You will never forget your first love, i.e., the startup phase. Everything was new and exciting, and you swore you'd passionately give your best to your business.
But as time went by, you likely found yourself feeling burned out by the long hours and recurring staff or customer fires you dealt with on a daily basis. So much drama, and also so much routine. If you're honest, you realize the spark has fizzled. You wonder if it's time to throw in the towel and call it quits.
Here at Maui Mastermind, we love playing matchmaker. There is nothing more fulfilling than helping a business owner rekindle the flame they once had for their business. Many of our clients reach out to us after being in business for 10 years or more, looking for help. Sure, their companies are profitable, but they no longer love what they do. They are bogged down with the day-to-day tasks of running a business and question the sacrifices and ongoing toll the business seems to require.
So, I want to share with you the three ways you can rekindle the love for your business.
1. Celebrate your successes.
I know from direct experience. For years my default setting in my company was to keep pushing my team to see all that was left to do and all the myriad ways that work could be better. I thought I was helping my team perform better. But then one day one of my direct reports, Stephen, called me on it.
"You know David, I just came in here to share a pretty fantastic win with you, but you spotted out four ways I could have done it better. Now I'm leaving feeling like I can't ever make you happy. And I'm not the only one who regularly feels this way. A lot of our team now just wait for you to make your comments before they put in their best work. They figure, what's the point when you're just going to change it on them anyway."
When I got some time to digest what Stephen had told me, I was struck hard. He was right, I was the parent who could never be satisfied. I always poked holes in my team's work and glossed past victories to focus on what still needed to be done.
This mindset is exhausting not only for your team, but for yourself as a business owner. Take the time each and every week to celebrate the victories and revel in the feeling of a job well done. You will find that by focusing on the positive, you begin to feel that spark again.
2. Check your codependencies.
We all know a romantically codependent relationship isn't a healthy one. Why then, do we overlook such codependencies when running a business? If you are unable to take a vacation because the business is so reliant on you being present, burn out is imminent. It's no wonder that the spark fades away -- you are being smothered.
To find your passion again, begin by writing down all the activities that are reliant on your presence. Are you the only one that can sign payroll checks? Make sales calls? Lock the doors at night? Write everything down, then systematically go about taking those tasks off your plate. Who on your team could handle that function with the right system and training? Which of these responsibilities need to be redesigned to be simpler and easier for others to own?
Take the time to put your systems in place, so that you can put yourself in a better place emotionally to give back and find the love again.
3. Talk it out.
Being a business owner can be lonely. You have put in the work and grown a business that is "successful" by most measures, and now you find yourself in a rut. How long can you last in a relationship that doesn't stimulate you mentally?
Finding a good peer group is critical to rekindling the love you once found for your business. Remember what it felt like in the beginning, when someone asked you what you did for a living? Your face would light up as you told them about your business, about how you have grown it from the ground up, and how excited you were for the future. Now, you tell them you "make widgets."
Find the love again by joining a peer group that challenges you, that helps you find the passion and pushes you further than you thought possible. A good mastermind session will have you beaming from ear to ear again and remembering all the reasons you made the leap into business ownership.
Falling in love with a business idea is easy. But falling in love with it a second time is worth so much more. It's deeper, truer, and has the staying power to change the lives of not only yourself but those around you. Here's to finding the love again!