Ok. There are a lot more than just three things that you will learn from running your own business. You will learn a ton of things. A ton of things about running a business and a ton of things about yourself. This post will focus on three lessons that fall under the category of mindset because I see my clients struggle a lot in this area. To be honest, I see my friends and family members struggle in this area as well. And to be really honest and transparent, I struggle in this area all of the time. So, maybe this will be a good life lesson all the way around for everyone!
1. You get to choose
Do you ever feel like you just don’t have any options? I know I’ve caught myself saying, “I really don’t have any other choice than to do X.” Maybe you’ve said this in relation to the type of services you provide or how you deliver them. Maybe you’ve said this in regards to delegation, or lack of delegation if you are like most small business owners. Maybe you’ve said this as a response to requests you’ve received.
I’m here to tell you, whether you think you do or don’t, you have choices and you get to choose which ones you want to exercise. You get to choose which services you provide, so choose the ones that are in your wheelhouse and make you happy. You get to choose whether you burn yourself out because you are afraid to let others help you or you accept and receive help from others so that you don’t kill yourself. And, you get to choose which meetings you agree to and what events you attend. Never accept an invitation if it isn’t going to further your purpose or fill your soul.
You will learn from running your own business that replacing “I have to” and “I can’t” with “I choose to” or “I choose not to” is a mindset you must adopt if you want to be successful. You have choices, don’t let anyone tell you differently.
2. You get to decide
There is a difference between seeking advice and counsel and seeking permission. Most of us will look for outside advice and counsel before making a big decision. It can be a very lonely and isolated feeling to run your own business. Especially if you are a solopreneur. I know my dog, Roxy, gets very tired of brainstorming big decisions with me and is relieved when I go find an actual person to talk through things.
We typically find outside counsel for two reasons. One, we need to bounce ideas, think out loud, or need a sanity check to make sure we have thought through everything before we make a decision. Or, two, we are looking for permission to make the decision or for someone else to make the decision for us.
You will learn from running your own business that not only do you get to decide, you have to decide. Relying on others to give you permission to do things with your business or to give you the answers is not going to translate to business success (or life success for that matter). Do the work to collect the right data, information, and input, but then you make the decision. The ownership and empowerment that comes from taking responsibility for decision making is liberating.
3. You get to drive your actions
Since you get to choose and you get to decide, you get to control what drives your actions. Ask yourself this. Are your actions driven by your instincts or by your fears?
I would bet that this happens to every single business owner at least once in the life of their business. My guess is that it is more likely that it happens at least once per week and maybe even once per day. See if this story sounds familiar. You are moving along in your business and things are working pretty well. Then you hit a few disappointments. It could be anything – not closing a big sale, not closing enough sales, taking a financial loss, making a wrong decision, etc. All of these together can make you start doubting yourself and start second guessing your actions and decisions. Then fear officially creeps in. You are afraid of making another mistake. You are afraid of making a wrong decision. You are afraid of being rejected. You stop taking risks. You stop trying new things. And you go into panic mode, letting fear drive your decisions.
You will learn from running your own business how to become very good at distinguishing between fear (which are lies that you tell yourself) and instinct (which is the truth that you tell yourself). Fear does have a purpose. Fear is there to get you to stop and think. But once you stop, you have to distinguish between truth and negative self-talk to push through the fear so that you can take the next step. Don’t let fear drive your decisions. Don’t let fear ruin your potential for a full and happy business or a full and happy life.
It’s true that you have to have some business smarts about you to run a successful business. Or at least be smart enough to surround yourself with people with business smarts. But it is also true that it doesn’t matter how much business smarts you have if you don’t have the right mindset to go with them. I’ve seen some very non-business people kick butt as entrepreneurs and I’ve seen some really seasoned business people fail at launching their own business. It’s amazing how much of success comes down to mindset. And the sooner you learn these three lessons, the sooner you will experience more consistent success in your own business. (And life!)