If you’re a business owner like me, always striving to better your offering and the services you provide to your clients, your business likely feels like an extension of yourself. It doesn’t live in isolation and your thoughts about it can’t easily be switched off.
You’re constantly thinking of ways to improve, upscale, empower and build. Whether you’re prepping dinner, catching up on some on much-needed exercise, or closing your eyes for a well-deserved night’s sleep, you can’t help but think what the next step is. Was the plan you presented good enough? Did you really deliver brilliant, meaningful, even potentially award-winning work?
I know it’s not just me.
As business owners, we care deeply about our work and the impact it has in the communities in which we operate and the rest of the world. And we feel proud when our work is appropriately rewarded (and frustrated when payments that are due fail to be paid on time).
A few successful business owners have spoken about this. They warn that, while you must take your business personally, it’s important to know when to separate yourself from your work. Ultimately, you are not your business and your business is not you!
Personally, that’s the one critical distinction as a small business owner that I struggle with, and it’s something that often leads to self-doubt and frustration. Is it natural for this to happen?
I don’t consider myself a micro-business owner. Although I am involved in 85% of my business’s operations and know everything that’s happening on the accounts we service, I hope my team and trusted partners can attest that I allow everyone to run with things the best way they know how. But you see, that’s the thing! Despite the trust I have in my team and their capabilities, I still take a missed opportunity, an email error, a project that fell through the cracks and everything else about my business personally.
No wonder it remains an extension of me.
For others like me, I am sure you also aspire to reach a point where you can flex some leadership muscles. Where you lead your business but understand that it should not reflect or be aligned with your values and strength. To some extent, it should live independently of you.
Care for your business, nurture it to survive and feed it, but don’t run the risk of attributing any mistakes or failure to your own sense of self-worth.
One day, we’ll get it right! Hopefully.
Mahlodi Legodi is founder and director of FR Communications. She is an experienced director with a demonstrated history of working in the public relations and communications industry. Skilled in strategic communication planning, event management, crisis management, public relations and media relations.
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