This September 2016 I’ve celebrated 5 years since I closed my Nuclear Engineering Manager office’s door behind me and walked out into the unknown to become an Entrepreneur full time. I was in cloud 9 as I dreamed of having a business since the year before graduating university, 20 years or so before. I actually did start a business then but the economical conditions in Romania and my lack of experience in choosing partners killed it very quickly. Since then I helped a few entrepreneurs with their business and studied Marketing at Sheridan College although most of my confidence came from growing my corporate department’s business by 600%, up to about $6M.
I thought to myself how hard can this be, right? Well let me tell you, it is hard. Now after 5 years I feel it was all worth it but I did not feel like this for a long time. As I reflected on the last 5 years I wrote down some lessons that you might find valuable for your progress. Here is the first one.
To thrive in business you’ve got to believe in yourself.
It seems easier for us to believe in someone else and to want to help them succeed. We tend to invest our time and energy, sometimes even our money to help them. Most of the times this ends up in frustration even when that someone is a loved family member. Why? Because they do things their way, they have their view of the world and plainly because you cannot make someone else succeed, period.
We’ve got to invest the energy, time and money to help ourselves succeed. We have full power over us. The added bonus, we influence by example. It is easier to ask your kid or spouse to change something but it is harder for you to change yourself and then lead them to follow your example. I do believe we will be way more peaceful if we tended to our business first.
The problem we have as an Entrepreneur in a service business is that we have to sell us (I know now this is not entirely true, but at first it seems that way). It seems we have to wave and say “look at me, I am good, I can help you” and this is hard. I realized that when I grew the business during my corporate years, I was selling the team. I used to say we have a team of experienced and bright engineers, etc. Much easier, right?
To grow your own business you’ve got to believe in yourself. You’ve got to be comfortable talking about the benefits people get from working with you, about your uniqueness and about your expertise. You’ve got to be proud of who you are and what you do. There is no other way in a service business.
This is the first part of the Entrepreneur Enlightenment Academy curriculum. Our clients start by discovering their authentic self: their strengths, their weaknesses, their uniqueness, their purpose and though this gradually gaining more and more confidence in who they are.
Believing in yourself is, in my opinion, the number one strategy for thriving in business. With this comes the desire to invest in yourself and also being comfortable to ask for help from others.
Assignment: Ask yourself, would I rather help someone else succeed or myself? When you answer be honest with yourself, look at your actions, at your conversations. Do you quickly jump to help someone although you had an important activity scheduled for your progress?
I remember a story from long time ago. My boyfriend at the time and I were writing an important exam as an application for a job. There were only 30 places but 600 applicants so the competition was fierce. I really wanted the job as I felt it was the key to my freedom. During the exam he got sick and an ambulance came to give him first aid. I did not lift my head from my papers. Our plan was that if one of us succeeded we will start our life together. He failed, I succeeded. He was angry with me for not paying attention when he was sick. I think that was the beginning of the end of our relationship. But I knew better, that job was my ticket to freedom. If I failed that exam I would not be in Canada living the life of my dreams. You’ve got to believe in yourself and stay focused on your success. This is the best gift you can give to the world anyway.
Please write me below if you struggle with this or if you solved it. I am curious to read what insights you got as a result of the assignment above.