As a business owner or leader, are you open to developing yourself?
Have you hit the ceiling in your business? Are you in a hurry to achieve more and take your business to the next level, but there always seems to be something blocking your way? Have you ever thought that the problem might not be external but could come from within? Anthea Stevanovic is an experienced business consultant who has helped many business owners break through their misconceptions and barriers to success. In this article, she walks through the benefits of self-development and the ramifications of not being open to developing yourself as the leader of your business and team.
Nov 22, 2022
5 mins read
As business owners, we are often impatient and eager to see things happen to achieve our desired results. For many of us, having control over how things are and what we do every day is one of the reasons we went into business, even if we don’t like to admit it. This level of control and impatience often comes with sacrifices, including a perceived lack of time to work on or develop ourselves as leaders. However, this is one sacrifice we can’t afford to make as business owners. In this article, I explain why.
Recently, a client asked me how to speed up the process of change his business was undergoing. We’ve been working together for about a year, and the business is completely different from when we started, with multiple improvements and significant growth achieved. However, being eager for rapid change and progress, my client wants things to move even faster. He’s had a taste of how things could be and wants it all now.
Knowing there is still a lot that needs to be done in my client’s business, such as systems to implement, staff to train and bigger deals to be won, my response was that it was time for him to start working on himself before taking the business to the next level. Let me explain why.
I believe everyone should undertake self-development at some point in their lives, and, in my experience as a business consultant, it’s even more critical for business owners and leaders. Why? Because everything you have in your life and around you, including your business, is a direct result of the way you are being and the things you have done or not done. More specifically, you have personally created everything that is going well in your business and life and also everything that is not going well. I know this to be true from working closely with hundreds of people over the years. It takes a healthy relationship with responsibility to truly understand this. But once you do, it is extremely empowering. It means you can literally create anything you want and have the ability to shape how you want your life and business to be.
Are you responsible and empowered or a victim of circumstance?
When it comes to responsibility, there are generally two types of people in the world. And the way they see things is vastly different, which explains why they also experience different outcomes in business and life.
There are those who believe that things just happen and that they are a victim of circumstance. This type of person would not agree with my view that we personally create what happens in our lives. When bad things happen, they often think, “Why me?” and “What did I do to deserve this?” or “This is just the way things are”. They typically have an apathetic and unempowered outlook on life and believe life happens to them, and they have no control over it.
Then there are those who believe that the things they have around them are a direct result of their effort, energy, way of being and thoughts. They genuinely believe they can control the outcomes in their lives and are responsible for those outcomes and willing to be the cause in the matter. They have seen that the more responsible they are for all aspects of their lives, including their own self-development, the more things start to work in their favour.
Over the years, as I’ve grown and learned by working on and changing myself and observing many business owners and people in general, I have come to realise that the more responsible you are and the more ownership you take over your life and its outcomes, the better things get. I’m not saying there won’t be challenges or that ‘bad’ things won’t happen. There will always be external circumstances beyond your control. But by knowing that you can choose how you respond to what happens and steer the course in your preferred direction, you can get through the bumps with greater ease and less impact on you and your business. That’s empowering!
Breakthroughs begin with developing yourself
For many business owners I work with who have hit the ceiling preventing further growth, it quickly becomes evident that the one thing stopping them from breaking through that ceiling is themselves. Their way of being, conditioning, ego and everything that has happened to them up until this point in their lives are holding them back. All these aspects work together to inhibit their ability to break through. They create blind spots, patterns that don’t serve them, ‘personality traits’ that don’t work and thoughts that don’t help. When working with those business owners, I find I often have to repeat myself, and they tend to repeat mistakes or come up against the same blockage or problem time after time. At this point, I know they must start to look within and commit to developing themselves.
In my experience, the leaders and business owners who achieve their objectives know and understand the influence they have on their business, staff and the results achieved. So, if something needs to be fixed or they want faster results, rather than looking externally, they start to look at themselves and change from within. They change their way of being, their way of thinking, their level of responsibility and willingness to cause things to happen rather than be a victim of circumstance. As a consequence, their results improve, often exponentially.
On the other hand, the business owners who tend to face the most barriers and issues are those who are unwilling to look at themselves and change. Instead of developing themselves and working on their own shortcomings, they blame their staff, the economy and anything else they can outsource blame to for the reason their business is underperforming. They take a “Why me?” attitude, complain that things are hard and unfair and don’t take enough responsibility for their lives and businesses. They avoid taking action and are stuck in a place where they are disempowered and unhappy.
Which one would you rather be? The business owner who is responsible, empowered, prepared to develop themselves and able to tackle anything? Or the one who feels helpless, sorry for themselves, and blames everyone and everything but themselves?
Facing your imperfections and developing yourself can be challenging. My advice when doing any work on yourself is to find a good coach who can guide you on the journey. I also love the Being FrameworkTM, a methodical approach to understanding and then enhancing and transforming human performance, effectiveness and leadership. The framework gives an insight into your relationship with thirty-one human qualities, including responsibility and empowerment, as discussed in this article. That way, you have a baseline for what to work on when developing yourself as a business leader. I know many amazing coaches who work with this framework, so if you wish to start on this journey and would like an introduction, I encourage you to reach out.