A few weeks ago, a woman named Anna freaked out on my Facebook page that I had referenced a certain well-known person as a brand.
She wrote, “… People are NOT brands, and people are not products… dehumanizing a person to a brand or a product is something that offends me… ”
I nicely pointed out that of course I’m not saying that person is not a human being! I was referring to the business perception and packaging of that person. But it still got Anna’s goat. She would not stop being offended by it. In fact, I bet you she is still steamed up about it. Pretty amazing.
(By the way, when I see someone get so offended or worked up about something like this, I know it’s likely the missing piece to their next level of success. But that’s another article for another day.)
I don’t want to get into a conversation about branding here, but instead look at the bigger picture that is happening for Anna, and many of us who are business owners.
We are taking business way too personally.
It’s not about YOU, it’s about your BUSINESS.
One common mistake I see many women entrepreneurs make, is they seem to forget that their business is a vehicle that allows you to make money, so you can live the life you want, and enjoy the work you do.
It CAN help you be your best you.
But your business is NOT you.
Let me say that again…
Your business is NOT you.
No doubt the gift that women have brought to the world of business has been purpose and meaning. We often start businesses around our personal values, our families, our desired lifestyles, our natural gifts and passions, and causes we are aligned with.
But ironically this gets in our way as well. We suddenly don’t draw a line between who we are and what we do. Between the human and the business you have created.
And that is when we start having huge challenges with:
- seeing our business clearly and objectively in order to make changes and move forward (we operate with blinders on sometimes)
- seeing our self as a brand (which in business it surely is) that has to be nurtured and managed
- pricing our services and products at the right points (this one gets so interconnected with our feelings of self-worth!)
- making bold decisions for our business (we won’t do so if we fear personal failure, judgment, or embarrassment)
- holding on to a business or product we’ve created that just isn’t working (we just won’t let it go because we don’t want to feel like a failure)
Personal Decisions Versus Business Decisions
That last one hit me hard. I remember early in my career, when I was struggling to find what I wanted to do with my life, I was working a fulltime publishing job in Boston and also teaching fitness classes around the city.
Grasping at anything that seemed more fun that what I was doing, I joined a network marketing company I came across that had super nutritional and health products. I dove in head-first, as I was so excited to be around people who seemed to be doing something with their lives. And well, I got in way over my head. I racked up thousands in credit card debt, and in the end, all I ended up with was a closet full of vitamins and water filters! I felt like a HUGE failure.
For YEARS I beat myself up about it. Finally one day I shared my immense guilt with a successful male friend, and he said, “Well Ali, that wasn’t a personal failure. It was simply a poor business decision.”
“Poor business decision…hmmm,” I slowly repeated back to him, hand on my chin, taking in the idea.
And then I began to cry (which guys love, by the way, haven’t you noticed? 😉 They always know just what to do), because I felt this huge release and relief.
That was the moment I saw the light, and my business was never the same.
Is there a decision you’ve made you have to let go of guilt for?
Is there something in your business now you’re taking too personally?© Copyright 2012 Ali Brown