One of the books I love reading to my son, includes a line that hits me every time:
“If you want things to change, you first have to change YOU.”
[The Lion Inside]
Truer words were never written and I’ve come to appreciate how much this is also the case, when it comes to business. Personal growth is a prerequisite for business growth
This has certainly been my experience. I wanted to share some of the ways in which my personal growth and growth in business have been connected.
4 ways my personal growth has led to growth in my business
1. Letting go of unhealthy relationships
Boy have I learned this lesson several times, each with more nuances thrown in!
Challenges always arise when people are into an idea they have of who you are, that’s not aligned with reality. The reverse is also true! It’s easy to get caught up believing that people are “your people”, when they’re not.
I’ve experienced both sides of this coin, in life and in business. I’ve had clients who’ve come to me wanting design, not appreciating that I have a particular style and perspective, that may not suit their needs. On the flip side, I’ve said “yes” to working with clients that, ultimately, were not my ideal clients.
Both of these scenarios led to me not bringing my uniqueness to the table when that’s the true value that I bring. The result – aside from a lot of unnecessary heartache on all sides: me not shining and thus, me not thriving.
Also deserving a mention is the value of letting go of relationships with negative people.
I’ve learned that negative energy can take many forms: complaining; constant criticism; gossiping; victim mentality; behaviour informed by insecurity and fearfulness.
All of it is draining and sometimes, it’s hard to appreciate the impact this energy has on your own progress. Oftentimes, we only realise it once we’re out of the relationship and we’re suddenly renewed and full of momentum again. When we’re able to think clearly, make better decisions and take massive action.
I’m sure you’ve got enough of these stories in your personal life and you’ll likely experience them in business too! Sometimes you need to make those tough decisions to let go of team members, clients, business partners and all kinds of other professional relationships, when there is a misalignment.
When you course-correct like this, you get back on the path to your goals.
2. Reconnecting with my worthiness
I have the tendency to be a people-pleaser, which means I find it difficult to say “no.” It’s been the subject of a lot of self-exploration and I appreciate it’s rooted in feeling I’m not worthy, just the way I am.
This has manifested in many ways: being unfocused; trying to do all the things; acting on FOMO; and giving my time to activities, projects and relationships that aren’t in alignment with moving towards my future self. I’ve entertained a lot of distractions.
By neglecting to see the long game, I didn’t value the need for refinement, simplicity and the power of consistent, small actions (I recommend reading The Slight Edge: Turning Simple Disciplines into Massive Success and Happiness. Check out this short, animated book review video, for a great synopsis).
However, when I started to focus on what I need and on what is necessary for me to be well – mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually and financially… When I started to truly pay attention to my body and all the messages and answers it holds… When I began to intentionally work really hard to grow my love for myself…
… it became easy to strip things away. To say “no.” To create S P A C E for what’s most important to me.
I grew the confidence that, scary as this new approach may be, it was the appropriate one to take my life, and business, to the next level.
3. Not being afraid to ask
I identify with being a highly competent person so, asking for help used to be (and sometimes still is) very hard! Vulnerability can be scary but, the truth is: nobody can achieve great success on their own.
There are so many kinds of support we need – in life and in business: motivation, companionship, guidance, accountability and even tough love. Not to mention people to simply help us get things done, whether that’s members of our household or our teams at work!
I’ve also learned the importance of asking for a chance.
It’s something women can be especially bad at: going for opportunities, even when we don’t meet all the criteria and shortchanging ourselves in the process. What happens when we garner the fearlessness to just give it a shot? What’s the worst that can happen?
Well, what’s the best that can happen? A question we need to be asking ourselves much more often.
There are so many inspiring examples around me – of women who’ve asked for a chance and received what they wanted and more. Many of these in the personal domain but, it’s emboldened me to do the same, with great results, in business. It’s helped me to hone my negotiation skills.
4. Not being afraid to try
In the same spirit is having the courage to just start, to fail fast and to keep learning.
Of the growth journeys I’ve shared above, this one has perhaps been the easiest for me. I don’t know if it’s my nature (my CliftonStrengths analysis would suggest so); growing up with an entrepreneur father; or just my stubbornness to do “the done thing!”
We all have a different make-up and varied present circumstances but, I think we can all exercise this muscle: giving things a go. Starting however small: whether that’s tasting a new dish; going someplace that intimidates us; or putting on that outfit that feels a little “too much.”
Over time, these small, personal evolutions, grow our confidence to make bigger and bolder decisions. The kind that leads to innovations that change our world.
Remember: changing your own life, changes the world.
Changing the life of somebody in your family, changes the world. Changing the life of somebody in your community, changes the world. We all have the capacity to be world-changers. We are more powerful than we often give ourselves credit for.
I believe THE most important work we do in this life, is the work we do on ourselves.
What follows is growth and transformation, in every aspect of our lives. Including in our business.
Where is your personal growth journey taking you?