After leaving my corporate job, I started working independently. There was no time-clock to guide me and nothing to set boundaries for me, except ME. For every entrepreneur, freedom is one of the most important values that they uphold & cherish. They are visionaries and risk-takers too. The reason for them to break-free from the 9 am to 5 pm work cycle is to have freedom, choice, their dream lifestyle and of course their passionate purpose which they want to work upon. Once you move from a structured system to a highly flexible system, where all the time is yours; the idea is both exhilarating and daunting too. Exhilarating because you enjoy the whole time thinking about your dream, planning, articulating, ideating and then acting on those plans. While doing so, you tend to immerse so much into the process that you forget time and finally you land up working more than what you had aspired for. You are left with no control over your time and it just flies. You land up picking more assignments to fill your calendar and generate more business/income because now you are all on your own. There isn't a fixed salary every month, you need to manage your funds, your time, your energy, your being etc. That's when your leadership agility comes to play. The more depth you have in your leadership ability, the more you can lead yourself well during this journey. You know very well that entrepreneurship is not for faint-hearts but for those courageous few who can surf through the occasional tides without losing the very zeal, energy and spirit which propelled them to take this first step towards exceptional self-leadership called entrepreneurship.
Few years back, I would have dreaded even thinking about myself as an entrepreneur. I never thought on those lines because I was a person who adjusted in the default systems unwillingly ofcourse. But, when I took plunge, I just took it because there lay a vision that is much more powerful than my fears, inhibitions; there lay a purpose much bigger than my small goals; there lay an inner commitment that is much inspiring than external curbing forces. Yes, I am a Coach Entrepreneur! Only when you see yourself this way, you actually move ahead in your path towards becoming a Master Coach and a successful entrepreneur. I guess I am digressing a bit here. So, let's get back on track. It's all about leading yourself than you lead others. As entrepreneurs, you are majorly alone in this journey, at least in the initial phase. So, it is very important to be able to lead yourself effectively. Everything you do will be reflected and so will your energy. If you move ahead with fear, you will attract more fear. If you are feeling insecure, you will attract insecurity. If you walk the path without being mindful, you will attract distractions, stress and other negativity along the line. Undoubtedly you have a lofty dream, a lofty purpose; you are a master in what you do and hence you have chosen to move forward alone. But, what will determine your success eventually is your ability to lead yourself every time you fall, every time you feel low, every time you want to give up, every time you doubt yourself, every time you loose focus.....the list is endless. Here are few areas for you to ponder & lead yourself well.This is from my personal experience. If I can do it, you too can. This isn't a destination but a journey of self-discovery and mastery. A journey to connect with your essence.
1. Lead yourself towards cultivating an effective entrepreneurship mindset. You are playing the game for the long haul and not just for couple of years. There are times when you will forget your "WHY" for doing what you are doing specially during challenging and low times. That's when your entrepreneurship mindset will come to play. Lead yourself towards mastering that.
2. Lead yourself towards managing your energy and not time. Time is a limited resource but energy is limitless. Be mindful of your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual energy. Be mindful of what fills you up and what drains you. Lead yourself towards putting focus on those things that fills you and dropping things that drain you.
3. Lead yourself from a scare mindset to an abundance mindset. There is high possibility for an entrepreneur to develop the scare mindset. What you think and belief, you create. If you think of scarcity, your actions will show up and obviously the results will follow the pattern.
4. Lead yourself towards becoming a profound giver. The very reason for starting was to solve a pain point that is prevalent in your community and you are set out to solve it to add value to it. Never forget this while you create abundance for yourself. In giving you receive. Receiving is a by-product.
5. Lead yourself from becoming a workaholic to creating your dream lifestyle where you not only have a thriving business but loving relationships, happy & joyous family, your nurturing time. No point in becoming successful sans joy, love and happiness in your life. Integration is the key. Have real happy life and not just a virtual social life.
6. Lead yourself from being an individualist high performer to an inspiring leader seeking & harnessing support along the way.
7. Lead yourself from being a safe player to a risk-taker. When you feel uncomfortable, remember you are growing.
8. Lead yourself from being used to certainty to appreciating uncertainty. You might think that now everything is set, but the truth is, higher you go, you will have different challenges to overcome. So, the key is to develop your depth to be able to take on challenges as it come.
9. Lead yourself from being excited to being joyful. Excitement dies down quickly, but the state of joyfulness is the state of being that you must cultivate and be. Be joyful always.
Last but not the least, hire a good coach who will be able to support you during this transition. During our difficult times, we tend to lose our ability to decide and think. We get stuck in our habitual patterns and blind spots. That's when we hold ourselves back. It's important that we challenge ourselves during these times and keep going. Undoubtedly you will reach your destination, but with external support, you will reach it much faster, joyously and have an exponential growth.
"Problems can become opportunities when the right people come together." - Robert Redford
How do I find the right person for my team? This is a question that haunts many entrepreneurs, in particularly the ones that are all set to build their team for the first time. After having spend almost a decade in hiring people and understanding their patterns, after having even analysed my own patterns of leaving jobs after some point & after coaching corporate professionals transitioning to entrepreneurial roles, I did ask myself these questions, "What does it take to build a great team? Why some people stay and some don't? Even if they stay, why do they not stay for long? What drives them? What are their needs? Are they aligned?" etc. It's very easy to put a tag on a person as job hoppers, low performers, put them under PIP (Performance Improvement Plan) etc. We must take responsibility for this judgment and stereotyping. Somewhere our inability to understand things in-depth plays a big role. The fact is, just because they aren't meeting your aspirations, fulfilling your criteria of performance, success and creativity; doesn't make them failures, low performers or whatever you may call it. If you are to really select the right person for your team, you have to understand what's deep down there that comes into play. You have to master the art of hiring the right person! You fail here and everything falls apart!
It's very important for entrepreneurs (transitioning from corporate to entrepreneurial role) to actually have a team aligned with them because high amount of risk is involved if you don't have the right team to take you forward towards your vision. Opposites do attract, but similarities bond well in the long run. So let's try and understand what do you need to uncover and find answers to to hire the right person in your team. These tips can be applied to any relationship that you would like to form. It doesn't limit to just professional one but personal too.
1. See for their abilities: Are they capable enough to do the job that you intend to hire them for? At the beginning, everyone performs well. In fact, when you are interviewing, the interviewee will sell you pretty well. So, here you have to use your wisdom, acumen and intuition to uncover the depth of the person. What he/she is sharing? The truth and the untruth; the missing link, the cutting down of the real stories, the portrayal, the projection, their gifts, their shadows, their strengths, their blind-spots.
2. Will they do the job in the long-term? This isn't about blind loyalty but about inner intention/commitment of the person concerned. Many a times people would stick to you just like the parasite. But, what matters is, are they going to do the job in the long run with same passion and dedication which they showed earlier? What's their pattern? It cannot be gauged by just their past records but by understanding their "WHY" for doing the job. Are they doing it for some short-term goal that they have set for themselves or are they doing it for some bigger inner commitment/their bigger WHY? Because once the goal is achieved, there is high probability that they would leave to fulfill their bigger goal.
3. Are their goals aligned with your vision for your Organization? It's an art to allow people to be vulnerable and share their truth with you. When does this happen? Only when you are honest, truthful and vulnerable yourself. When you can create that space for them to open up to you, you will understand what their deepest desires are and what their lofty aspirations are. Once there is a match, you will see alignment of purpose for both.
4. Understanding their basic nature: Everybody has a basic nature. Some are introverts, some extroverts, some are creative, some are silo workers, some love privacy, some love openness, some reserved, some talkative etc. It's important that the job reinforces their basic nature. Or else, things will fall apart. You can't make a Doberman a Labrador! Some basic natures can't be played around with. You nurture their basic nature, they grow, you grow. You tame them, it'll explode at some point.
5. Do they fit well with the team? Team fitment is not just about team-work, team dynamics and the like but about the intrinsic needs that drives the team members. More aligned the intrinsic needs of every team member, higher the team performance. To understand more on this, check the info-graphics below:
Selecting the right team is very important for you to succeed. It saves much of your energy and time. A misfit will rob you off your peace of mind and put you off track. So, be mindful of whom you are hiring. Also, be mindful of your judgments and own limitations while selecting the right team. Judgments and conditioning blocks our ability to think well, decide well and bond well. Sometimes our own blind-spots stand in our way and holds us from making the right decision. Before you hire, be sure of yourself and what you seek. Need help, ask for it. Don't shy away.
Do share your hiring stories with me. What other ways you found effective? What worked well and what didn't? I would be happy to know.
Coach to People Leaders, Start-up Founders & Transitioning professionals