My blog's earliest, most loyal follower and advisor gave me feedback on my previous post about Resilience and the Entrepreneurial Hurricane (which makes this post Part 2 of last week's Part 2...mind blowing...)
We discussed how entrepreneurs can create resilience for themselves beyond the reminders of Why they are in business in the first place. We came up with a cool Five Step Process to fortify your beach house:
1. BE OPEN TO FEEDBACK
Exhibit A: This post is being written because I am open to feedback. Without feedback, you do not know how the world is receiving you and what you offer. You might say "I don't care what the world thinks of me", which is noble and impressive and all, but you might want to care about what the world thinks of your business if you are trying to sell a product.
The best part about feedback is that it comes in so many forms:
- your mom after reading your blog
- your dad asking about your financial situation
- your friends who test your products
- comments on your social media posts
- total strangers at a networking event
- customers after buying your product
You can walk up to a stranger at Starbucks, explain your business, and see what they say.
I have done that a lot, actually. I am so interested in people's responses after I describe what I do because their questions and comments inform how I am describing my service, from which I can adjust my wording.
I won't go into the nerdy corollaries of how social feedback contributes to species evolution right now, but it suffices to say that you need feedback in order to grow anything, so start practicing openness to it.
2. CHOOSE WHO TO LISTEN TO
This one is a big one. If you are open to feedback, you are going to hear it from everyone and everything. The challenge is compartmentalizing what you hear and applying it to your future. As a result, you have to pick and choose what you listen to.
This happens to me a lot. I mentioned last week that the biggest trap in which I get caught is that of unrealistic comparison to other entrepreneurs and business people. Over time, I have stopped listening to as many interviews by celebrity entrepreneurs and stopped reading as many blog posts about what I "should" be doing right now to succeed. Those people do not know me. Their words are not tailored to my business, so I must determine if I can apply any of their value to my current goals or push it away.
If you get in the practice of taking some pieces of advice and avoiding others, you will realize who around you gives the most applicable feedback for your business. For me, it is my girlfriend, a handful of advisors, and my clients. I form such a deep connection with my clients and their stories that their feedback on my service is the most golden nugget of input that my business could need.
For your business, to whose or what voice is most effective for you to listen?
Yea, I know I am the billionth thing that has told you to go meditate in the past few years, but this is real. As I discussed in a past post, meditation is a very active practice and it is all about energy.
Meditation helps you slow down and channel energy toward what fuels you. If you can sit still for even five minutes with your eyes closed and watch your thoughts flow around while you are breathing, you will begin to see themes come up in your thoughts. Often times the common thoughts you sense are related to fears or anxieties but, relating to #2, you will also notice voices either from within you or people outside of you.
Drawing awareness to these voices, even for just five minutes at a time, will help you acknowledge what voices are helpful to hear and which are harmful.
That way, you can more comfortably deflect negative self-talk while working because you know from where the self-talk might be originating.
4. LOGICAL GOAL SETTING
Now that you can discern what to listen to and what not to, you can more clearly see what you want to accomplish today, this week, this month FOR YOURSELF.
I repeat: FOR YOURSELF. Stop thinking about other brands "like" yours, because there are no other brands like yours. No one performs my kind of consulting in the exact way that I do it. Based on the feedback that you have received about YOUR product, what is next on the to do list to keep things going?
Edit your website?
Change your prices?
Start an email campaign?
This took me a while to understand for myself. I want to write books and create social media campaigns and give lectures and send email newsletters and make TQ coffee mugs and tee shirts and I have wanted to do all of those for years. Even though I am capable of doing all of those things, doing all of those things was not realistic at the time I thought about doing them.
Similar to the famous line in Jurassic Park, just because I could do something does not mean that I should.
I got down on myself because I was not accomplishing all of those cool things that a business might have, but then I realized that I was focusing most of my time on customer service and defining my product, which is far and beyond the most important.
So I wrote all of those cool possible projects down in a list such that, over time, when it feels appropriate, I can look at it and choose one to try out.
It gives me the freedom to focus on what is important right now and still try new things going forward.
Make the list for yourself of things you either think you "should" be doing or things that you would like to create. Then think about what you have been working on and ask: "what needs to be accomplished right now?"
5. PATIENCE, YOUNG GRASSHOPPER
Being a business owner, you can know everything about what going on with your business. This is positive for the sake of productivity, but it is also a challenge because you are the one who thinks most often about the big picture.
The big picture can be torturous because we business owners want to get to that end goal NOW. We creative, ambitious types are so freaking impatient. It motivates us and tortures us.
If you have completed Steps 1-4 at this point, then you have a sense of what goals to pursue today. If you actually meditated, you also know how to take a productive deep breath.
Step #5 is a gentle reminder to be patient. You see the big picture goal. Even though you will not attain it today, the realistic goals you set for yourself today and pursue this week will continue to authentically serve your big picture.
Take another deep breath. You are doing the work. And you rock.
Now fortify that beach house. You are going to live there for a while.