Every business has a story. There is a reason why Founders, CEO's, Startup Dreamers, and Small Business Owners dive into the entrepreneurial world. And it is my belief that the story needs revisited again and again. Why? Because the narrative is at the core.
Let's face it, our businesses begin because we have a story. The product or service simply is an extension of our own narrative. There is a purpose we seek to reach, a difference we are trying to make, a product we know would support others, or a service we know will positively impact others.
If only the minutia and operations behind making that dream become a reality didn't bog it down.
There are countless productivity books, free webinars, LinkedIn seminars, and coaching offers which have been designed to help us increase our ability to tackle the operations side and go deeper into the message of our products and services. While I wholeheartedly support these avenues - I think the first step is much simpler than that.
We need to remember our origin story.
And if we have become caught in a plateau, lost in the motions of business, we may need a shift. It may be time to change your narrative.
To start, we can take three actions:
Define Limiting Beliefs
Limiting beliefs include those nasty little voices that are in the background of all of our stories, telling us why we can't. Not educated enough. Not enough contacts. Too unknown. Too insignificant. Too old. Too young.
These limiting beliefs always revolve around the concept that we don't have what it takes, lack something that others have, or will always come up against the same walls.
What if these beliefs can be challenged?
The foundational identity of your organization can not be altered, because it is tied to the core reasons why you began it in the first place. Your narrative and your companies story can outlive the limiting beliefs which may make you believe you can not take the next step. But it can.
This is about you coming into a confidence of believing you have the ability to first see the shift in your story and then take actions steps to make that shift happen.
Your narrative can shift in the direction you desire – but it is going to take work. That is why I want to do this with you.
To begin, we are going to practice making a shift. Our first action step is a simple fill in the blank. While it is only one question, it can be repeated again and again as you recognize new parts of your organizations story and who you are becoming.
It is as simple as two statements:
I used to believe…
But now I believe…
You see, as we build our companies, we have the opportunity to discover our own leadership and what we have decided we will stand for. We define what our core values are, what our foundational ideas about ourselves are, and the beliefs which will govern our business. In doing so, we become not only better leaders, but more whole and complete individuals.
But it begins with defining those limiting beliefs and then daring to build our courage to overcome them.
Determine Who Is Holding The Pen
In the same way that we need to define the limiting beliefs which plateau our organizations, we also need to take a pause to see who is holding the pen to our company's story.
Often, when we begin business ventures it is with the rallying support of family, friends, and acquaintances. In the excitement of the new, can come the messy of the yet-to-be-defined. Then, once business comes pouring in and time seems to disappear, it can be hard to halt a moving train. While this is great for revenue streams, it can be challenging for boardrooms with individuals who have yet-to-be or vauge defined roles.
I have worked with numerous companies who had the fortune of scaling fast and securing a strong client roster faster than they anticipated. This is fantastic for the bottom line, yet can cause friction in defining direction. Why? Because the decision-making hierarchy, answering the question of who is holding the pen to the organization's story, may not have been defined.
Again, this goes back to the core of your company's narrative and the fact it is tied into a desire to make a difference, serve others, and offer quality products which meet the needs of your customers.
No one wants to halt that process in order to define organization roles or figure out the chain of command - especially if that process could cause upheaval.
But it must be done.
We must ask ourselves, "Who is truly holding the pen to my companies story?" And there are likely going to be times in which to truly enter into the full narrative you are seeking to tell with your company, you may have to take the pen back.
This doesn't mean you become a tyrant. It doesn't mean hurting or harming others. This isn't a wrestling match. I am simply advocating for taking the time to collaboratively define who is holding the pen and if you are proud of where your organization's story is going.
I am a huge believer that is is important to regularly pause and make sure that they story you set out to tell is the one you are still authoring.
When we say the words "perseverance" and "endurance" what comes to mind?
The last mile of a marathon? The sweaty finish line? Burning midnight oil? The times when your hustle has a side-hustle and a moonlight gig?
Here is the action step which I am going to share which might sound counter-productive - but it is that in order to build up true perseverance - we need to rest.
While I am in full support of running hard and I can be a work-a-holic - I also know that it an only last for so long. I'm learning in my own company's story that there is a better way in which to endure.
I want to tell a story with my company that I am proud of. I want to foster an environment that others want to remain with me in. I want to actually preserve that healthy and vitality of not only my products and services, but of my team.
To be able to do these things, I must be healthy myself. And to do that, there must be some semblance of rest. There must be a refresh. And so, I am challenging myself to remember perseverance and how to restore it again and again.
This is how I am shifting my own story - and how I am becoming proud of the narrative I am seeking to tell.
How about you?
When it comes to the story of your business, what shifts would you like to see?
What would it mean to you to change your narrative?