In my last blog, I talked about fundraising and ways that it could be done, even in times of crisis. The following blog was supposed to talk about strategic planning and why it is so vital to communities, businesses, and organizations. However, I took a two month sabbatical from writing about what I do and what I could help communities with because I thought it was important to be reflective about myself and my business.
Being Honest With Yourself
Too many people, whether in business or in life, are just not honest with themselves. I don’t think people start out to intentionally lie about who they are or what they can do, but they start to confuse the idea what they are confident they can do with what they actually HAVE done. Always make sure that you are being honest with yourself.
I took time off from my business and my blog because I was frustrated. I knew that it would be hard to ramp up, especially during a pandemic, but I allowed myself to focus on the confidence in my abilities rather than the realities of my situation. I am a one-man show competing against many firms with many more years of experience, many more clients, and the ability to showcase many skillsets within their organizations. Those other firms also have the ability to network more because of the reach they have through past work and employees that have connections that allow them to exponentially work more in the realm than I do.
My frustration caused me to worry that I was not giving my best, so I decided to sit out and reflect on what I could do and what I could do differently than others. I realized that I was not going to be all that different from anyone else. We would have similar skillsets and go after similar projects and that for people who did not know either business, they might not see an overall difference. I decided that I would take the time off and try to be more honest with myself, allow myself to feel frustrated, and see if I could define myself in a way that would give me a chance. But the key was always being honest with myself about who I was and how I could move forward without trading away any of the abilities that might or could make me unique.
A Personal Refresh
So many times businesses don’t change what they do or how they do it because they want their original vision to be the same. I have never ascribed to that ideal because I know that people and businesses change. Just consider how you were when you were 12 compared to 32. Twenty years can make a lot of differences and many life events can happen in that time. It’s the same way in business and we need to make sure that we are being aware of what we are doing and how we can grow the same way.
I decided to take time off to allow myself to be frustrated, but also to think more objectively about how I could work to make my business a success. I started working more on my outreach, using the network I had and the network I have been growing, to let them know of my struggles as well as my successes. I have always tried to be honest with myself, but like most people, I try to hide my struggles because no one wants to hear a sob story…or so I used to think.
And it’s not that a sob story has to be sad or depressing, but I think they are vital. The people you are talking to and working with have their own issues and they need their own outlets and reassurance on what they are doing. Often, you get that from people in your network. But if you aren’t using your network for both professional AND personal growth, not only are you hurting yourself, but you are endangering the comprehensive and collaborative nature of your network.
I have been working to reach out and let people know my frustrations, my ambitions, my successes, and my failures. In the lessons I have learned, I might help another not fail in their goals. I might also learn how someone else overcame adversity, how they were able to succeed after failure. This mindset has helped me more clearly define what I want to be as a person and as a business owner and I think it will make me more successful overall. Will I still fail? 100% and it will probably be a lot more often than I would prefer. But by being honest with myself and collaborating with and within my network, I have a new lease on my life as the way I want it to be.
Watch for My Next Blog!
To get back on track with my blogs, the next blog post will discuss how communities, businesses, and non-profits need to be planning for the future. Most do some sort of planning now, be it business planning, comprehensive planning, or some other form. However, a lot of these are static and they do not live past the publication phase. They sit on a shelf or are outdated the moment they are written. If this crisis has taught us anything, it’s that you need to make sure to plan strategically, for the immediate and distant future.