Wait, what? Success can ruin things?
Sometimes business success can take you in the wrong direction. So what happens when you reach the other side, only to find the grass really isn’t any greener? What if in fact, it’s less green.
Everyone wants to advance in their career. Whether launching a new startup, expanding your existing company, or signing a lucrative long-term contract, we all have a burning desire for something more. But what happens when you find yourself on the other side of that success, only to realize this wasn’t what you signed up for?
Imagine you find yourself managing a team, and instead of actually collaborating with them, you are stuck in executive meetings. Or, instead of running the business you love, you are spending hours managing HR issues and dealing with admin tasks. The climb up the ladder of success may seem appealing, but what if it takes you away from your true passion?
So, what now?
Be careful what you wish for…
We’ve all likely heard this phrase before; it was one of my grandmother’s favorites. However, I don’t think I understood it until the day I woke up and realized I had somehow become the TV producer of an editorial company.
It didn’t start out that way. It was my company. I was a TV producer, and I absolutely loved it. But to meet my client’s needs, I added editing to make the projects we were producing easier and more efficient. Then, as time went on, our client list grew. And editing jobs skyrocketed. The next thing I knew, there was so much editing work that I could hardly find time for any TV production jobs.
Even though we looked like the perfect image of success with many clients and solid revenue on the surface level, I felt more agitated, annoyed, and unsettled than ever before. And I didn’t understand why. It wasn’t until my wife held up a mirror to my situation that things began to change.
My wife noted that I was the one who had allowed the company to morph into something that was not my passion. I had no one else to blame. While the editing work was a key component of our TV business, it was never meant to be the only component.
My frustration was derived from being removed from the job I loved; TV production. Production was the real reason I had started the company in the first place. So, the next day, I looked at the company and its client roster and re-imagined the business.
Seemingly overnight, I felt empowered and excited again. I had a renewed sense of purpose. And I began to make changes that put our business back on the track I loved. It didn’t happen overnight. I made conscious choices, some difficult, including turning down some editorial projects. This made more “room” to pursue the production projects I desired.
Could I have stayed the course and continued to follow our company’s “editorial” path? Yes, of course. But I knew even this business would not withstand the test of time if its leaders did not genuinely have their hearts in it. Without passion and commitment, business becomes a grind and, often, an annoyance.
Without 100% commitment from its leaders, no business can survive. At least not for long.
You will need to wear many hats when you’re starting a new company, ramping up your side hustle, or, who I am kidding, essentially the entire time you are running a business. The key is to recognize which hats fit you best — and admit when some hats don’t fit at all.
Take special notice of which hat makes you the happiest. True magic can happen if you put the right people in the hat that suits them best.
When it comes to doing multiple jobs and roles, it is a mistake to think that just because you “can” do it means you “should” do it. If, for example, accounting isn’t your jam, then find someone whose passion is bookkeeping! The time you free up from struggling through “the books” could better be spent doing something you love and excel at.
Whether serving clients, finding new business, or energizing your team, imagine how you will feel doing the work that fires you up rather than spending time on things that bog you down.
Early on in my career, I worked as a freelance producer. As my freelance business expanded, so did the amount of “hats” I had to wear. I found myself buried in work 24/7, genuinely burning the candle at both ends. Probably out of concern for my wellbeing, my wife said to me, “Why don’t you get an assistant to help you out?”
I thought, “Who? Me? Pay an assistant? I’m just a freelancer.” It had never even crossed my mind. I wondered how I could afford that “luxury,” and my wife said something that has stuck with me to this day.
She told me to calculate the time I was spending doing tasks I hated, tasks an assistant could manage. Then compare that with what I could do with that time to seek new business or take on other projects. She was right. Yet again.
So, I found a fantastic assistant who was excellent at her craft and brought so much passion and joy to her work. I found someone who truly enjoyed wearing the hats that I had grown to despise. And I was free to do the work I loved. It was a perfect partnership. To this day, that assistant remains a fantastic partner and friend.
From this experience, I began to see the value in bringing in the right people for the right job and then giving them the space to make it their own. But that’s a story for another time.
As you climb the corporate ladder or grow your business to new heights, it can be tempting to get stuck in the mentality that “more is always better.” Or that “I can handle everything.” But the truth is, some tasks just aren’t the right fit.
Each day we have a precious gift of 1,440 minutes, and how you spend each moment of this time defines you and your life. So, what things are you doing in your day that don’t spark joy and meet your business goals? When you say no to things that aren’t the right fit, you say yes to yourself. Maybe it’s time we all Marie Kondo the hell out of our business lives too!