This is a topic that most business people have to deal with at some point in their career. I've seen it in the Business to Business (B to B) world and I've seen it in the Business to Consumer (B to C) world. Heck, I’ve even experienced it first-hand! When I first ventured into the world of being self-employed over twenty years ago, the thought of taking it personal didn't even cross my mind. I was, in fact, a professional. Period. Why on earth would I take it personal? Well, I had a lot to learn. You see, while we can say all day long that we don't take things personal. The truth is, when you're self-employed it IS personal. Look it’s even in the title - "self" employed. It IS about you, right? Not really, but what it is about is how we handle things that may go awry or not the way we expected. Here's what I've learned:
First and foremost, I’ve learned to check my expectations at the door. No matter what’s going on in my personal or financial life, I have to take a deep breath and realize that the way I treat my business now, will surely determine its future. I recently read a quote on character: "Character, not circumstance, makes the person" - Booker T. Washington. I'd like to say character, not circumstance, makes the business. When things are going in your favor, it's simple to exhibit character. But, when things aren't going as planned or happening as quickly as we'd like, that’s when we have to make a choice.
Business and life are all about choices. All the choices we make have consequences, both good and bad. I had to make a conscious choice not to take things personal in business. Now, this wasn't an epiphany that occurred for no reason. There were circumstances that lead to this realization. Circumstances that made me realize that I ALWAYS have a choice on how to respond to what’s happening.
Here are my 8 go-to tips when I have that choice to make:
Today, I can honestly say, I take nothing in personal in business. It was and is a process, but it has changed my business life and my thinking. I think you'll agree that being self-employed is hard enough. I think we inadvertently make it more difficult on ourselves when we take it personal. Four ways I have changed my thinking include:
So, if you're like me and have had those moments where you feel as though you’re guilty of taking it too personal, just regroup. Don't beat yourself up, just work toward improvement each day. Your future-self will thank you!