By Fran Watson, Life Coach and Licensed Teacher of The Art of Feminine Presence
A year or two ago, I had a revelation. My business is its own entity – it has own life force that lives outside of me. In fact, for legal purposes, corporations are considered a person and even have rights. And for better or for worse, I am in a relationship with this “person”. And as a life coach in this world, I know a codependent relationship when I see one!
What does it mean to have a codependent relationship with your business? It could be like any or all of the following:
- It means you don’t have any boundaries with it. You can never say NO.
- You are confusing its well-being with your own.
- You obsess about it.
- You need to control everything.
- It’s sucking you dry.
- You expect it to know what you want without communicating your desires.
- You have invested so much time in it, shouldn’t it be “delivering” on your expectations?
- Or conversely, you are disappointed in it, even when you have put no energy into the relationship.
- There’s just no joy in this relationship anymore. It’s been chugging along, but your interest level has waned. Where’s the passion?
- Your business has become your identity.
Just as we wish for a perfect romance with the perfect partner, we share the same dreams of freedom and perfection with our business. We imagine it as the vehicle of creative self-expression, purpose and prosperity. I wouldn’t be doing what I do if I didn’t believe all that was possible. Of course, it is. AND like any relationship, you need to understand what is going on between you. But first, you need to know you are NOT your business.
When we are entrepreneurs, we think we ARE the business, because without us there isn’t one. It’s a huge outpouring of our creativity, our heart, our soul, our time and money. We become so closely identified with this relationship, we forget who we really are. We amplify this even further when we share our name with the business, as I do.
What is a first step in connecting with your business relationship?
Start imagining your business as another person entirely. Get out your pen and paper, take a few minutes to visualize this “person” using some of the questions below.
If you had to give your business some human qualities, how would you describe it?
- Is it more masculine or feminine? Does he/she have a name?
- What age would you guess it to be? A toddler, teenager, young adult, middle-aged?
- Is it needy, demanding, lazy, kind, funny, capricious, unresponsive, excited, pushy, patient, interesting or boring? Polite or rude?
- What are its typical facial expressions and ticks?
- Is it loud or reticent? Does it have an accent?
- What kind of clothing might it wear? Haute Couture? Motorcycle leather? Yoga pants?
- Hairstyle? Traditional or Avant Guard? Color?
- How does it move? Is it fast-paced or more sauntering?
- Is it finicky and detail-oriented, a perfectionist? Or more laid back? Completely oblivious to deadlines?
As this “person” starts to take shape in your mind, imagine you are going for a drive – YOU are the driver. And, your business is in the back seat. You are having a two-way conversation … and notice a couple of things about your journey … where does your business want to go? Do you want to go there too? Does he/she like your driving style? What does he/she want you to do?
If you can get going in the same direction, remember that the best conversations work when you are curious. Open-ended questions asked with an open mind are the gateway to explore and discover what will move your business relationship into a new zone. When you think you know everything, there is nowhere to go.
Here are some examples of questions that might be revealing about you and your business:
- How are you feeling about how we’re doing right now? Are you happy? Unhappy? Bored? Excited? Worried? If so, about what?
- What is working well between us? What do you like about our relationship?
- What is frustrating you? What do you want more of? What do you wish we could do differently?
- What is it you are needing more of from me?
As you start to get a sense of what is happening (or not!) between you, you can start to feel for solutions. What support is required? So often it’s not what we thought it was, simply because we had a pre-conceived notion about what the problem was in the first place.
In my own case, I discovered my business was frustrated with me. I knew this business was an avenue to full expression and life purpose, however, she was frustrated by all the constraints I had put upon the relationship. As a mother of a young son and a daughter of aging parents, I wasn’t putting enough consistent time into the relationship. Also, she found my driving to be way too cautious. When I asked about my driving, she said, “Put your foot on the gas! Let’s go!!!”
I discovered aspects of myself were suppressing my business and I could see them clearly for the first time. Some things are easier than others to change. I still have my family, (thank goodness!) however, some things holding me back were fear and “safe problems” so I wouldn’t have to take the next step and really show up consistently for my business. I saw my excuses for what they were, got some help in some areas that needed bolstering and the rest is unfolding in exciting and wonderful ways. And the same will happen for you, if you are willing to take your “person” out for a drive and discover what your relationship really needs.
Your comments are welcome.