The Way You’re Working Isn’t Working: Redefining Small Business Success


The way you’re working is no longer working. In fact, it hasn’t worked for some time now. Yet, the need to continue on a collision course with burnout, insomnia, and stress continues. It’s time to re-think the way you work.

Seems like it was in the 80’s when I began to lose grip on my personal definition of success. Given the culture of my profession at the time, I succumbed to the pressure to “do more” and “have more”. This “more” approach to life actually created less. I had less sleep, failing health, struggling marriage, fewer friends…all for “more money and stuff”. Could it have been any more irrational equation?

I take comfort in knowing I wasn’t alone. Crowds of colleagues suffered from the same experience. Yet, we felt compelled to continue. None of us were eager to challenge the status quo of “more”. None of us had the nerve to go against the grain. The pressure to conform — to go along — was so strong it made escape grim.

Gallup recently did a study, State of the American Workplace: Employee Engagement Insights for U.S. Business Leaders, validating that “70% of the U.S. workforce is not engaged in their work and are not reaching their full potential.” Much of the disengagement, and subsequent loss of productivity and promise, is due to stress. Although this study addresses employee engagement, small business owners can relate to the results of the study. What’s more stressful than owning a small business!?!

The never-ending stress, 80-hour workweek, and burnout leave many small business owners in the same spot — unengaged in their own business. Disinterested. Exhausted. Going through the motions just to get up the next day and repeat the process. Loss of productivity and an inability to grow your business as you intended are all part of this ugly little package.

Before you can get a grasp on redefining success, you have a bit of housekeeping to do. Like locating your favorite sweater in the bottom of an overstuffed drawer, there are a few steps to take before you’re able to uncover the clarity you want.

Step 1: Remove clutter. To make room for fresh opportunities, beliefs, and behaviors, create some space in your world by removing what’s no longer necessary. Consider this:

Evaluate current beliefs and assumptions to determine if they are still relevant.
Identify what you’re tolerating (i.e., putting up with) and have a grand time making room in your life by getting rid of your tolerations. (Hint: start with the easiest ones!)

Step 2: Take inventory. You have more going for you than you realize.

  • Pinpoint what you like about different aspects of your personal and professional life, along with what you don’t like. Remove what is no longer is relevant.
  • Isolate what’s working in your personal and professional life, and what’s not working for you. Eliminate what is no longer applicable.
  • Celebrate your strengths and talents!
  • Identify your four core values. Rather than ethical values, these are your personal values. They are the key values to which you’re drawn. (Hint: What did you love doing when you were five years old?)
  • Assess the current state of your business.

Step 3: Purify your vision. With a greater sense of your assets and liabilities, you’ll enjoy the latest insights from 10 Questions Every Entrepreneur Needs to Ask About Their Vision.

Step 4: Redefine success for you. Based on insights, discoveries, and understandings gleaned from steps 1-3, you’re ready to redefine what success is for YOU.

Now that you’ve cleared the clutter, reconfigured your vision, and you’re re-engaged in your work, share how you’re redefining success for yourself and your business. We can’t wait to hear what you discover!

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Brooke Billingsley

Vice President
Perception Strategies

Synnovatia is a strategic coaching firm that is detailed and knowledgeable about business. i have a small business that grew from $150K to $750K because of the goal setting and resources that Synnovatia provided. It saves me years of learning on my own.

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