This is a LMBDW member submission by Frances Wills, founder of Think Maven.
Do you believe that you are the biggest asset to your startup?
I often ask entrepreneurs this question, and the response is nearly always, “no,” it’s the product or service they’ve created. However you are what created the product in the first place, without you, it wouldn’t exist! I always tell my clients, however big your vision and ambition is for your business, you must match it for yourself. If we are to survive and thrive and “have it all” we need to lay the foundations for our future by developing our self-leadership.
So what is self-leadership exactly? “Self-leadership is having a developed sense of who you are, what you can do, where you are going coupled with the ability to influence your communication, emotions and behavior on the way to getting there” (Bryant, Kazan 2012). How you self-lead and lead the team around you, is one of the biggest intangible assets of your business. This is vital in the unpredictability of the startup world, as we know our product can pivot at any point due to many factors such as changing customer needs, new technology, or global players entering the market. Therefore being less attached to the product, and more invested in the person behind the product (yes, you!) creates a whole new world of opportunities such as increased levels of performance, creativity, resilience, to name a few!
As you’re reading this, I’m sure you’re thinking, “this sounds great, but I don’t have the time!” I get it. When your average day starts as early as sunrise and ends well after sunset, fighting fires is the norm, and the task can move from PA to CEO in a day, it’s no wonder “me time” falls down the list. But I won’t sugar coat it – making your self-development a priority is priceless. Stepping out of the day-to-day hustle, to look at what is serving you, and what is stopping you or holding you back is one the best things you can do for your business.
Give yourself 20 minutes today, to bring your awareness to you, the human being behind the role of “founder” or “CEO.” With any judgment set aside, spend some time working through the following statements and see what arises for you.
- Do you know your personal ‘why’? Your vision for yourself, your business?
- Do you embody the belief that you are your best asset, resource, plan B and C in one?
- Are you OK with failure? Do you agree with the statement that, ‘failure leads to growth’
- Are you OK with feedback? Do you get defensive when receiving feedback, or do you see it as an opportunity to learn and grow?
- When faced with a challenge or a personal setback, are you able to step out of your shoes and look at a different perspective?
- How flexible are you when faced with change? How comfortable are you with uncertainty?
- Can you enjoy the process, without focusing on the outcome? As Vivian Greene says, “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass…it’s about learning to dance in the rain.”
So, what will you be investing in for your startup today?