What The Hell Are You Waiting For?

One of the number one reasons small businesses fail is because the owner waits too long. S/he keeps waiting for permission to do things, like get their ass out there and network, or create that new program, or pick up the phone and call someone and ask for business.

When I had my latest essay published in the Boston Globe, I took that essay and sent it to several libraries and got writing gigs there. Poof. Just like that.

It took me many years to get comfortable being “forward,” “aggressive,” or whatever other negative term people choose to dissuade people from taking action.

Today, just picking up the phone and contacting someone is taking action since so many are afraid to do that. Why are we afraid to contact someone? When I worked at a corporation, I had people call me up and ask for work. It took a few tries, but after several conversations, I’d invite those people in and often I did choose them as the vendor.

If they had not called, I wouldn’t have known they existed. I became friends with one person who “cold called me” until he died. He helped me get my first logo design job when I opened my own business.

People should not be afraid of talking to people on the phone they do not know when it comes to promoting their businesses.

I remember when I first opened my business, I spent like 8 months working on my web site. I didn’t really get out there because I was hiding behind my need for this web site to be perfect. It just needed a few more tweaks or twaks and then, and THEN I can go out there.

Nah, I was afraid to go out there, to put myself out there in there-land.

I swear that we are afraid of things we should not be afraid of (Spreading the word about our biz) and not afraid of things we should be afraid of (living a frightened life.)

All I can suggest is that when you feel unworthy to market your business or feel that you are being too pushy, take those feelings and dump them in the trash can. Most of us are so far from being too pushy that it would take a 300% increase in pushiness to actually be verifiably pushy.

Where do you seek permission from someone to do something that will enhance your own business?

Are You Strong Enough To Be A Business Owner?

Owning a business is not for the faint of heart. You have to believe in your own worth and that can be hard in a world that takes that away from you at a young age. Yeah, no matter what rah rah speech you hear at your HS or college graduation, it almost does no good because of the “you can’t unless you do x, y, and z” previous training.

The problem is that the more training you get, the less likely you will ever get your ass out there. You get ass-stuckification and think the answer to unwedge yourself is to get more training.

When do we feel, “Okay, I’m ready.”

I remember when I first opened my business, I spent like 8 months working on my web site. I didn’t really get out there because I was hiding behind my need for this web site. It just needs a few more tweaks or twaks and then, and THEN I can go out there.

Nah, I was afraid to go out there, to put myself out there in thereland.

Honestly, the best thing anyone can do for you as a budding business owner is to push you off the diving board. I did one of those ziplines this summer and I knew that if i thought about it for even one second, I might not do it, so when the guy said, “tell me when you are ready,” I said, “now” and the shoot opened and I stepped off.

Frankly, if we wanted to produce confident entrepreneurs, we’d never build the kind of schools we have because they do not produce that. Few are willing to speak up about this deficit because we are trained to sit down and shut up.

That’s why it can be really hard for folks to make a go of a business. You can’t be worrying about raising your hand to get permission or getting the right answer because in the real world, the one answer solution doesn’t exist. There are not only many answers, but also you have the right to make up your own and get as creative as you want.

We can all do so much more than we think we can. My best suggestion is to pick something new to do with your business and just try it. Don’t over think it or get too embroiled in the “right” steps. Just step and see where it takes you.

I’m sure you’ve got something you want to try but that wimpy voice in your head says, “don’t do it, you’ll fail.” Hey, maybe it might not work out, but I can almost guarantee that you’ll be stronger for trying it.

Good luck!


Embrace Your Emotions. Yes, Even In Business!

About three years ago, I attended this roundtable talk related to business development where the speaker said, “It’s important that you check your emotions at the door.”

I immediately raised my hand and said, “I don’t agree with that. To be emotional is to be human.”

Folks who suggest you stifle your emotions are people who are afraid of their own emotions. They want you to put a lid on yours, so their emotions are not presented with a situation where they might “escape” from their bodies.

Who makes up this jibberish?

I don’t have a work personality and a play personality. I have one personality — my own. If I were to stifle my emotions, that would mean I’d be channeling a robot, that I’d have two distinct sides to myself that I need to juggle.

Work face. Play face. Work Face. Play face.

Why would I want to do that? Way too complicated.

If you’ve seen Bicentennial Man, then you know that the robot in the film searches for the humanity most of us take for granted. The entire movie is an allegory for what it means to be human.

Portia: Sometimes it’s important not to be perfect, Okay?! It’s important to do the wrong thing…!
Andrew: To do the wrong thing?
Portia: Yes!
Andrew: Why? Oh! I see to learn from your mistakes…
Portia: No! To make them! To find out what’s real and what’s not! To find out what you feel?! Human beings are terrible messes, Andrew…
Andrew: I grant you that …
I see this is what is known as an irrational conversation, isn’t it?
Portia: No! This is a human conversation. It’s not about being rational. It’s about following your heart.

Not showing emotions makes people feel crazy. I’m convinced it drives a lot of folks off the deep end because they’ve been taught not to show emotion or to feel shame if they show it.

I remember all the crying and sadness that went on when Princess Diana died. People who never knew her weeping everywhere. It seemed to me that her death gave people an opportunity to share their humanity with each other. To be human in a world that increasingly wants us to act like non-humans, to be these perfect little robots that are made to ask, “Did you find what you need?”

I don’t know who came up with the notion that we have to repress ourselves in business. Honestly? I could never do it. It makes for a really shallow relationship with your clients.

Just the other day I returned some “slimy” beet salad I bought at the supermarket and described it as such. The person at the customer service window took one look at it and said, “That looks nasty!” Then, we laughed about it. Today, I saw him again and we joked about it.

I felt a connection with him that I don’t normally experience at the supermarket. It made me think, “What a cool guy!”

Honestly, how can you feel alive if you don’t express your emotions? You can’t. You’ll feel dead inside. What good is that? How would that make you a better business owner?

I keep thinking about the CNN story I read this week, about the Greek Model and her husband who picked up the Syrian refugee floating in the Aegean Sea about one hour away from being dead after struggling out there for 13 hours. They picked him up and she hugged him and kept him warm while her husband performed his medical magic.

She said, “I was sobbing (the whole time), because from the moment I saw the person in the water my soul became so deeply saddened that it felt like I was in his position,” she says.

“I didn’t think at any point if what we’re doing was dangerous, if it was allowed or illegal — a human soul was in danger and trying to save this person was for me the most natural thing in the world.”

I read that article and thought, “This is what life is all about, being human, showing emotions.” And for me that includes play and work, or PLORK as I like to call the combination of the two.

You might also check out Mira Kirshenbaum’s book: The Emotional Energy Factor. She writes that 70% of our energy is emotional and that if we want to feel free, we need to tap into our emotions.

Think about a dynamic speaker you’ve heard. Was this person a monotone drip or did s/he reach out and touch your heart and soul with his/her emotional energy?

You’ll win over more clients by being a real person than by being a stepford business owner.

Next time you feel an emotion coming on try to embrace it. Then think about what that emotion wants you to understand about yourself.

Thanks, G.


Considering joining me for my neat program “How To Live A Kickass Life (Rather Than A Life That Kicks You In The Ass.)
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