I remember realizing one day how comfortable I was in my job. I was at my computer editing a newsletter and it hit me that I’d done this same task every week for the past 15 years. It was clear to me that I was bored with the work and I ached to do something more meaningful. But…and here comes the excuse…I couldn’t imagine making a significant change in my career. I was too comfortable.
Over the years, I had grown comfortable with the work and my ability to manage my professional and family responsibilities. I had become comfortable with the income and the schedule and all the practical issues associated with my work. But I knew I wasn’t living my purpose or using the gifts I had been given. All of that changed when I invested myself in growing my business. I immediately became uncomfortable – in a good way!
Here are six uncomfortable truths you are bound to discover if you run a small “brick and mortar” company, or if you are a solo service-based business owner:
You will have to make uncomfortable decisions. The thing about being in charge, is that you have to accept the risk and responsibility along with the rewards and freedom. And that means making difficult decisions. Sometimes with little or no input from trusted advisors. It’s uncomfortable to take out a business loan or hire a team or expand a store or open an overseas office. Heck – it’s uncomfortable for some of us to decide on a name for our blog! But when you’re the boss of the applesauce (my friend Gina always used to say that!), you get to make some very uncomfortable decisions.
You will be uncomfortable learning new things. If you thought your college statistics class was difficult, wait until you try learning html code or you have to give a presentation to 1,500 people. Well, maybe those things don’t scare you, but I’m pretty sure that something you have to learn as a business owner will be more difficult than an 8 am organic chemistry lab. No matter what your business is, you will undoubtedly be challenged in ways you can’t even imagine. There will be legal documents to decipher, financial reports to compute and logistical puzzles to solve. And the more uncomfortable you are in the learning process, the greater your sense of accomplishment will be when you reach your goal!
You will have uncomfortable conversations. There’s no way around this one. If you like to avoid confrontation, you’re going to learn quickly that it’s nearly impossible. It’s uncomfortable to tell someone they are out of a job. It’s uncomfortable to tell a vendor or business partner that things are no longer working out. It’s uncomfortable to tell a client you made a mistake. It’s uncomfortable to tell your toddler you have to be out of town for a business meeting for a few days. But, with wisdom and grace, you will be able to have uncomfortable conversations that ultimately lead to better relationships.
Your failures will be uncomfortable. It’s no fun to fall flat on your face. And when you do it in front of an audience, it’s even less fun. But that’s what it feels like when you fail in business. It feels like everyone is watching. And judging. The truth is that fewer people are even aware of your business “failures” that you might imagine. But that doesn’t make a difference when the ones you love are watching. Your parents. Your friends. Your husband. Your children… If you’re too scared to start a business because you’re worried about what someone else will think if you fail, then you are only robbing yourself of the opportunity to discover how courageous and brilliant you are.
Your success will make you uncomfortable. The interesting thing about accomplishing your business goals is that your own success will make you uncomfortable. That’s because it will put you in the spotlight and open doors for you. You may be uncomfortable with some of the opportunities your success provides – like the chance to speak at a huge event or the financial means to open a new office or hire a team. You may be uncomfortable being on the Today Show or visiting the White House (don’t laugh – that’s exactly what happened to two moms I know who started small businesses in their homes while they were raising children!). Fortunately, as God blesses your business with success, he equips you with the courage and grace to handle that success.
You will get used to being uncomfortable. This is the good news! And this is the part about running a business that I think is such a spiritual journey. You learn to let go. You learn to lean on God and know that he is with you. You learn to recognize those signs of being uncomfortable and you begin to accept that as a normal part of your life. You may even embrace the opportunity to be uncomfortable because you know that God is making a difference in you and through you. You will look forward to being uncomfortable because you will know he is taking you places you never even dreamed possible!
So what about you? What is making you uncomfortable (in a good way!)?