears.
Feeling nervous about practicing an elevator pitch? The fear gremlin at work: Avoid it, because surely, at some unknown point in the future, you’ll feel better about trying it.
Reluctant to invest in your learning? The fear gremlin advises: keep going with what you know, because that seems easier. Besides, you’re working so hard anyway.
Halfheartedly exploring ways to reach out to your audience? The fear gremlin says, dipping in your toe to see if the water’s inviting is really the more prudent way, isn’t it? And far more comfortable than plunging in wholeheartedly to learn as much as you can, and learning to deal with rejection instead.
Being ruled by your fears in your business stunts your growth, both personally and professionally. You’ll never be fulfilled and discover the full scope of what you can do by letting this gremlin run things.
Gremlin #2 Protector: Your inner radar, your truth, will help you identify when you’re running your business by the fear gremlin when a decision feels constricting instead of liberating.
Gremlin #3. Do things by the book.
By now, you’re probably clear that following anyone’s guidance to the letter is a bad recipe for business success. That includes guidance in well-respected publications and from people who’ve been enormously successful.
One of the beautiful aspects of having your own business is that you get to be creative and express yourself. The way that you stand out from the crowd is to put your unique stamp on the familiar. You can even innovate something entirely new at times.
Advice from those who’ve been there is helpful, yes. Learn from it, and apply it in your own way, rather than robotically following it. Be a student, not an acolyte.
Gremlin #3 Protector: Processes and consistency are a good thing. Structure is a good thing. But…when you include them in your business, make a conscious choice about whether they are right for you and your business. Don’t just follow a prescription.
In your business, you can make a real difference in the world. In the lives of the people within your business: your team, your clients, your suppliers.
You can make a difference in the big wide world too. You can only do that if you are successful, if you can keep going and sustain your business in a healthy way.
To do that, you’ll have to be clear about who you are and have faith in yourself.
I’m not saying you arrive at the entrance door to entrepreneurship with complete self-knowledge and confidence. I mean really, who has that? Like all of us, I’m still working on that one!
Even with that compassionate knowledge in mind, you’ve got to be willing and open to learning about who you are, and develop trust in that truth. That is what the best mentors will nurture in you.
Your inner radar, that unique inner voice of truth and clarity, is available to you. Clearing the way to hearing it is your best path to creating the business that you are meant to have.
It is your uniqueness, your rare and irreplaceable voice, that will guide you to creating a business that stands out and thrives.
So who the bleep is running your business anyway? For sustainable success and true fulfillment, it’s the unique and beautiful you, all the way.