My good friend and long-term business owner, Abbas, a guy who’s built a successful business over the past 19-years is frustrated to the hilt with the way his life’s shaped up. It’s not that he’s so unhappy he’s bordering on clinical depression, he’s just finding, after all of these years, the freedom of the entrepreneurial dream is as elusive as ever.
It wasn’t meant to be this way.
To his credit, he’s built a robust, successful business (although it’s unquestionably hit a glass ceiling of growth, constrained by the thinking of its owner), he’s got a stunning and supportive family and he’s got plenty of disposable income – so it could be argued he hasn’t got much to complain about – and he hasn’t.
But that’s not the point. What’s the point in having all of those things if your life’s not liberated enough to enjoy them to the level you should?
You see, my good friend Abbas doesn’t own a business, he owns a job where he just happens to be the boss. And in that he’s one of many thousands of hard-working, yet utterly deluded people who think they own a business when in fact the business owns them.
During our recent conversation, Abbas said “I’ve been to your website several times and everything you say in that message describes my life”. He went on, “I don’t get any time for me, I’m constantly running around and I’m sick to the back teeth with it”.
I replied, “You say you’ve been to my website many times, did you register for the resources?”
“No, I keep meaning to, I just haven’t found the time”.
And there it is – the major flaw in the thinking that limits this business owner and his enterprise alike. Thing is, you and I can “see” the flaw in this thinking, but what you and I can see is irrelevant. If Abbas can’t “see” his own shortcomings, nothing’s going to change.
I could just point it out. In fact, I have. But you and I both know you can’t tell people into change. What Abbas really needs is to be coached on the topic, to shift his perspective and improve his thinking – but you can guarantee he won’t have time for that either.
With people like Abbas – hard working, focused, head-down business owners, the only “educator” they’ll listen to is pain…and if the pain’s not acute enough to make the “pain” of change the easier option, nothing changes.
And that only brings about dire consequences. Increased frustration, resentment and misery take their toll on relationships and health. It won’t be pretty. I don’t want that for my friend. I don’t want that for anyone.
We’ve all done it. We’ve all just ploughed on regardless, doing what we’ve always done, burying our head in the sand, hoping for things to somehow get better. It’s ludicrous when you think about it, yet still we do it.
This situation reminds me of an entirely different scenario, but it’s an analogy that works. In December 2009, my late father’s health took a turn for the worse. It was the beginning of the end for him, although what eventually ended his time in the physical body was a different variety of the same disease.
The old man was old school – didn’t complain much, didn’t like to “bother” doctors, “stiff upper lip” and all that.
I found out, from his wife I recall, that my father had not successfully emptied his bowels for almost 2 weeks until he finally succumbed to his wife’s pleas to visit his doctor. Initially, and understandably, he thought it was constipation, however, the more time moved on, the more symptoms pointed to something far more sinister (and it was; bowel cancer).
Still he stubbornly refused to do what needed to be done, despite the symptoms becoming increasingly apparent. Only when his pain and discomfort became too much to bear did he finally concede.
What stopped my father taking action back then was fear. Deep down, he knew there was something terribly wrong, that his body was speaking its truth, and yet, perhaps understandably, he didn’t want to go there.
It’s an entirely different scenario to my friend Abbas, but the principle remains the same. Unaddressed, the implications are disastrous.
Now if I were to put it to Abbas that it’s fear that’s stifling him and stopping him doing what he needs to do, I’m 100% confident he’d completely refute the notion.
But fear it is all the same.
Fear at many levels.
Fear of breaking the routine.
Fear of letting go.
Fear of the business going backwards or failing.
Fear of letting his loved ones down.
Fear of change, full stop.
The irony in all of this is what we fear the most is the unknown. The “not knowing” is the ultimate breeding ground of fear. And yet, paradoxically, it’s into the unknown we must venture if we’re to be all we’re capable of becoming.
Our so-called “untapped” potential is only referred to as “untapped” because it’s not known. In other words, we’re not currently conscious of it, so it remains unconscious to us, and as a consequence, it’s can’t be expressed into our thinking, behaviours and results.
You cannot express what you’re not aware of.
The great unknown is ourselves.
We are the undiscovered country, the unknown territory, the untapped goldmine – and that, for the vast majority, brings the greatest fear of all; that we may be much, much more than we know ourselves to be.
To put this great truth into context and bring this message in for a landing, I step aside and bow to the powerful wisdom of Marianne Williamson.
If you’re truly in this game called life to be the best you can be, I encourage you to not just read this insightful passage once, but to spend a couple of valuable minutes “marinating” on it. You’d be well-served to remind yourself of it often.
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It’s our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, “Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?”
Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone as, as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others”.
Christian Simpson is the UK’s leading coach and mentor to business owners and entrepreneurs. For COMPLIMENTARY ACCESS to tried, tested and proven entrepreneurial success strategies, click here