02/10/16

Get Out Of Your Way

By Melanie Spring

Are you your own Fear Monster?

Entrepreneurs are known for being hardworking, driven individuals. Most have charisma and an unparalleled tenacity for getting things done. They hustle, put in long hours, and rock their brand because it’s their job. They live, eat and breathe entrepreneurship. They were called to do this. Made for it. Entrepreneurs can’t fail. Right?
 
Looking at the genome of an entrepreneur, you would think they couldn't fail. But X% of businesses go belly up their first year. Many blame it on the economy, their industry, bad business advice, not enough marketing, not having the right help… the list goes on. But the reason most entrepreneurs fail is because of what’s going on inside of their own heads, but few look within to find what’s really going on. 
 
The hard truth is:
You will fail if you have to be in control.
 
Every struggling entrepreneur I’ve met so far has one thing standing in their way: THEMSELVES. They know their skills, they know what they don’t know, and they know their industry. But they’re firmly planted in their own way making excuses for why it won’t work. Many are terrified of success. They often blame others when in reality, giving up some of their control would push them further than they ever hoped and dreamed.
 
I know this because I was there a few years ago. Standing in my own way. Trying SO hard to delegate while doing everything myself. Truly believing I knew everything about my business, my industry, and my team. I didn’t even like what I was doing and everyone around me knew it. I had to take a long hard look at the business and myself to figure out what was going wrong.
 
Between learning from my clients AND from myself, I've found the two keys to success in life and in business: Let go and know yourself.

LET GO.

I know — “letting go” is NOT a trait that comes standard when you’re handed the entrepreneur gene. Entrepreneurs love being in control. We dream of building an empire. But even Sir Richard Branson figured out how to let go. He hired incredible employees and delegated. He hired professionals to help in any area his team couldn’t — and he listened. He found mentors and surrounded himself with intelligent people who knew more about things than he did. He changed directions, let go of what wasn’t working, and knew who to ask when it was time for help. We have to know when to let go.

How to let go:

  1. Look through your to-do list and give away everything you don’t HAVE to do.
  2. Hire someone smarter than you — as an employee or as a coach.
  3. Join a professional group of like-minded people who can be a reflection for you.

KNOW YOURSELF.

Having a business is like living in a Fun House where there are mirrors stretching you every which way from every angle. You want to turn away, but you have to look at the reflection in order to see what you need to do to change. It takes years of introspection to truly know oneself but entrepreneurship tends to accelerate the process. Take the time to look and allow others to show you what’s really happening so you can make the adjustments you need before you are too far gone.

How to know yourself:

  1. Ask for honest feedback. It’s hard to hear, but totally worth it.
  2. Keep a journal so you can read back through your successes and failures.
  3. Take time to reflect and see how the business, the title, the job fits you.

It’s not your marketing, your employees, or the market that will cause you to fail. It’s up to you to hire the right people, change direction when it’s time, and temper your pride long enough to find success. You’re the only one standing in the way of your own success. (This goes for you corporate managers and executives, too.)

Get out of the way and rock your business (and your life).

also published on Medium @melaniespring