What is the one thing entrepreneurs need to start doing during these challenging times?
Of course, no one can tell anyone what they should be doing. I can only share what I’ve seen working for myself and my clients. And if that speaks to some of the people in the audience, then great, because I don’t pretend to know it all.
But I think one thing that the pandemic forces us to do is to go inwards. And so, what does it mean to a business owner with so much activity and so much pressure and cash flow pressures because of the pandemic? And everything changing every day?
It means that you have to be able to go inwards, which is to maintain the highest state of well-being to be able to go through it.
I studied with HeartMath many years ago, and I’m a certified HeartMath coach. What I learned there is that you need to build resilience. Building resilience means whatever the activity is -going fishing, walking, being in the forest, meditating, yoga, and heart coherence, which many people know more and more about now – you need to put something in your life to stay well, to find your well-being from the inside and then affect the outside.
The irony is it’s very difficult to do when circumstances are difficult. But at the same time, it’s the only thing to do because what impact do we really have on circumstances?
A lot of business owners are trying to have control over everything. And one day, and it’s usually with age, we all realize that there’s no control of anything except for the way we feel. So, it’s our responsibility as leaders to offer a stable state to our staff.
That being said, if I get up one morning, and I’m really not feeling good, I better walk the talk, which is to say, “Hey, guys, I’m not feeling good today.” I’m not going to go into the reason, but so they don’t expect me to cheer them up or something.
It is better to do this as a leader than to try and maintain “everything is great” as an image. Because we get caught up with that notion that the leader has to be good, look good, and control all of their emotions. But that’s not what people – especially newer generations – are looking for. Now, they need authenticity.
“Authenticity is huge. It’s a word that’s been used a lot in interviews, but being honest with yourself and those around you about how you’re feeling and what you can bring to that table is essential.”
You’ve said that leaders need to be honest and authentic now, but how do they take that proactive step to shift and connect with themselves?
A good example of exercise, which looks pretty simple at the beginning, but is so impactful, is to set your watch or your phone and every hour stop what you’re doing. Take a minute and ask yourself the following questions.
-How do I feel right now?
-What was I thinking about?
-What were the thinking patterns?
-Was I concerned about something?
-Where was I in my head?
-Where was I in my body and my emotions?
-What is my need?
We have many clients, who by just answering those questions every hour, shifted their life as a leader and as a manager, and then a business owner. Because they realize if they ask themselves a question when that clock went off, “Okay, how do I feel? I feel pressure, and I feel stuck somehow. And I’m in these conversations about cash flow again.” Then they can think, “What good does it do? What do I need to do? What is my need? I need to take care of this right now. I need to push everything aside and take care of this and start feeling better.”
So, what are we doing with those questions? We are connecting with our three brains. We know now, I’m a neuro coach and studied neurosciences, that we have three brains – one in the head, one in the heart, and one in the gut.
The one in the gut, we call it instinct. The one in the heart, we call it intuition. The one in the head, we call it reasoning.
The three have to talk to one another so that you make really good decisions. And when you do that, and the more you do that, the more the brains speak to one another. And that is achieved, as an example, by stopping once an hour to reset yourself.
The more you do that, the easier it gets. And then you start not so much reacting but responding.
And it’s a fine line between the two. Reacting is automatic. And oftentimes, we’re not happy about our reactions. That often happens in the family; after a hard week, we go home, and then our son just does something stupid, and then we’re not the father or the mother we’d like to be at that point, and we regret it.
The difference is being able to take a step back and react in an intelligent way.
“I love the idea of constantly be re-centering and bringing your awareness back to the present moment with those questions. It gives you an opportunity to change your state and to be proactive instead of reactive.”
3 Action Steps
1. Maintain good personal well-being so you can get through difficult times.
2. Be authentic with those around you.
3. Take time to re-center and bring awareness to yourself as to how you are feeling at the moment by asking yourself questions.
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