Do you own a business? Then you know what I am talking about.
Let me start by saying: you are not alone. There are probably a billion of us around the world. Really think about that and let it sink in. Every person who exchanges money for products or services is a business owner. They (we) are responsible for our own success and the life we live. (In as far as circumstances allow. I think we can agree we don’t live in a meritocratic world.)
Even though the current society norm, this employee paradigm, is only a couple of centuries old, our whole society is built around it. The world is set up around the 40 hour work week with regular, predictable, bi-weekly paycheques. Mortgages, monthly rent, loan payments are all set up this way. Even our education system and public transportation system is geared this way.
The stories we tell are about wildly successful unicorns (Facebook, Mark Cuban, Walmart) or starving failures. We don’t celebrate the shopkeeper who has been plugging away for years, paying staff, providing goods, sponsoring community.events.
Everyone has Imposter syndrome. Do you think Elizabeth, Queen of England doesn’t second guess herself at times? She was born to that position, and yet, if she is human, even after 60 years, she has times when she wonders if she can do this.
Picture any successful person and I can guarantee that they feel inadequate at times. The only difference between you and them is that you can’t read their thoughts, but you can hear yours loud and clear.
Who is a business owner? My mother who has been an Avon rep for decades, doesn’t consider that she is. How about the guy who makes furniture in his garage and sells it at the side of the road on Saturday mornings? What about the woman who makes websites after work and on weekends? Think about the people in Mumbai,
Success in today’s society is defined by income and toys.The vast majority of business owners will not win this game, they have a different metric of success, but it’s hard not to feel lonely when you are playing a different game.
Success for me is total control over my time. Most people can’t relate to that. How many times have you been asked, “How do you stay motivated if you don’t have a boss?”. Are you kidding me? I love what I do. Try to keep me away from it.
As much as we are told we get to define our success our way, society still looks at money as THE measure of success. It’s why the people in our lives keep asking us when are we going to get a real job. Not because they disapprove, well maybe they do, but also because they love us and they are afraid for us. That just makes us feel even more lonely.
Studies show that in comparison we would rather give up some (money) as long as we have more than others, rather than all of us have the same amount. What? We are wired for this. I don’t know why.
Social media makes it worse. We see all the beautiful pictures of all the beautiful people living their beautiful lives and we cringe. Of course, we are comparing our insides to their outsides; we are comparing our whole life with their high-light reel.
And that’s why having fans is so important. We all have fans. People who see what we are doing; GET it and sometimes even tell us. We are trailblazers and other people notice. Some see us and get scared. Some see us and envy us. Some see us and quietly (or not) appreciate what we are doing and cheer us on.
January is Fans month. Join us on the inside of the Business Owners Success Club for a ready-made group of fans.