Are You a Leader? Four Ways Small Business Owners Serve

leadership signWho do you think of when I say, “Leader in the world of business?”  

A Warren Buffet or Bill Gates type? Maybe a Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerburg?

Perhaps the phrase doesn’t bring to mind a particular person, but rather a “type.”

A CEO in a well tailored suit. The company President who is firmly rooted behind his desk.

If you own a small business, you are not only in business for yourself, you are probably in business by yourself. Even if you employee a small staff, my guess is that you don’t think of yourself as a “Business Leader.”

As Sherra and I work with our clients, we are reminded time and again that small business owners are the real leaders in the world of business.

If you are struggling to see yourself as a Leader, here are a few reminders of the things we see you doing. Day in and day out:

1. Serving as Leaders in Your Industry.

You are involved in professional organizations, networking groups, and continuing education. You represent your market with professionalism and a constant thirst for knowledge. Most importantly, you share freely with others, knowing that helping others be successful is a leader’s greatest gift.

2. Serving as Leaders in Your Community.

Small business owners often have flexibility in the work week. You choose to invest time in service. Whether at your child’s school, a local non-profit organization, or in small town politics, you model ways to give back to your own neighborhoods and cities.

3. Serving as Role Models in Your Family.

Small business owners have vision. You share that vision with your family and find ways to work together toward a shared goal. Many of you put your family right to work! Others remind your children and your spouses that time invested in business hours has a tangible pay off — a vacation, family time, bills paid, dreams made real.

4. Serving as Leaders for Your Clients.

This one is my favorite. For me, a real leader is someone who builds up other people. A real leader shares confidence, skills or products that make life better. You encourage others with a smile, a compliment, and a helping hand. Simply put, you make a difference.

As we wrap up February and look forward to the renewing energy of Spring, allow us to take one more opportunity to share our love and respect for those of you who work diligently to build something of your own. And to serve others at the same time.

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Know What You Want

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A Good Plan Today

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Waiting For You

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Becoming Yourself

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Reinvention: Figuring Out Who You Will Be

This is the third post in a series about reinventing yourself — all based on real life experience.

In Part 1, Getting Unstuck, I outlined six steps toward reinventing yourself. #6 is a technique that will get you closer to figuring out who you want to be:

Focus less on who you want to be, and more on who you don’t want to be.

Reinventing yourself is not easy. It’s not something that happens overnight, nor is it a process that is completed on a deadline. It’s not a cut and dried process that begins one day and ends the next.

Two years ago when I was struggling to be the person I wanted to be, I decided that the best way to start was to begin with who I didn’t want to be. Here’s my list from back then:

  • Someone who is thoughtless and says unkind things
  • Someone who is oblivious to others’ hurts and needs
  • Someone who is impatient and gets angry about stupid stuff, or things that should be forgotten
  • Someone whose ego and insecurities get in the way of her true self

Have I eliminated doing all those things? Well certainly not all the time. But I can say that these days I am much more likely to stop and breathe, remember who I don’t want to be, and move forward in a more positive way.

Here are a couple more things I have added to that list since then:

  • Someone who is stressed by work and so loses sight of what is really important
  • Someone who allows herself to be defined by career, instead of who she really is
  • Someone whose major goals in life revolve around the goals of her job

Please hear me — I believe wholeheartedly that career can play an important role in feeling fulfilled and whole. For many people (including me) it is a vital piece of the puzzle.

But I’ve also seen a career (or some other aspect of life) not only take up most of the hours in one’s life, but also an incredible amount of emotional space and ultimately one’s well-being.

For me, the realization that I no longer wanted to be the person I had become came in mid-life; and it was a bona-fide crises. It often happens that way…but not always.

Researcher, author, and storyteller Brene Brown explains,

“People may call what happens at midlife ‘a crisis,’ but it’s not. It’s an unraveling — a time when you feel a desperate pull to live the life you want to live, not the one you’re ‘supposed’ to live. The unraveling is a time when you are challenged by the universe to let go of who you think you are supposed to be and to embrace who you are.”

If you’re starting to feel that pull — the one that says “this is NOT who I am supposed to be”, then don’t wait!  Make your list and start exploring. It’s never to late to make a change.

It’s never too late to be that person you are meant to be.

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Click below to read:
Part 1 – Getting Unstuck ~ 6 Steps to Reinventing Yourself
Part 2 – Reinvention: 6 Steps to Change