“Just when I think I’ve managed to get out from the day-to-day of my business, something happens and I’m pulled back in again.”
Can you relate?
Most business owners I know recognise they ‘should’ be spending more time working on their business than in it.
Business book after business book – from the ‘classics’ to the modern day – tell us we need to work less in our business and more on it.
So why is it still such a challenge for the majority of business owners?
It’s a challenge for the majority of business owners, because the majority of us create stories about ourselves and our businesses which work to keep us exactly where we are.
“…there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”Hamlet, 2.2.241
I’ve written before about the power of our subconscious mind.
It ONLY looks for reinforcement – never contradiction. What does this means then, when we’re looking at why it’s so difficult to get out of the day-to-day of our businesses? It means we’ve created a story about why we need to be in the business and so our subconscious works to keep us there.
To illustrate my point, I’ll walk you through four of the most common reasons I hear from business owners about why they think they’re trapped in the day-to-day of their business.
Many business owners get into their own business because they are really good at what they do – and for the most part, really enjoy it.
To that end, whilst there may be many things which frustrate or irritate them about their business, overall, they do enjoy their work.
And right there is the problem.
Sure, you enjoy what you’re do, but speaking from a coach’s perspective this is just a story you’re telling yourself to stay where you are.
The truth is you’re comfortable.
You’re comfortable doing exactly what you’re doing, and so, you have no real impetus for change.
Let’s look at this in the context of health.
Most people know what they ‘should’ do to be ‘healthy’. Eat well, exercise regularly, get good quality sleep, meditate, take time out from technology and spend time doing the things which energise us.
However, most of us are comfortable eating what we like, when we like. Exercising sporadically, staying up late, binge-watching Netflix, incessantly checking in on social media and spending our time with people and on activities which drain us and increase our stress levels.
Which means that whilst we may make radical changes in short bursts – clean up our eating, cut out alcohol, exercise regularly, meditate daily, journal twice daily, limit our social media, etc – eventually, our old habits come back and we’re back to living life the way we’re ‘comfortable’ living it – the way we ‘enjoy’ it.
It’s the same in your business.
You’ll make some changes, but changes mean it’s no longer comfortable. It may even mean you no longer ‘enjoy’ what you do. So eventually, without a doubt, you’ll eventually find yourself right back where you are now – where it’s comfortable.
Quite likely, you’ve got plenty of evidence to back this story up.
Firstly, it’s likely the reason you started your business was because you’re better than most at what you do.
Secondly, everyone you’ve hired to this point hasn’t been able to do it quite as well as you can. That means you’re constantly having to step in and do it yourself.
It’s happened so many times that now you’ve decided it’s simply quicker and easier for you to do it yourself.
As a coach, when I hear this excuse from the lips of my clients, I immediately know we’re dealing with a case of fixed identity.
The person has spent so many years building their sense of self around what they ‘do’, that they’re almost incapable of letting this identity go and assuming the identity of a ‘business owner’.
What do I mean?
If I was to ask you, “What do you do?”, how would you answer?
“I’m an engineer.”
“I’m an accountant.”
“I’m a panel beater.”
“I’m a mechanic.”
It’s incredibly common to conflate what we DO with who we ARE.
As a technician, often we’ve invested years of our lives and thousands of dollars in becoming the best we can be in that field. Understandably, we’re highly invested.
So when we go into business, the thought of no longer being ‘that person’ or ‘the expert’ any more is as frightening to our subconscious as death, because effectively we need to let one perception of who we are ‘die’ to allow ourselves the freedom to reconceive ourselves as a business owner.
It’s incredibly uncomfortable, and quite frankly, not everyone makes the transition.
Much of the work Rob does with our clients focuses on changing how they see themselves and shift them from the mindset of ‘technician’ to ‘business owner’.
“For the things we want to do, we make time. For the things we don’t want to do, we make excuses.”Jennifer Dahl
And as the late, great Jim Rohn put it…
“If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t you’ll find an excuse.”
“But I AM too busy!” I hear you protest.
Yes, you are busy. It’s likely though you’re busy with low-priority and/or urgent tasks rather than the non-urgent and important ones (like planning, strategising, working on yourself, etc).
As a business coach for over 17 years now, I can tell you unequivocally, you being ‘too busy’ is 100% a story you’ve created to keep you exactly where you are.
If you haven’t already done so, I suggest you read my previous post on Important vs Urgent
One of my clients said to me once, “I’m not a control freak, I’m a control enthusiast.”
However you term it, keeping a tight reign on every part of your business is unequivocally holding you back and keeping you stuck in the day-to-day operations.
The reason behind this one may surprise you though.
It’s been my experience that people who try to control everything are not necessarily afraid of failure as you’d most likely assume.
It’s my perspective the majority of control freaks are actually afraid of success.
Why on earth would anyone be afraid of success?
Because success cannot be controlled.
And being ‘out of control’ is a self-proclaimed Control Freak’s greatest fear.
“How will I manage it?”
“How will I control everything?”
“How will I ensure every piece of work goes out to my standard?”
With so many questions having to go unanswered, it’s easier to keep the business where it’s at than let it truly fly.
At the end of the day, the reason it’s so hard to step away from the day-to-day of our business is 100% because of the stories we tell ourselves.
We tell ourselves it’s ‘too hard’, ‘I’m too busy’, ‘I can’t hire good people’, ‘I don’t know what else I’d do’, and so we stay exactly where we are.
That’s why, if you truly want thing to change, first, you must change.
But changing ourselves is almost impossible on our own because we simply don’t see ourselves clearly.
When you engage the services of coaches like Rob and myself, you immediately remove your greatest barrier to change – your perception of yourself.
Rob and I are able to bring our years of experience in both business and personal development to assist you in making the changes necessary to achieve the business you’ve always wanted.
So why not reach out for a confidential conversation? We’re here to work with you to achieve the business and lifestyle you deserve – for you and your family.
What does it take to actually remove yourself from the day-to-day grind of business? Learn from our panel of Business Owners who've Been There, Done That.