As a leader, no matter at what level, you will likely at some point find yourself wondering whether you’re making the right decision.
The degree of self-questioning will likely vary depending on your knowledge, skills, experience as well as how you feel about your role as a leader.
For most, the doubts will pass quickly-ish and you’ll move on with your day.
But for some, making decisions with high-levels of impact creates constant anxiety. To the point of it being incapable of actually making a decision. In extreme cases, it can devolve into an actual case of imposter syndrome.
So what can leaders do should they find themselves potentially dealing with imposter syndrome?
The very, very first thing is, let's understand what it is that you are dealing with. The Oxford Languages defines imposter syndrome as: “The persistent inability to believe that one’s success is deserved or has been legitimately achieved...
If you’re anything like me, these past few years have created habits of overwork.
Both growing a small business and being a leader have become so all-encompassing that I’ve been dropping the ball on an essential part: continuous growth.
I used to be really consistent with reading leadership books, business books. I used to attend webinars, take courses, regularly meet with people and then, somehow, operational aspects of the businesses took over.
Realizing this, I ensured to still make time for strategy by forcing recurring meetings which would, in turn, push me back out to planning strategically. But that did not address the growth part. Unless you count overcoming challenges but that is more unintentional growth. And I’m talking about controlled, intentional growth.
So what can we do to get back on the learning track when operational requirements have taken over?
One thing that you can do is join a book club. Now, to be fair, when I told my...
Recently, I met an absolutely wonderful solopreneur. We were talking about various challenges, about messaging in marketing, about pitching potential clients, and, as part of this back-and-forth conversation, I shared something about a difficult moment I experienced as a leader. This person’s demeanor changed instantly. “I don’t have a team. It’s just me. I’m still learning. Trying to get better at business.”
If it had been said with confidence it would be one thing. But it was said as an apology. As though, because this person was a solopreneur, that they wouldn’t have anything of value to contribute to our conversation.
So, to the solopreneurs who are finding themselves feeling like they're somehow less than others because they don't have a team, here’s some perspective on putting those thoughts aside and embracing the power of being a solopreneur.
Or at least it should be.
Denis Waitley said:...
Let's face it, being a new leader can be scary. Even though people don't talk about it a lot, it is natural to feel overwhelmed and anxious about how to handle situations and their outcome. The thing is, though, worrying can be destructive when left uncontrolled. And as entrepreneurs and leaders, I can guarantee you, you will be placed in high-stress, high-impact situations and even have to make decisions caught between the proverbial rock and a hard place.
So what can new leaders do to help manage harmful worrying?
The first thing is to actually recognize that it is harmful. Yes, I know. You're probably like: “I know that worrying is harmful.” Okay. But are you fully acknowledging it? Are you fully acknowledging just how harmful it is?
Have you truly considered how it is harming you as a person? It can take a toll on your mental and physical health. You will start feeling physical side effects, symptoms of that constant worry. Your...
To truly unlock a business's full potential requires addressing two complementary aspects in parallel.
The first one is the business side: understanding the strategy, financials, planning, operations, product services, marketing, etc. Basically, all that comes together to make a business functional.
The second one is the people side: the individuals that make the systems work together and fulfill the organization's purpose.
Because many entrepreneurs frequently start out by themselves, they typically will focus more on the functional side of things to build enough of a profitable business to, let's say, start paying themselves.
But what happens is, as the business starts to grow, they still heavily favor the functional side to the detriment of the people side.
So what can micro-business owners do to ensure that they are growing the people at the same time as the business?
The first thing is to understand how leaders make the difference....
When evaluating how our business is doing, we tend to gravitate toward stats. Numbers are that objective measure of growth or signal that there are significant issues that need to be addressed.
I know, for me, digging into numbers is that comfortable place. I just love it when I analyze the impact of implemented strategies. Okay… I don't always love it when the results aren't what I was hoping for, but it's certainly that fairly objective measure where I can really see whether the strategies are working or not.
But, as much as stats are essential – and a good SWOT – one aspect that is frequently neglected is measuring whether we’re remaining creative.
Creativity is key in helping entrepreneurs stand out from the crowd and gain a competitive edge.
So, in which ways do we employ creativity to ensure we’re driving innovation and growth?
One way is in recognizing opportunity. In another article, I talked about how to separate that...
Phil Knight, the creator of Nike, once said: “History is one long processional of crazy ideas. The things I loved most – books, sports, democracy, free enterprise – started as crazy ideas.”
Let's face it. Entrepreneurs are usually known for having a ton of ideas. They're idea-making machines. And it might be tempting, as a small business owner who's looking to grow, to try all these ideas. That infamous shiny object syndrome. “This is exciting, let's try this.” “That is exciting. Let's try that.”
But what quick framework could you use to begin evaluating whether you should explore pursuing your latest “crazy idea”?
The very first thing to consider: is their market for it? Are there people with access to money who will be willing to part with their hard-earned cash for what you're offering? Because if you're targeting a group that can't afford what you're offering, that's problematic.
Of course, if...
Have you ever been in a position where you had to revisit a past decision that you made, but when you started reviewing the available information, you couldn't remember why and how you came to that decision?
Yeah, that happens to me too.
As leaders, we have so much going on, so many decisions to make day in, day out. At some point some of the details will escape us.
So how can we help guard against losing too many valuable decision making details?
Whether it's when creating a budget, collecting metrics, or analyzing information, taking a moment to record your thought process could help yourself and other reviewers better understand what they are looking at and what was my thought process.
It doesn’t need to be long. Adding brief notes, a short comment, a thought, is sufficient.
This also helps provide an overview of some of the history, because that tends to get lost as well. If a team member suddenly leaves, that is a loss of history. This is a way to...
Anyone managing any kind of budget has surely come across a version of “You need to spend money to make money”.
Without any kind of guidelines or caveats, this can actually be a very dangerous statement.
Unbridled, that mindset could actually lead an organization to bankruptcy.
I would argue that we need to invest money to make money, and not all business purchases are an investment just because we really, really, want something. That desire alone doesn't turn it into an investment. Sometimes, it is just plain old spending.
As the year-end approaches, many business owners are having conversations with their accountants about taxes. And it might be tempting to try to reduce a business’ tax load by spending money. But it's important to take a moment to consider what that money will actually provide in return.
So, what can we do to help guide our thinking and help us make the distinction between year-end investing and year-end spending?
As leaders who are actively seeking to have a positive impact, leaders who genuinely want to understand and support their team members as unique individuals, we must expand our universe. We must engage with the world in ways that will help us view it through different lenses.
What can we do to help us gain more of that perspective?
Think about it. When was the last time you did that? When was the last time that you exchanged ideas with someone outside of your field of expertise?
It doesn't happen that often.
Reality is, individuals in the same field tend to read the same books, speak to the same people, attend the same conferences. And so, we find ourselves living in this microcosm. Which means we need to step out of that to gain more perspective.
To keep growing as leaders, it's important to also engage in business conversations with those outside our field of expertise, to learn more about how they operate their...