Doing what others expect you to do could be keeping you from who you’re meant to be. Most people spend the first chunk of their lives trying to fulfill someone else’s expectations. You’re trying to be studious for your parents, athletic for your coach, or cool for your friends. You follow the path from high school, to college, to career. You do everything expected of you in hopes that one day you will have the life you’ve always dreamt of. You’ve even managed to create a lane for yourself, to achieve the ultimate title of, “an entrepreneur.”
Then, you wake up one day and you realize that the dream is slipping away. Maybe you’ve had a hard couple of weeks and client opportunities are faltering. Or maybe an anchor client has decided to part ways, leaving you feeling like all of your work has been for nothing. You realize that over the years you’ve drifted away from yourself. How did you get here? Who knows, but I’ll tell you one thing, everything that you need to get back to you is literally WITHIN you.
I know it feels like the world is on fire right now but it’s time to embrace what makes you, you. Ask yourself, “what is it that I have that makes me unique?” Find it, cultivate it, and use it to drive you towards your business goals and your life goals.
Here are 4 questions to ask yourself, to help get your focus off the outside world and back to YOU. Taking the time to step back and re-evaluate, could be just what you need to get your business back on track.
Ask yourself: What makes me want to get out of bed in the morning?
As an entrepreneur, you have to hold yourself accountable to keep showing up every day as your best self. There’s no boss looking over your shoulder to make sure you’re on task. Excelling at what you do is easy when you’re passionate about it. If you’re finding yourself dragged down by your everyday routine as an entrepreneur, take a second to figure out (again) what excites you about your work. What makes you want to jump out of bed before your alarm goes off? Is it the way you feel when you land a new contract? Is it seeing the impact your company makes in the community? Is it the thrill of having your own fax machine? Whatever it is, write it down, make it as detailed as possible. Use this as your driving force, as the fuel beneath your fire. Then, take it another step. Close your eyes, and imagine it. Paint a picture in your mind of landing a new contract (if that’s what motivates you) and attach the happy feeling that goes with it. Are you doing it? Feels good right? Return to this question if you ever find yourself lacking motivation. It’s time you get reinvigorated to continue the work you were called to do.
Ask Yourself: What are my key values?
As the saying goes, “ If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.” There are many outside factors that can cause you to forget about the things that you truly believe in. It’s easy to lose sight of your values and to be blinded by money, or partnerships that can take your business to the next level. Your values are a huge part of who you are and they should play a part in your career or business, not be thrown away when the opportunity for advancement presents itself. Write down your list of non-negotiable values and use it as a guide for making decisions in life and business. Think about what social causes are important to you and center your business around supporting them. Let these values be the principles that lead you to create the life that you want to live and drive you to support your community.
Ask yourself: What hobbies make me excited?
Hobbies? Who has time for hobbies? It’s easy to lose track of the things you love when you find yourself wrapped up in business 24/7. Allow yourself to revisit the things that put a smile on your face. Inspiration comes from a life well-lived. Plus, no one likes a wet blanket. Think about how much of a better parent, spouse, and friend you can be when you use your time to relax and connect with others. Developing your hobbies, old and new can only make you a more enjoyable, interesting person. Wait, till your next networking event, you’ll thank me. People are connected to people who live life to the fullest.
Ask Yourself: What lessons do I want to unlearn?
From the moment that you are born you are being fed programming on who you should and shouldn’t be. Boys wear blue, girls wear pink. Jocks are cool, nerds are not. Losers, don’t go to college, leaders do. I could go on and on. While some things we have been taught in life have their merit and have helped us to be the people we are today, other things we need to unlearn quickly. At some point, you have to break free of the boxes your parents, teacher, and friends have stuck you in and make your own rules. There is no “one path” or the “right” path to entrepreneurial success. Maybe it’s time to rewrite your story.
I believe that it takes a special type of person to build their own business and to accept the way of the entrepreneur. You’re that person. Now is the time to lean into your power just a little bit more. Realigning with your true self will unlock endless possibilities. Asking yourself these questions will not only open you up to new ways of thinking but it will also help you refocus the vision you have for your career. I am fully committed to this work of helping entrepreneurs unlock their potential at my non-profit BCDAlliance. Trust me, it is never too late to return to your true self.
Be Authentic. Stay Authentic.