Sometimes You Need To Pull It Apart
Have you ever taken on a project and decided it was just not, quite right? It required a few more steps than you expected. Maybe, it was a piece of furniture that needed to be refinished. But, before it could be turned into that amazing piece it needed to be dismantled and carefully cleaned, sanded, re-stained and a beautiful new glossy coat of finish applied.
People are like that as well. Last year, the decision was made that I would officially join my wife full-time in business. My wife, Amy, had made that jump into entrepreneurship many years earlier. Beginning with a part-time direct sales business that then led to her current full-time business of coaching, training, consulting, and speaking business. She will be the first to tell you that to get where she is today, she had to pull many of the parts apart and rehab, train and learn new skills to become the business leader that she became.
However, this is about my story. Having spent most of my life in corporate America and working as an employee, my change has been three-fold. As most who decide to become self-employed business owners will attest, it does not come easy. Hey, if it were, everybody would do it, right? Probably, the reason most will never take the leap is the need to re-build much of yourself. I did not come from a family of business owners, (other than my Mom’s parents who both retired while I was just a kid). I had no go-to-mentors or people to assist me into learning how to run a business other than my spouse. Heck, I did not start this until I was 56. But, with patience (most times) Amy has helped guide me into this new chapter of my life.
The first thing I had to learn was how to ditch the employee mentality. The cold hard realization that if we were to replace my income and not lose our current lifestyle it was now on my shoulders to make things happen. Of course, challenging work and putting long hours in was never a problem for me. However, I needed to learn some new skill sets and the fine art of creating business from relationship building. You see unlike working for a large company with an already proven customer base, growing our business, is a unique new challenge. Just like yours is. Most employees who are stuck at a desk in a brick and mortar building never think too much about how to grow the customer base. However, as a business owner you are always thinking about building, servicing, and keeping your customer base. This is fundamental and requires a change in your thinking and business acumen to grow a successful and prosperous business. I compare it to the process where you take a new project and dive into its construction and function before you start the process of adding value to it.
The second major shift and pivot that I have had to learn with this new endeavor, would be what skills I had, would not necessarily be the most needed. In the past six months I have learned the art of networking, social media building, videography, and positive mindset development. Now, this is on-going training that will continue and develop as I grow and become a kick butt business owner. I did not have most of those skills working a J.O.B. They were not needed nor sought out by me. So, by learning the needed skills and adding a few that Amy did not have time for, we have added value and diversity to our business.
If I had to name, the most critical rebuilding and reshaping of myself it would be mind set. A quote by Idowu Koyenikan, author of Wealth for All said, “The mind is just like a muscle – the more you exercise it, the stronger it gets and the more it can expand.” Now keeping a strong and positive mindset does not come easy to me. In fact, I would have to say it stems from a number of factors. As a child growing up in West Texas or rather the Plains of Texas, my childhood was riddled with many situations and occurrences that possibly contributed to a terribly negative and low self-esteemed pre-adolescence. (But that is a story for later). I take full responsibility and realize that in order to re-wire my brain and thinking I will have to be very diligent and conscientious to the process. I have had to learn what makes me think the way I do and why I do what I do.
So, if I were to coach or mentor someone on rebuilding or re-purposing themselves. My first advice would be to take the top three areas that they themselves could see and be willing to pull it apart and use it as a new foundation. Just like a building, once a good solid foundation is laid down, then the next pieces can be constructed and firmed up. My favorite speaker of all time the late great Jim Rohn said it this way, “The big challenge is to become all that you have the possibility of becoming. You cannot believe what it does to the human spirit to maximize your human potential and stretch yourself to the limit.”