Are You a Navel Gazer?
(Hint: It’s a good thing!)
I was talking with a friend yesterday about our businesses and during the conversation it became crystal clear why the work I get to do is so important… and also why it’s often seen as optional by a lot of entrepreneurs and business owners.
It has everything to do with our human discomfort at turning inward.
We’re taught over and over in life to pay attention to the world around us, that what’s going on externally is more important than what’s going on internally. That the outside world deserves all of our attention, and if we spend time attending to ourselves, we’re selfish, egotistical even…we’re navel gazers (eek!). It’s true for many things, and can be the cause of a lot of heartache and headache. (Literally…my chronic illness is a prime example of it.)
And yet, that tendency can make it hard to build the businesses of our dreams. It can get in the way of creating some of true and lasting value.
True and Lasting Value
In the entrepreneurial world, when we have an external focus it tends to mean we’re looking for answers anywhere but in our own business. We get caught up in looking at just one or two parts of our world – usually some form of how to attract more clients – and because it often feels uncomfortable, we ignore the rest. Don’t get me wrong: We 100% need to figure out how to find and talk to prospective clients to be successful. But we also need to understand how much it’s costing us to attract those new clients, and how they translate to our profits (i.e. our ability to pay ourselves and grow our businesses). And we need to see how our marketing activities fit in with our overall strategy, short- and long-term goals, operational choices, and financial needs.
So when we don’t spend time navel gazing….i.e., paying attention to the nitty gritty stuff that really drives your business…then it takes a lot longer, and is a lot more difficult, to get where you want to go.
A new year, a new focus.
If you’re trying to build something that will last and give you back as much (and more) as you’ve given it, then at some point you need to master your internal workings (your overall strategy, business management, operations, finances, etc.). In my view, that’s actually even more important than mastering your external stuff (your branding, marketing language, PR, etc.).
A strong strategy and sound financial foundation for your business (the internal work), will maximize anything you’re trying to do externally – but the same is not true the other way around. I see it time and again…when an entrepreneur is focused solely on the “outside” stuff, things fail to thrive in the long term. There are some highs, but often deep, deep lows as well. This is where turning within to look at your business as a whole, to plan for not just the next event, training or marketing opportunity, but for the long haul, is crucial to your success. You need to understand how your choices – financial, operational, promotional – affect how successful you can be. And then, ultimately, you can tie those specific strategies and goals to your vision for your work, your mission, your life, so you know at any point exactly what you need to do to maneuver your ship in the best direction…for you.
I saw quite a few entrepreneurs focusing heavily on the external in 2018, with a lot of frustration as a result. We’re in a new year and it’s a great time to redirect our attention. Dedicating time in 2019 and developing a laser focus on what you’re creating within your business is a great place to put your energy! So don’t worry about seeming selfish. In truth, paying attention to your business belly button is the best way I know to map your version of Zen Money.
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