This week I’ve been reflecting on the importance of finding what works for us in everything we do. Not comparing ourselves to others, not chasing somebody else’s dream. How do you approach tasks that drain your energy and how do you make them work for you? How do harness your natural strengths and put them to good use in your business? Whether you’re just launching a new business, thinking about starting or in a growth phase, understanding what gives you energy and what drains you is the key to avoiding overwhelm, frustration and burnout. Without this knowledge you risk falling out of love with the very thing you love, that you’ve worked so hard to nurture and grow. You deserve to build a business that really works for you but how do you do it in your way?
“Be yourself, everyone else is taken.” Oscar Wilde
Doing things your way
Companies spend a fortune trying to help us improve on our weaknesses which in my experience is big a mistake. By all means learn a new skill or push yourself outside your comfort zone but ultimately, you’ve got to do things in ways that work for you, playing to your strengths. Chasing someone else’s version of success or comparing yourself to others is a huge waste of time and energy. Now I’m not going to lie and tell you this is easy because it isn’t. If you’re not naturally a numbers person and the thought of crunching through a spreadsheet is your idea of torture, then nothing anyone tells you is going to change that. And if the idea of picking up the phone to a complete stranger fills you with dread, then that is your reality.
Which brings me to a fundamental truth – You actually only have one option and that’s to do things your way. But what does that actually mean and why we struggle with this so much? It’s human nature to be curious about other people and quite natural to compare ourselves with them. It’s one of the ways we learn. As babies we mimic what we see and as children we look at older children and our parents for indicators on how we should behave or how to do something we don’t know how to do. But something seems to get lost in translation, particularly as we grow into adults and start adhering to social norms. Instead of looking at something and saying ‘How would I do that in my way’ we are more likely to try and copy something exactly and then beat ourselves up for not being able to do it as well.
But the person you’re looking at and comparing yourself to is different than you. They are wired differently, they have different perspectives and experience than you. And that’s what I see with so many entrepreneurs and business owners. They are constantly comparing themselves to other people without asking the fundamental question, ‘How do I do that in my way’. How about focusing instead on getting ourselves and the people around us into flow, by which I mean getting connected to our natural energies? These energies determine how we see the world, how we interact with others, how we make decisions and what kind of businesses we build.
There’s the Activating energy which is full of ideas and drive and ego and innovation. Head in the cloud and always looking to the future. This energy likes change and taking risks and is always looking to mix things up. You need this energy to start a business. If you have a lot of this energy then you’ll be full of drive and innovation, so you’ll need to bring creativity to your tasks. Do them in a challenging and interesting way. How can you mix it up, set yourself goals, make it interesting?
There’s the counter-balancing Sustaining energy which is grounded in the here and now. With a focus on balance and avoiding conflict, this is a more reflective energy that we need in order to bring consistency to our businesses. If you’re all about balance and harmony then you’ll need a routine, a process. Who can help you with that?
The Inspiring energy is all about the people. Collaborating, engaging and connecting with others is what this energy is all about and we need this to bring team members on board, to manage our customers and engage with investors. If you get your energy from being around others, then everything you do needs to be collaborative. Who can you work with on this? What can you do for someone else so that they will then spend time with you tackling your tasks?
The final piece of your profile is the Refining energy with its focus on how to get things done. Structure and facts and numbers. We need this energy to build systems and processes so that we can scale and make some money! If you’re more task-focused and find dealing with groups of people drains your energy then you need to plan your day accordingly. I love running my workshops but I always block my calendar out afterwards so that I can decompress and recharge my batteries.
Understanding how much of each of these energies you have is key to finding your individual flow but also the flow of your team. If you haven’t already taken my Energy Flow test, and you’d like to find out more, please get in touch. It really will change the way you see yourself and your business.
The more we actually allow ourselves to operate within our natural energy, and refine our skills accordingly, the more effective we become and the more valuable we make our contribution. But finding your flow is a constant process of trying different things and finding what works. It comes from looking at what you’re spending your time and focus on. And it comes from understanding where you get your energy from and what drains it. It’s important to understand that your wiring or preferences are not the same as your capabilities. You are extremely capable of doing most things you set your mind to. You just need to do it in a way that works for you.
Here are my Top Ten Tips for Doing Things Your Way:-
🌟 Time. Doing things your own way starts with paying attention to what you spend your time on. What’s in your calendar and how do you feel about all those things? What are the tasks in your business that you love and which ones drain your energy? What are you putting off and why?
🌟 Rhythm. It’s not just about your time but also the rhythm of your days. Are you a morning person or a night owl? Notice what times of day your energy shifts. When do you feel most focused? How about creative? When does your body tell you it needs to move?
🌟 Options. Instead of just expecting yourself to suck it up, consider how else you could complete certain tasks. Would collaborating with someone help? Maybe there’s a more innovative way of approaching it? How could you make it fun or at least less painful?
🌟 Rules. Rules are someone else’s vision of how things must be, but that doesn’t mean it’s the right way. Do things the way you like them, play by your own rules. You won’t always succeed but it’s better to fail in your own way and learn from your failure than to compromise who you are.
🌟 Unique. It’s often difficult to understand that what comes naturally to us, is a real struggle for other people. Getting clear about how your unique blend of skills, experience and perspective can benefit your clients will help you build a business that works for you.
🌟 Clients. You don’t have a business when you have a product or service, you have a business when you have a client. Get really focused on the problems you can solve for your clients. You won’t have a business if you can’t reach them and you may need help with this.
🌟 Be yourself. The worse thing you can do in life or business is to try and be something you’re not. Stand up for your values and what you believe in and you’ll attract people who feel the same. Don’t be bland. Get clear on what you and your business stand for.
🌟 Honesty. Doing things your way means being honest. You can’t skip the hard work and in many ways it can be harder to speak and live your truth. We all have our strengths and weaknesses. Be honest with yourself about who you are, what you want and how you feel.
🌟 Kindness. Understand that this is a marathon not a sprint. You are on a journey which will have many twists and turns. Beating yourself up is pointless, instead try to be kind and compassionate. Treat every mistake and failure as an opportunity to learn. Let go of the illusion of control.
🌟 Enjoy. When the tough days come, and they always do, remind yourself to enjoy what you’re doing. You chose this life and if you’re not enjoying it then you can change it. Don’t spend your time on building something that doesn’t light you up and make you want to get out of bed.
It’s completely unrealistic to expect yourself to know everything or be able to do everything. Please be kind to yourself and if you’d like to talk through the choices you’re facing or any blockers in your business, let me know.
Lisa Zevi – December 2021