I had a huge “aha” land like a sour pit in my stomach today. My friend, who has joined a team in an admin capacity ? sort of virtual, sort of not was sharing with me how she was uncertain that her employer thought she was doing a good job. I asked her why she thought that. She mentioned that the employer tended to cancel meetings at the last minute, or to tell her to work from home that day, or to be noncommittal about the next step in projects.
So I started explaining to her how we entrepreneurs think and operate: Canceling meetings can mean anything from I’m busy doing something else, to I’m about to lose my sh*t about something so I can’t do a meeting right now, to I don’t think we have anything on our agenda to talk about. Asking someone to work from home that day (in a business that is mostly virtual) probably means the boss feels like working in her pajamas or she doesn’t feel like going into the office, not anything to do with the employee. And being noncommittal about project next actions might mean something or it might not – it could just mean the entrepreneur isn’t prepared and didn’t do their part to move the project forward. It might just mean they are tired, or stressed or decided to play hooky and spend time with the family.
And as I explained this perspective, I realized how often I do this to MY team. And more unsettling, I realized WHY I do it.
We became entrepreneurs for the sense of autonomy and freedom to be gained. Now we ALL know that doesn’t mean you aren’t working a ton of hours and find it hard to unplug from work. But it does often give you a certain authority to make decisions about your calendar and your next steps, and that feels like autonomy.
And you can certainly be an entrepreneur and operate that way.
But what made my stomach sour was the recognition that to really grow my business (and truly feel freedom by having my business be less dependent on me) I had to be serious about my it. I don’t mean getting serious about working hard, or about being committed to my clients and my team – we entrepreneurs have all that down already. I mean getting serious about releasing some of that perceived autonomy and putting some structure back in my life and schedule. I need to commit and KEEP weekly meetings with my team, even if I don’t feel like it at the moment. I need to review what my team asks me to review, even if I really want to work on something more exciting. In other words, I need to be a big girl and run my business like a business.
Does that mean I can’t flex my schedule? Of course not. Does it mean I become a slave to my team and my calendar? It doesn’t. But it means that being an entrepreneur is one thing; taking it to the next level so a team can support you (which is true freedom) requires sticking to some commitments, even if you want to sit in your pajamas and ignore that you promised your team you’d show up for a meeting.
If you aren’t sure where you need to show up more seriously, click here and let us help you in a 30-minute discovery call.