I have what I like to call BSOAD – Bright Shiny Object Attraction Disorder. And whilst they say diamonds are a girl’s best friend, the bright shiny objects I am attracted to are the things that are most likely to hold me back from making my business a success.
“Oooh look, another training course that would help me.”
“I must read that article on Flying Solo immediately.”
“The latest book from Brene Brown is out!”
“Vikings is on – I love Ragnar Lothbruk.”
“Squeeee … another video of a cat making friends with a camel.”
My bright shiny object can be anything that will take my mind off the fact that I’m bumbling along trying to figure out what I should be focusing on. After all, there is so much I should be focusing on. As a soloist, I need to do everything myself – marketing, sales, admin, bookkeeping, networking, social media, blog posts … the list is endless and of course, this list is on top of the actual services that I need to deliver to clients every day.
How on earth are we meant to do all this stuff?
More importantly, how on earth do we figure out which of the stuff we should actually be doing?
I’m afraid this is a question I can’t answer for you, however something that’s helping me figure out some answers is to be clear about my “why”.
- Why did I start my own business?
- What do I aim to achieve for myself?
- What do I aim to achieve for others?
- Where do my values come into my business?
- How do I use these values to be of service to others?
- What does my business stand for?
At the end of the day, my business is about me. I say this because what gives me joy, inspiration, direction and motivation is knowing that my work is helping others. I do it because it feels good and here’s how it ties in to the above questions.
Why did I start my own business?
I have lived with bipolar disorder for thirteen years and for twelve of those years was incorrectly diagnosed with clinical depression. Back then I didn’t understand what was going on, or why I often behaved the way I did. These days, I don’t want anyone to have to suffer as I did and want to open up more discussions around mental health so people feel able to seek help earlier. I love connecting on a deep level with others and I get to use my love of writing and speaking as additional methods of getting my message out. I coach, write and speak because these things fill my soul.
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What do I aim to achieve for myself?
Do I want success so that I am financially wealthy? Yes, but why? Not so I can look at my bank statement and squeeze my hands together with glee at the interest I’m earning. It’s because I want to use the money to travel, to see the world, to experience the cultures of other people and to soak up the richness of life. I want to use (future – I don’t have it yet!) financial wealth to donate to mental health bodies, to educate our young people about self-worth and mental health and to build schools and dig wells where there is no education or clean water. Is this all I want to do? Hell no. I want to use my emotional and mental wealth to make others feel heard, seen and valued and to know that they do not stand alone. Why? Because it makes me feel good to do so.
What do I aim to achieve for others?
I want people to know that anything is possible – with hard work, determination, consistency, but more importantly, with a great sense of self. In my experience, the lack of belief in our own abilities is the thing that holds us back more than anything. What would we be able to achieve if we weren’t constantly comparing ourselves to others in our field. I want you to succeed, so that you may pave the way for me and that I may in turn, pave the way for others.
Where do my values come into my business?
I have a clear sense of my values and they appear in all areas of my life. These values are:
- Authenticity – to know that I am being real and not trying to pretend to be someone I’m not.
- Integrity – to live within my own moral code and standards.
- Humour – laughter is vital to open and real connection with others.
- Value – to feel and to make others feel valued.
How do I use these values to be of service to others?
The greatest feedback I can receive is that someone has come away from an interaction with me feeling that they’ve been understood and listened to. To me, it doesn’t matter if it’s a client, supplier, colleague, friend or someone who serves me in the supermarket. If I can do that by:
- Telling someone how much I value them or the work they do,
- Helping someone who’s lost or needing some emotional support, and
- Helping others to grow and succeed, then I have created value.
I do not want to pretend to be a genius, a perfect mother, an overnight success or anything else that is a false representation of who I really am. So many of us live continuously in comparison mode and therefore forget about the incredible qualities and skills that we do possess. It is important to me to be honest, trustworthy, open, accepting and supportive – to always act with authenticity.
When I’m faced with an opportunity I know that will be in conflict with my integrity, this lets me know what my boundaries are and helps with decision making. As for humour – don’t we all like to laugh? Most of the time I’m laughing at myself, but a cat/camel combination can work just as easily.
What does my business stand for?
About this, I am crystal clear. My business stands for equality, acceptance, inclusiveness, value, human rights and the support and nurturing of others.
So the next time you find yourself caught up in chasing after a bright shiny object, ask yourself the questions above. From them, clarity with come. And from that clarity will come the focus you need to do the most important things in your business.