Whenever you mention the terms business and psychology, people typically believe it’s a recipe for unlocking the subconscious of our clients and buffering the bottom line. We tend to believe that the power of our business lies directly with accessing the inner thoughts of our potential consumers. However, the most powerful tool a business person has at their disposal lies in knowing themselves.
Starting a business is so inspiring and we often believe that it ought to be simple. The truth is, when you start a business, you have a never-ending to-do list. You alone are responsible for every aspect including generating business, creating possible future revenue streams and maintaining infrastructure. It’s intimidating at times, and the best way to navigate the twists and turns that are a natural part of the process is to know yourself. Truly understanding your strengths and weaknesses is a strength in itself. Think about the habits people develop to avoid thinking about themselves in their entirety. Not always fun, but important. Once you evaluate yourself, you know what you need going forward.
Defining your weaknesses gives you the ability to know when you need to call in reinforcements. We all have our blindspots, and have become accustomed to predefined roles that we may or may not acknowledge. Investigating those roles is the first step in shedding that predefined persona and finding the ultimate freedom to pursue your business and dreams unencumbered. Obviously, this is not what most would classify as fun, but there it is.
On the positive side, self analysis can also serve as a catalyst in deciding whether you like the role that you have taken on in your family, life, business or relationships. When talking to my clients and people in the broadcasting industry, I often come across some incredible, inspirational stories and realize that many people have been digging deep for years in a state of self-analysis. This ongoing thoughtful process has led many to a slow and steady metamorphosis that many cite as leading to their success. They are among the most fascinating, resilient and inspiring people I have ever met. There seem to be a few common threads of experience that were prevalent in every story that I’ve encountered. Here they are:
Emotional intelligence, which includes understanding where your behavioural blind spots are, is important to forging better relationships not only outside the office but also inside. Self knowledge is a big part of emotional intelligence because it means you are able to objectively and compassionately see where you do things right and where you go astray.
Everyone has a blind spot. Be thankful if you are fortunate enough to have a trusted spouse, friend or mentor that is able to help you constructively evaluate your weaknesses. It is also important to know when to take criticism seriously and when you shouldn’t. You will know the difference as the constructive criticism comes from a far more mature, compassionate place, in which people will respectfully discuss any issue. Alternately, un-constructive or extremely negative criticism, often has more to do with the other person than it does with you, and you can safely ignore it. The trick is evaluating whether the source is credible. If it is, then you should appreciate the feedback and not reject it outright. Hold those dear that provide compassionate criticism; they are important to your success.
Everyone wants to do well in business but few take the time to truly evaluate where their passions lie and how to make them part of their daily life. As adults, we get side tracked with a number of various roles and responsibilities. We have also reached a point in which we have undoubtedly been subject to people projecting what they want us to be, sometimes beneficial, and sometimes not. When it comes in direct conflict with who we are or our personal goals, it can be problematic. Peeling away the layers of identity placed upon us by others, and coming back to what is genuine, can take some time but it can also be a great catalyst for change. Once you peel back the layers, you can find your passion. You can then uncover what places you in the coveted, timeless ‘state of flow’.
State of flow: This is a state in which you lose all sense of yourself and time. You are challenged enough, but not to the point of frustration. Not surprisingly, when people find themselves in this state, they often excel in that particular skillset.
Psychologists have investigated the ‘state of flow’ and have determined that the more time you find yourself in this state, the healthier you are both physically and mentally. Oh, and you’re happier! Not surprising, since you are doing something you love to do, more often.
When people don’t have a purpose they tend to revert into habits that will help them forget that they don’t have a purpose. People who have purpose, live longer, have stronger connections to other people with a common goal, and are happier. Everyone is passionate about different things, so no one can tell you what gets you moving in the morning and what your purpose is. It doesn’t have to be as daunting as changing the world, but it should really resonate and make sense to you.
Does passion lead to purpose or does purpose lead to passion? Who knows? This is a different journey for everyone. Everyone’s story is different. The challenge is to be sure to take an active role in unravelling your story.