This is the time of year when many people set New Years’ Resolutions or big goals for future. You may be thinking that 2012 is the year to start a new venture and finally resolve to start a new business or make a career change that has been on your mind for a considerable period of time. As exciting as your plans may be, you want to ensure to the best of your ability that your goals come to fruition. We have all heard sayings such as “the only place that success comes before work is in the dictionary” and although it is one of the most overused clichés on the planet, the fact remains that many small businesses and solopreneurs fail because they mistakenly believe that self-employment provides a glamorous lifestyle. In my experience, nothing could be further from the truth. While there is no doubt that I enjoy my daily working life without routines or bosses (and wouldn’t have it any other way), buying into the notion that I no longer answer to anyone and can do whatever I please is not a winning strategy for long-term success. When it comes to practicing self-leadership at work and in business, it is important not to underestimate the challenges associated with being your own boss while deciding whether it is really for you.
Having entrepreneurial roots did not give me the rite of passage to financial freedom. It took considerable time for me to see my business as a viable enterprise. If I wanted to merely survive and make enough money to pay my rent and living expenses, I could have remained employed. However, the primary motivator was based on a lack of fulfillment. My decision to start my first business as a speaker was based primarily on lifestyle considerations, coupled with the belief that if it were a truly viable enterprise that allowed me to do what I loved, it could afford me a way of life that would be immensely gratifying. At the core, I believed in myself enough to take the risk.
If you are contemplating leaving your job or starting a new venture, your capacity to be brutally honest regarding your expectations is a good place to start. When it comes to making choices such as pursuing a new vocation or business, your most important asset is mindfulness. It is all about practicing “me” management…being able to effectively manage yourself. The first step requires honing an unfamiliar kind of mental toughness that will force you to personally dig deep and assess your own reality while loving what you do in order to stay the course.
Achieving professional success is not only about honing one’s business acumen. It requires the ability to truly lead oneself by clarifying one’s values and beliefs. The truth is that many of us buy into the accepted wisdoms of society rather than formulating our own. As a result, we experience an inner conflict as the real “me” is trying to find the way. For example, do you value balance and are you “living it”? Can you discern your own truth and are you able to follow through on your own values and beliefs by putting them into action, rather than rhetoric? This type of values test invariably comes with the territory when you are your own boss. The more clarity we gain around our values, the more effective “me” management becomes. Are you ready?
PS: Look for my brand new book and website in 2012!
2012: Photo by Salvatore Vuono