30 Oct 2012

The Power of Introspection for Your Business

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Recently, I had the opportunity to travel to Scotland as part of a pilgrimage with my church. When I decided to take this journey, my focus was upon spiritual growth and the opportunity to explore the majestic scenery of the country. But, as a business owner, I had concerns about walking away from the business, billable time and my clients’ needs for 12 days. Would it even be possible?

It turns out, it was.

Leaving California for twelve days allowed me the opportunity to turn off – both electronically and mentally. It was a bit daunting at first. After all, people need me, and a large part of my identity is based upon my clients needing me, of being able to respond to and serve them.  Yet, as it turned out, the world kept on spinning and, upon my return, my clients were right where I had left them. So, how did I manage this?

A great lesson for entrepreneurs is to practice trust, delegation and letting go.  Prior to my departure, I assessed the company’s workload, determined tasks that needed managing while I was gone, and then looked to who could provide this service in my absence.  As much as I am the center of my own world (this happens when you’re a small company!), and want to be the center of my clients’ as well, I would do them no service denying them access to my amazing and talented team members.

I had to:

  • Trust that my team could manage the tasks effectively and efficiently,
  • Assign, train and inspire them to do a great job, and
  • Let go and get out of the way.

Once my clients were filled in on the plan and connected to the team, I was free to truly go on this journey “away” from my busy life.

Two things changed as a result of my journey. Primarily, I came back to work feeling more connected to myself and the desires of my heart and mind. I was present and at peace. I felt a sense of calm and introspection that I had long since forgotten in the days before. Very soon I realized that taking time away from my office was not only a benefit to me, it benefitted my clients as I returned a more focused, passionate vendor.

Secondly, my team members had the opportunity to expand their responsibilities as they served our clients, but mostly they got to know that they were trusted completely to manage things while I was away.  I believe that this is imperative to a small company’s growth.  We must let go and share the wealth.

Since I’ve been back, my goal has been to start every day with the same sense of calm and peace that I enjoyed during my journey. Beginning each day in this way sets a course for success. In our daily lives we are constantly pulled in one direction or another – work, children and family, home, volunteering, church and community– no one gives us express permission to take time for introspection. Today, I give you that permission.

My now-daily routine is to force myself to sit down to take 15-30 minutes to read, be still, reflect on my journey and set myself with calm and ease. It has been a small but powerful addition to my schedule. I encourage you to find the time to do the same. Give yourself the gift to be in a space where nothing is required or asked of you. A time when you just get to be.

What is gained when you step away from the craziness makes a difference. It will shift how you function and respond to the demands of your life in a positive way.

How do you slow down?  What things give you space and freedom from your life’s stress?

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