Have you lied to yourself today? If you’re a business owner, you probably have, and don’t even realize it.
According to Alex Lickerman, M.D., human beings typically lie to themselves to protect against “…painful consequences, shame, embarrassment, or conflict.” When we’re in a stressful situation, we tend to lie to ourselves to help maintain our sanity.
It’s innocent enough, even helpful to some extent. These lies allow us to protect ourselves from extreme stress but only for short periods of time.
Obviously, running a business can be a stressful situation—especially if you’re the owner and operator, the marketer, the CSR, the accountant, and everything else.
However, some of the lies that we tell ourselves can have negative consequences for our businesses. These lies end up causing more stress than they could ever save us from.
Let’s start with one of the biggest lies, and see if you’re guilty of lying to yourself.
Lie #1: “I have the ability; so I can do everything.”
Yes, you have a great deal of talent, drive, and ability. It’s one of your greatest strengths. It’s also one of the reasons you wanted to open a business in the first place. However, in this case it could also be one of your biggest weaknesses.
In the beginning, it might have been a necessary evil to do everything yourself. But you probably didn’t open your own business to be more stressed and overworked than you were before.
Rather, the “I can do everything” lie becomes a trap that prevents you from pursing your original goals. It creates more and more stress as time goes on.
You most likely wanted to start a business to make your life easier. You may have wanted to increase your income. Maybe you wanted more flexibility with your time or control over your life.
But no matter what your original goal was, doing everything yourself creates the exact opposite affect that you were hoping for. It increases your work load, your stress levels, and actually decreases the value of your business if you ever decide to sell it or pass it on to a family member.
So, don’t get caught in the lie.
The most successful people in life don’t do everything themselves. Iconic figures like Bill Gates, Donald Trump, and Steve Jobs, mastered the ability to delegate tasks to talented teams and employees.
Who do you have working for you?
Are you afraid of delegating? If you are, you’re not alone.
In an interview with Forbes magazine online, Christine Carter, the CEO and Founder of the Against All Odds Foundation, made this observation about delegation:
“The problem is that when you’re a start-up you just want everything to be perfect. It’s not that you don’t have faith in anyone else. It’s that your name is on it, no one else’s. Overtime, I had to trust that I hired great people and that they were capable. Now, I give a task and walk away from it.”
So ask yourself:
Are you doing more than you have to?
Would your company benefit from someone with a greater level of expertise? In marketing…accounting…or customer service?
Would it be helpful to hear from industry experts about the best business practices for your company?
The odds are that your answer to at least one of these questions is, “Yes.”
So what are your next steps?
First, identify your key employees that have untapped potential and start passing them more responsibility one piece at a time. But remember, don’t micromanage. If you have employees that are trustworthy and well-trained, then worrying about them is pointless and stressful for both you and your employees.
Theodore Roosevelt once said, “The best executive is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done, and self-restraint enough to keep from meddling with them while they do it.”
Have you considered putting a franchise to work for you?
Franchises remain independently owned and operated business but benefit from the expert advice of industry and business experts. They utilize tested systems and processes which help to increase operational efficiency and business value.
Not to mention, these systems also require less continuous involvement on the part of the owner. Instead, employees implement the systems to create consistency and productivity. Ultimately, this helps your business be more reputable and trustworthy in the eyes of your customers.
So, just because you can do it all yourself, doesn’t mean that you have to, or even that you should. Instead, give yourself a break, and start finding ways to make your life easier.