My parents were Small Business owners, so where there’s, so I believe I almost inherited the small business gene and have found myself advocating for it most of my adult life!
Small Business was never an easy feat for my parents. I watched and experienced first-hand the despair and suffering faced when they lost their manufacturing business in the 90’s recession, a challenge that knocked every bit of confidence out of them and consequently made them lose faith in Small Business.
Sadly, this lead them down the path of many poor business choices to follow.
Reflecting back (isn’t hindsight a wonderful thing) I have acknowledged that a reason behind their lack of future success was because their drive and decision making processes had been motivated by financial gain – an eagerness to just “get back on their feet”.
They had lost the heart, the purpose and the Why behind their business endeavours and without that soul, without that depth – there was minimal, if any, growth, gain, success and joy!
As they say…the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree, and 20 years later I found myself facing a similar obstacle.
I was 11.5 years into a business I grew from roots up, and although it was financially thriving and had established a reputable status in town, I was feeling stuck, unsatisfied and there was definitely a lack of joy.
From the outskirts, my business appeared tremendously successful, based on the ‘cliché’ definition of Success, and although I was continuing to get so much joy from the dance teaching portion of it, a bigger part of me felt lost and consumed…why didn’t success feel amazing???
4.5 years later, after having made one of the most challenging decisions of my life to sell, I now know why.
The WHY behind my venture, the inner spark that inspired me to create one of the towns largest dance studios had started to dwindle.
I could no longer identify with it.
I was lost in paperwork, marketing, managing staff and a premises and tending to the needs, wants and expectations of everybody else. I was sacrificing my role as a mother, the mother I wanted to be, for the ‘sake’ of the success of my business, but in return it was at the sacrifice of my mental, emotional and physical well-being.
Unfortunately, I don’t have the miraculous answer on HOW to succeed in business, because what that means for me, may look very different for you.
I am here to ask the bigger questions.
Why are you doing this?
What is your drive and motivation?
And most importantly…how does it feel?
Success for me is a full heart, a natural buzz and flow when immersed in the ‘work’, a feeling of satisfaction and gratefulness derived from acknowledging how my special something (my business) is having a positive impact on the world that I live in.
I am in no way suggesting that running a small business is all rainbows and unicorns, quite the opposite with children to be honest, but what I am asking is ‘why does it have to be such a struggle?
Why are we making professional choices that are not in line with our values, our priorities or desires?
I wholeheartedly believe that with a true purpose and intention, success will follow. Your definition of success.
We are human beings. Seekers of connection.
If you, as a business owner, believe in and genuinely feel connected to what it is you are promoting, selling, offering, then people will believe you and will follow.
And not only will they follow, they will spread their positive experience with their friends, families and colleagues. And they will follow too.
After many years of digging deep and personal enquiry and development, I later learnt that being immersed in the struggle of my parent’s professional careers, was actually having an enormous effect on the way that I was operating as a business owner.
Struggle is all I knew, and I was replicating this struggle in my business choices. I often had no control over my work/life balance, I was fearful that if I wasn’t working hard enough I wasn’t deserving of the income I was gaining, and I took every bit of feedback (constructive or not) to heart, unable to put emotion aside and approach situations diplomatically.
I also discovered many weird, wonderful and scary things about myself, that on reflection was having an enormous effect on the way I ‘do business!’
My paradigms, my limiting beliefs, were well and truly getting in the way of creating the business I wanted deep down.
Being a business owner is daunting, I liken it to basically stripping your clothes off and standing in the middle of the highway, exposed, raw and vulnerable!!
When we place ourselves in these unguarded situations our weaknesses tend to thrive. And our weaknesses often stem from behavioural patterns we have been exposed to or inherited as a youngster.
This concept might resonate with some or many of you, others of you might think I’m crazy, but could I be so bold as to invite you to start becoming a little more aware of the way you, personally, operate in your business, in your world?
What language do you use?
What stories do you tell others?
Does it comes from a place of lack or rather from a place of trust and abundance?
I end this post with a quote written by Marie Forleo, that continues to inspire me each time I read it;
“Your potential is limitless. You are unique, valuable, capable and worthy of the dreams in your heart. Most of all, you have what it takes to transform and transcend whatever challenges you face”.
When was the last time you took a step back from being the ‘business owner’ and looked in?
When was the last time you looked at your brand and allowed yourself to FEEL the reaction?
The world only needs one of us…and what you have to offer IS unique and IS needed!
You are in the drivers seat…FIND. THE. YOU.