Have you had a talk with your business lately? It’s easy to think of your business as something you thought up and that you control. Turns out, that’s not the whole story.
Your business is an entity entirely separate from you. You helped create it, birth it, nurture it and love it, yet it is not yours. It belongs to itself. It’s sort of like having a child, and a business partner, wrapped into one. It has its own direction, desire, and way it wants things to be, and if you pretend you’re solely in charge you’ll miss out on hearing what your business wants to tell you.
Your business is talking with you all the time, whether you’re listening or not. Since it has no literal speech, it uses subtle forms of communication that you can learn to hear. It may be a slight feeling to tweak something, or a huge sense that something needs to be addressed. It might be a nagging in the back of your mind, or the sensation that you’ve heard something that’s so faint you can’t quite make it out. Learning to pay attention to these signals is a great way to begin a dialogue that will serve you, and your business, well.
Your business has a desire to have a relationship with you, and you can set up meetings in order to talk and build that relationship. And since it’s just you two, you can meet anywhere: in the conference room, on a walk, during a meditative state, or via writing, using paper or computer, or drawings. How you choose to communicate depends on what works best for both of you.
Let me give you an example of what it’s like to communicate with your business. A few years ago I was doing my usual thing, seeing clients and doing all the other work that keeps my business going. Increasingly over 2 months I had this sense that I was being followed, that someone wanted my attention, to the point where it literally felt like I was being tapped on the shoulder by someone. I’m pretty intuitive, yet I could not figure out what was going on. Then one day it hit me as I was sitting still: my business was trying to get my attention! That was a huge surprise, as I hadn’t recognized the signs that my business wanted to talk, and I hadn’t taken the time to set up a regularly occurring meeting for us. I sat quietly, closed my eyes and pictured my business coming to meet me (BTW, my business looks like one of those nebulous clouds from Star Trek).
We spent time just being together, and I apologized for not hearing that it wanted to talk. I asked it what it wanted, and it said it was really unhappy and that things needed to change. It said it wanted to do our current activities differently, and that it wanted to add in new things that were more fun and nurturing to both of us. It also said that if I wasn’t willing to make adjustments to our business-as-usual, that it didn’t want to be in business anymore and that I should let it go. As you can imagine, that was surprising and a bit hard to hear, and yet as soon as I heard it I knew exactly what my business meant. I agreed and pledged that I would switch things up, make them simpler and more fun, and look for new things for us to do. The past two years since that talk have been a whirl wind of activity, which is nurturing both me and my business. I’m grateful my business tried to get my attention, and that I finally heard it and listened.
Take the time to set up a meeting with your business and develop a relationship between the two of you. Talk often about how things are going, what you might change, or what you’d like to develop. Your business knows things you don’t know, and the sooner you relinquish the illusion of control the sooner the two of you can start creating something amazing, together.