24 Jan How to Have A Business That’s Authentically You
Why You Shouldn’t Listen to Business Gurus…
I’m going to start this blog off with a poem I came across recently about recognising and falling in love with yourself…
Love After Love
The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,
and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you
all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,
the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.
When I came across this poem, apart from introducing me to the work of this hugely talented man, it resonated with me on so many levels, and one of them was business, strangely enough. I will explain why…
Since I’ve been working for myself, a significant period of over 20 years, I’ve seen that business coaching or advice has fashions. We’ve had Michael Gerber and his E-myth,
encouraging everyone to create a business that can be replicated, systemised and possibly even franchised, taking you out of the business and instead constructing a McDonalds wannabee creation. We’ve also had Tim Feriss and his 4 Hour Work Week,
where he promises that we can all sustain our dreams lives by working for a few miserly hours a week. We’ve also had authors encouraging us to vision board our way to success, write our business desires and sit back and let the law of attraction do its work, or do just one thing to the exclusion of everything else.
I’m not about to ridicule any of these approaches, not at all. But my concern is the number of people who either jump from one “leading business expert” to the next, or wholeheartedly adopt the rules and structures of one particular writer and apply them rigorously to their own business and lives, without considering whether it’s really right for them.
My problem with both Gerber and Ferriss’ approach is that you really need to have passion to make a business work. For many of us, it’s not just about making money: it’s about creating something fantastic, an achievement of which you are really proud. If you love what you do, why would you want to sidle your way out of it? If your end goal has always been to create an empire then great, but if you’re doing this because an author says it’s the best way then you have to stop, breathe, and ask yourself “is this the best way for me?”
I believe there is a point in business where you’ve read the books, you’ve been to the workshops, and you’ve actually done the business; when you know enough to step back and decide that you want to run your business – your way – whether that’s a freelance practice or a company with employees. You will “greet yourself arriving at your own door” and “give back your heart” to your business, rather than try and make it into someone else’s object of desire.
What does that mean in practical terms? For me, it meant stepping back and thinking about what I really enjoyed doing, and where I really add value to people, and where they overlapped. It also meant considering my ideal lifestyle. What would I have to do to create a business that allowed me to “feast on my life?”
For those of you that have followed my journey, you know that this has involved going back to University to do my MSc in Business Psychology. It’s also prompted creating The Coaching Garden
where I facilitate business mastermind groups in London that blend business psychology with PR and marketing advice. It’s inspired me to hold these mastermind sessions in lovely restaurants around London where we work over delicious breakfasts or indulgent tea and cake. It’s also provoked me to create business coaching days in Paris and regular events where I partner with business people I know who have something valuable to share over breakfast workshops at the 5th floor restaurant in Piccadilly. Good coffee and business strategies make a great combination!
So, how do you come back to who you really are in business? How do you know what’s you, and not what has recently influenced you in a book, workshop or networking event?
1. Look at your values.
Why are you in business anyway? What sort of lifestyle do you want? How do you want to do business? Everyone loves doing Skype nowadays but I find talking into my computer hugely distracting. I would rather curl up on a comfortable chair with my phone and give my caller my full attention. What are the ways you enjoy delivering your services or products?
2. Why does this resonate?
If a particular guru, book or expert strikes a nerve ask yourself why before you consider blindly buying into their approach. What is it about them that appeals? There are plenty of business experts out there selling you the whole lifestyle package through filtered images of themselves working with a Champagne flute nestling nonchalantly in the background. This manufactured image may appeal, but what’s behind it? Are they really selling something new? When you dig down into it you may find that it’s merely someone’s energy that inspires and perhaps that’s enough to get you to up your game? Or perhaps it’s their no nonsense get stuff done approach and you merely need to be stricter with yourself to make things happen in your own world. If you like something about them, you don’t have to buy into the whole package. Pick the things which are going to work for you.
3. Be Your Own Business Guru
Take a look at your own story and think about the book you would write. What would you say about the things you’ve done right and the things you’ve done wrong, or badly? I bet you actually already know a lot of the advice and suggestions for which you may be searching. If you were to distill it into a philosophy or mantra, what might this be?
It’s this self-empowering approach that I take in my mastermind groups, helping you to focus on your own knowledge about yourself which can then drive your business and the way you do business! For more information click here