The Lone Leader Weekly

7th Nov 2022

You Need To Love Your Business!

It’s not weird. It’s called purpose.

#1. Get out of your head, it’s scary in there.

As a lone leader, I bet you spend a lot of time pondering and dwelling on everything. If you don’t have someone to confide in, grab a pen and a pad and let it all out.

It doesn’t have to have to be Shakespeare, a solution based or even make sense, but what it does it reduce the self-talk and give you some perspective. Especially late at night!

#2. Decide what not to do.

When you are leading alone, you have the longest to-do list in the world. Bin it.

For everything on the list, ask – ‘If I do this today, will it make tomorrow easier?’ If it does, do it; if it doesn’t, scrape it.

Less, but better.

#3. Decide if you want to be rich.

Time rich! Stop scrolling social media and the business sections and have the courage to ask what YOU want. Not what you think you want.

Only you are living your life. Pick the best of the best out there and create your thing. Set your own rules.

The ultimate richness is choice. Do you currently have enough choices?

Sorry to get all soppy on this business stuff, but sometimes we need to have the conversation. This is not an intervention, but we need to have this talk.

Are you in love with your business?

Do you resent your business?

Is it a cruel mistress that occupies your mind when with a loved one or family?

All of the above and some? I thought so. That’s why we need to have this chat away from the prying ears of LinkedIn, where all is rosy, and we must cry on demand to share vulnerability. (true story… not me!)

Now we have got emotionally naked; we can start unpicking some stuff.

Firstly, I know that a business isn’t human, BUT it does trigger many emotions that we experience in our relationships. We allow it to take advantage of us when we all want a night at home with the (Insert appropriate partner here) and a glass of Rioja.

It can bring our heart beating out of our chest when we don’t listen and get everything wrong.

We get caught up in the emotional baggage that we call compliance, yet we leave little for some quality time with creativity, if you know what I mean ;0).

We have regrets and guilt when we don’t treat it right, and at the same time, hide our regrets for the dis-service of those that love us through thick and thin.

As a lone leader, we take on the most extraordinary mountains and wallow in the deepest pits and for what?

The accountant says that we grew by 1.3%, inflation is 7%, and our staff need more time off because the $150,000 paycheck, 300 days off a year, and free cookies every Friday make them feel undervalued.

While it might feel like I hate business myself, the opposite is true – well, it is now. It might be an uncomfortable read, but all of the above will come up regarding your relationship with your business; the toll it can take is grave. What’s your point? I hear you collectively groan…

All of that is a paradigm in our heads that we all need to work harder to shift. Our thinking, language, and expectations of what being in business is about.

Business is about choice—you making choices that suit you. Otherwise, make your $150,000, give up all aspirations and collect your gold watch. We didn’t get into this to be average – we got into this to make the choices we want, EVERY SINGLE DAY!

I appreciate that this sounds like some ideology pep rally, but I assure you it’s not. It comes from the heart.

From my personal struggle with my business this year and being close to amazing people, that’s you, that get up every day and ask – is it all worth it?

With the right relationship, it is, so here are my five lessons from the past six months of falling back in love with my business:

#1 – Take time to be creative – that doesn’t mean get out of the paints and wait for inspiration. It’s taking the time to be present, not at a screen or meeting, and let the good stuff flow. I have found my happy place in front of my whiteboard, with no time pressures and no end goal but to allow my brain to fill in the gaps.

#2 – Ask why? – Simon Sinek has done all the work in this space, but in the humdrum of ‘doing’ business, we forget. Reminding yourself why you are in the business you are in is critical – it may be one of the most challenging questions you ask yourself, but why spend a lifetime doing what doesn’t inspire you? That’s why you don’t have a job.

#3 – Stop the 9 – 5 – yeah, really, find flow in when you like to work and when you do your best work. The science says it isn’t a rigid 9 – 5, Monday to Friday, with no breaks. Start later, finish earlier, work at 2 am, work weekends – do what works for you. This brings me to my next point…

#4 – Do more fun stuff – recently, I decided to do Xmas shopping with my wife on a Thursday morning, so I didn’t have to spend my weekend in the hoards. I have also recently started racing on Zwift – an online cycling platform… in the middle of the day. These are the choices we SHOULD be making.

#5 – Reframe how you make your money – there are a few aspects to this: stop doing shit you hate. There is every chance it isn’t the most profitable of your activities anyway. Two, stop chasing money and focus on adding value; three, trust that you have come this far; you don’t need to be working to be working.

I still get a buzz at the weekend with my family when my eCommerce business pings a new sale – you realise for a moment that the 9 – 5 can be challenged.

I hate to say it, but all these simple realisations are the ones that deliver the most significant changes if you lean into them.

But equally, they are the things we overthink and beat ourselves up over.

We cannot wholly love our business like a human, but if we can move it from cruel mistress to close friend, life gets easier.

Until next time… go fall in love all over again.


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