How Being an Entrepreneur Can Help You Grow as a Person
Once upon a time, I was scared of my own shadow. No, really. I was scared every time I had to pick up the phone and talk. Being in a group of people had me quaking in my boots, wondering what on earth to say and just trying to remember my own name.
Maybe you’ve experienced something like this, even if it wasn’t this bad. Yeah?
I consider myself a big time introvert who is also very drawn to people. A social introvert, extroverted introvert … whatever you want to call it.
But I’ve also struggled with social anxiety as an adult. Let’s be honest, it’s sucked. Anyone else raising their hand at this point?
Going to college really helped me push myself out of my shell and learn how to talk to people when I wasn’t sure what to say. Owning and running a bookstore helped me find a role and get comfortable in it (and, damn, did I have to answer that phone a lot!).
But it wasn’t until I started running my own show completely solo that I started to truly conquer my fears. Having to get on consultation calls, negotiate prices, and assert my expertise really helped me find my confidence.
So what does this have to do with your business?
Well, being an entrepreneur isn’t just about making money, being a genius, or taking lots of selfies for the Insta-world. It’s also an incredible opportunity to do inner work on yourself. And honestly, it’s one of the most important things you can do to ensure that your business is successful.
You might have already discovered that your business is a mirror of your inner world. If you’re struggling, your business is also typically struggling. If you’re on fire, you tend to find yourself ultra confident in consultations and closing sales easily.
How you feel is super important to how people feel when they work with you.
Now, this isn’t an opportunity to beat yourself up or worry that you’re not confident enough or feeling good enough. It’s just an invitation to start seeing the connection between your personal growth and your business’ growth.
It’s also an invitation to celebrate all the hard work you’ve done on yourself in order to make your business thrive. That’s hella worth throwing a huge party for!
Every single day that you wake up, take good care of yourself, knock things off your to-do list, speak kindly to yourself, and get to offer support to your clients is a day to celebrate. It’s also helping you move the needle just a little bit every day in your business and life.
It can be a challenge sometimes, though. Wondering if your “stuckness” is a reflection of you and what on earth to do about it.
Since I’m all about taking ideas and putting them into action, here are a few things that might help get you out of stagnation and back into momentum.
1. If your brain is stuck, go for a walk.
No, really. Sometimes you just need to walk away from thinking and working for a while. Get outside, admire the birds, feel the air on your face, and just move. You might have some much better thoughts while you’re moving. Or you might just give yourself a good break so you can go back to work refreshed afterward.
2. When you feel overly protective of your ideas, become more generous.
Let’s be honest. There really aren’t any new ideas under the sun, just new ways of combining or framing them. If you feel yourself moving into a space of possessiveness and starting to get worried about others stealing your ideas, give them away for free.
You’ll get the energy flowing again and help yourself un-claw those raccoon hands so you can feel at peace and trust others again. Generosity makes clients love you and it makes you stand out as offering more value. Never be afraid to be generous to those who value you.
3. When you’re terrified to speak, find a way to do it anyway.
If you’re facing an opportunity that’s a huge leap for you, there’s a high risk of terror setting in. Give yourself permission to not do it and see how that feels in your gut.
If you really want it and the fear is just trying to push you off the path, then throw on that superhero alter ego and do it. If you know you want to do something similar, but this is too much at once, then go find something less scary that will still get you out of your comfort zone. You can do it!
4. If your competitive edge shows up often, find people to collaborate with.
Competition can be a healthy part of business. But for solopreneurs and micro businesses it’s more often toxic behaviors driving the competition. We need each other. Far too often, people think that they are all fighting for the same pool of people. But we’re really not. There really is plenty of work for everyone.
Different people are attracted to different leaders and service providers. What you like in a therapist, I might thoroughly dislike. Your story is different from my story. That’s why there’s a ton of room at the table. This is also why niches are SO IMPORTANT.
So instead of seeing your fellow doula, farmer, yoga teacher, or potter as a threat to your business, make them your friend. You’ll learn a lot, you might start a pretty sweet collaboration, and you’ll actually start to build a community.
5. If you’re afraid to “put yourself out there,” analyze what you’re doing.
Sometimes our business models aren’t honoring our personalities, needs, beliefs, values, or deepest desires. It doesn’t mean you should quit, but it does mean that you might need to reposition yourself and what you do.
There really is a balanced place where you feel valued, you enjoy what you do, you’re enthused to work with Your People, your values shine through, and you get paid what you need and want. It just takes time to feel, reassess, and reposition. Keep moving and you’ll get there.
Push yourself sometimes and pull back sometimes.
Life is always a constant flow of pushing forward and then pulling back to rest and contemplate. Your business doesn’t need to be perfect and you don’t need to be perfect. In fact, there’s no such thing. The beautiful thing is that you’ll grow right alongside your business.
In many ways, having a business is an awful lot like having a baby. If you started off parenthood with a teenager, you’d probably hide in a closet and never come out again. But we grow as parents right alongside our babies. One day down the road, we realize that we are hanging in there and our kids are huge (and have turned out far better than our worst fears!).
Don’t be afraid of your business. It’s your baby! Dive in, realize you don’t have to follow anyone else’s template, and let it help you grow too. Do all that good inner work, pull back to assess and nourish yourself, rinse and repeat.
What kinds of personal growth have you seen in your business? Do you feel like it’s made you a whole new, better version of yourself?