Business life can be tough! It can also be very lonely. Especially so when we’re a solo business owner and even more so when we’re a solo entrepreneur launching a business of our own based on an idea or dream we’ve held for years.
When I launched the forerunner of AWI (Affiliated Women International) a few years ago, I sat in my tiny office tucked away in a corner of the upstairs feeling exhilarated that I’d finally discovered my purpose in life and was about to let it burst upon the scene. I wrapped all the necessities involved in starting a business about me with a sense of anticipation that the road to business success would be smooth with no curves, mountains or detours. I was naive enough to believe that would be the case.
Nothing in life is without curves, mountains or detours. It just isn’t so. We can continue in the cocoon of that belief or we can unwrap the cloak of deceit and face realty with gutsy determination. And the sooner we throw off deception and get down to basics; the quicker the road ahead will be our friend rather than an enemy.
One of the most important things to avoid in business is the prideful attempt to go it alone. I remember thinking I don’t need any help. I had been in the marketplace for over 20 years; had swam with the sharks both male and female; had a fair amount of business instinct upon which to pitch my tent and therefore, I could make it on my own. Not only was that a lonely spot to be; it was a recipe for disaster when I hit the first item about which I knew next to nothing. And it’s difficult to “fake it until you make it” when one has no idea what to “fake” about!
One business fact of life that I found to be myth is that men never seek assistance from others. Well I didn’t find that the case, but I did find it to be so for women. Perhaps it’s a sense of insecurity about moving from corporate America at any level of involvement to one’s own business that led women (including myself) to wear the false-face of “I don’t need any help, I can do this job all by myself!”
The truth is, we are not an island and trying to be one is an exercise in futility that is bound to fail! And when we’re a business owner, our business cannot be an island unto itself either. Not if we want to succeed. And not if we think we can horde any piece of wisdom or knowledge we gain while pretending we don’t need any additional wisdom or knowledge. Which is what I did until I realized that not only was I lonely, somewhat depressed and wasting away in my tiny office tucked upstairs; I was not fulfilling the purpose which had recently been discovered!
We need each other. We need the support of each other and we need to be willing to share what we learn with others so that each of us succeeds in our chosen pursuits.
That’s why community is so important! Not just for business reasons, but for life in general because being in relationship at various levels with others of similar or like minds keeps us healthy, strong and on track. That is if we are in concert with the right folks; but that’s for another post.
So how do we resolve our need to prove to the world we can do it by ourselves to error on the side of associating regularly with others for mutual enrichment. . .
- GIVE IT UP ~ If and when you feel tempted to believe you are superwoman and can do it all by yourself – GIVE IT UP. Asking for help is a sign of strength – not weakness. And when we ask others for help, we honor them with the acknowledgement that they are valued and have something of value to add to the life of others.
- LISTEN TO YOUR “GUT” ~ We have an amazing body and internal radar that can give us direction if we’ll listen and pay attention to what we experience. Overwhelm comes disguised in many forms, but irritation with minor things is one sure what to know we’re feeling buried until a pile of you-know-what. So does lack of energy, a loss of enthusiasm and excitement. Spiritually we become dry and lose interest in prayer and daily communication with PAPA. If we won’t listen to wise friends who see what’s happening; listen to the wisdom of your body and gut instinct!
- SEEK AND FIND ~ Search out others who have made the transition from the “safety” of corporate America to a business of their own (I use safety of corporate America with tongue-in-cheek). But like-mindedness in terms of business is just one thing to seek. Find women (and men) who share similar life values, especially faith values. Seek those who seem eager to help and open to being helped as you’ll find you have more expertise to offer than realized. And when others want what we have to offer; it’s a real ego-energy boost that can make our day.
- FIND COMMUNITIES OF LIKE-MINDED FOLKS ~ You may think this is easy to do given the popularity of social media. But not all COMMUNITIES are the same, and while others may glitter like gold; they may not be what you’re looking for. And one size does not fit all. In other words, one community may not be enough for you and what works for another may not, so to speak, be your cup of tea.
Wow, I had trouble getting started writing this piece, but now I note it’s nearly 1000 words. Good place to wind up for today with a promise to continue discussion on COMMUNITIES OF LIKE-MINDED FOLKS in next week’s AWI blog posts. So, to be continued. . .
In the meantime, spend the weekend CELEBRATING yourself and the business you’re building. Take time off and away (unplug as they say). Let your creativity rest in order to come back on Monday ready to tackle the world.
Linda S. Fitzgerald, CEO & Visionary Partner
A Women’s Place Network, Inc. dba
Affiliated Women International
Enriching Ordinarily Extraordinary Women the World Over
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[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]https://affiliatedwomeninternational.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/linda-google-NB-profile-pic.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]I have a ‘fiery’ passion to see women become all they are designed to be – personally, professionally and most of all – spiritually. I write, teach, mentor and coach with that passion in mind. As an author and prolific blogger, I reach out to women in all walks of life, especially women of faith to empower and equip them for greatness. [/author_info] [/author]
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