You’d be surprised at how often my business coaching clients eventually (and usually reluctantly) bring up events from their personal lives that have symmetry with issues in their business.
Today, someone I work with mentioned a feeling that he can’t trust his girlfriend because she has anger issues.
Compare this to his inability to trust his business or his finances, and there’s a similar story. Promises unfulfilled, giving of himself without seeing reciprocal return, and a sense of wonder about whether it’s even worth it to continue forward.
My instructions to him were to first take care of his heart, even though there were goals to achieve with the business.
To be brave and make the changes he felt were necessary in the relationship would only be supportive to his desires for the business. I know this now after seeing many business owners go through marital or relationship challenges that parallel their business challenges.
When relationships work, or the business works, it’s usually two for two. And the other way around is also true. We simply can’t escape who we are.
If you yourself are a business owner, consider the dynamic between you and your business as an intimate partnership. Do you trust your business, as you would a good friend or ideal partner? Do you feel rejected by your business, or do you feel supported? Do you feel ease and joy, or do you feel struggle and hurt? Do you feel disconnected or connected?
Work it out in your business and it gets worked out in your personal life, or the other way around. Start where it’s easiest and begin to let go of the distrust… the people pleasing… the giving-til-it-hurts style of showing up… the abuse… the drama… the neglect… the disappointment… the disconnection… the neediness… the compromise… the effort. Choose how you want the relationship to go with both areas of your life and do the inner work to change yourself so you can get there.
Personally, with my own business, I had to re-orient myself from thinking I wasn’t good enough to recognizing I had everything I could possibly need. This should tell you about my self-perception in relationships and how that’s changed, too. I used to attempt to collaborate with those who had more of a background in business than I did, until I finally realized that it was okay to have a philosophical, intuitive approach to business, and that this is why clients choose to work with me. Accepting my wholeness changed everything, and it’s an underestimated part of good business ownership.
In another example, a client who’s a self-employed writer was fearful of publishing and had trouble submitting her work to agents. A widow of five years, she was also fearful of love. As she diminished her fear of romantic love, she became more and more enthusiastic about the idea of book publication, too. Her openness to one thing led to her openness with another.
A more common example is of business owners who feel they must always project perfection to their clients and colleagues. There’s a way in which they also feel they must do this at home, keeping up appearances even if they’re exhausted. When those who force themselves to be perfect begin practicing honesty and vulnerability, big change happens in both spaces, and everything improves. Til that day, though, they struggle with feeling their needs and wants are less important than the needs and wants of those around them.
Now, the fun part of this interplay is when things are going good in both areas of life. This gives business owners an absolute advantage. This is when they can choose what would be the most fun thing to cultivate next and then go after it, knowing full well that they’ll succeed (success, as it so happens, is an inside job). This is an experience of freedom that many business owners long for but that few ever find.
My advice to you? Don’t stop until you get there.