The initial passion most business owners have when they first establish their business can eventually diminish. And while this is not the case for everyone, unless entrepreneurs adopts a proactive stance to keep them and everyone around them engaged, they may eventually suffer the same fate.
By reflecting on what prompted you to start your business in the first place, you can reignite the passion that drove you to take this journey.
“Learning from direct experience can be more effective if coupled with reflection — that is, the intentional attempt to synthesize, abstract, and articulate the key lessons taught by experience,” according to the Harvard Business School. The simple act of reflecting can actually improve your performance. Below you will find questions that will aid you in prompting that reflection.
Where Did You Start?
No matter where you are in the development of your business, there are many lessons learned that will help you in the present and with any future endeavors. These lessons have value, and they should not be discounted because of your current situation. Take inventory of what you’ve learned and the mistakes you’ve made so you can see how you are now a better person for it.
“The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing.” ~ Henry Ford
Why Did You Start Your Business?
This is a question you should ask yourself on a regular basis because it is an affirmation of why you are doing what you are doing. You might not like the answer, but it can give you a clear direction on where to go next. While for some this could mean starting all over again, your experience has at least taught you it is possible. Fear can no longer hold you back.
By taking yourself back to that nascent stage of when you first carried out your business plan, you can reignite the passion you may have lost. This can also inspire you to start a new venture.
Why Are You in a Rut?
First, it is important to find out why you no longer feel the same. The answer may be a very long laundry list of everything that has gone wrong in your business, and it may seem overwhelming.
But if you tackle each problem head on after identifying what it is, you will have gained clarity. This clarity will show you the light at the end of that dark tunnel. For many, this may be all it takes to get back on track — seeing the light reignites hope.
Break Up the Formula
Not breaking the routines and habits you follow daily can make it difficult to get out of a rut. Professor at Harvard Business School, Chair and Director of the Harvard Advanced Leadership Initiative, Rosabeth Moss Kanter says, “The important thing is to encourage a culture in which assumptions can be constantly challenged. Sure, it’s efficient to do things one way repeatedly, but it’s boring and stifles innovation.”
Unless we are constantly challenged, everything we do becomes routine, boring and eventually hinders our growth and innovation capabilities. Find ways to inspire yourself and your employees by finding new opportunities and challenging everyone to capitalize on them.
Know When to Cut Your Losses
This is an extremely important lesson. If you feel your job is more of a grind than a gain, Professor of Business Administration at the University of Michigan Gretchen Spreitzer says, “It may be time to try something new.”
This can easily apply to your business, because if you are not making gains and it becomes a struggle, the rut you are in will only get deeper. Take a day or whatever time you can spare and make the hard decision.
Teach What You Have Learned
If you are in a deep rut, lack inspiration and don’t see the future as a bright light, consider teaching or mentoring someone that is just starting on the path you have been on for all this time.
The enthusiasm they have is infectious. It will remind you of yourself during the early days. Imparting your knowledge and many hard learned lessons will make a better business person of your student or mentee, and light the spark you have been searching for inside of yourself. It’s a win win.
Take Some Time Off
You may feel it is not possible to take time off, but you need to realize that time off doesn’t have to be several weeks long. Whether it is half a day or one week, take time to reflect on your business. Explore the path that brought it to its current state, and how you can make it and yourself better. And any plans you make for your business resulting from this time off should be just as thorough for your personal life as well.
Get into the habit of exercising, eating better, enjoying your life with your family and friends and relaxing more. The better you feel at home, the more you will be ready to tackle the challenges your business throws at you.
Balance is Key to Long Term Success
Most importantly, she asks you to make your boundaries crystal clear. That means identifying the things you will not compromise on, and following through and sticking to your guns on those things.
Is it Important or Urgent?
The quote Fox uses by Dwight D. Eisenhower gets to the point of the matter, “What is important is seldom urgent, and what is urgent is seldom important.”
She defines important tasks as those that contribute towards our long-term goals, strategies and values. Urgent tasks are things that need immediate attention. If you make it a point of making the distinction between the two, you can make decisions that will not interfere in your personal life.
What is Not Acceptable to You?
This, of course, will vary greatly from person to person. But take some time out and write down what is not acceptable to you. It could be overtime, taking business calls while spending time with your family, or the many ways that work will invariably encroach into your personal life.
Write Out Your Boundary Statement
When you do, be forthright without having to apologize for it or explain yourself. After you finish writing down your boundary statement, go through it and determine the boundaries that you can implement into your life immediately — and set them in motion.
In conclusion, ask yourself whether it will all be worth it. Quality of Life (QOL) is ultimately what will make you happy. So it is up to you to find your passion, the things that make you happy, the things that are important, and to determine the price you are willing to pay for them — both in your business and personal life.
There are two quotes that exemplify the drive it takes to truly succeed:
“Entrepreneurship is living a few years of your life like most people won’t, so you can spend the rest of your life like most people can’t.” ~ Anonymous
“I never took a day off in my twenties. Not one.” ~ Bill Gates
Passion Image via Shutterstock
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