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Business Owners – Are You Thriving or Simply Surviving?

“It takes courage to grow up and turn out to be who you really are.”
— e.e. cummings

The dictionary says that survival is to remain alive or in existence, to carry on despite hardships, or to persevere; while the the word thrive is to prosper, to grow vigorously, and to flourish. Which one of these words best describes your current condition? Are you just getting by, or are you alive and growing?

Hard work, an impressive track record, impressive products and services, and years of experience don’t always add up to a prospering business with time to focus on the things that really make you come alive. Demanding clients, stiff competition, intense pricing models, unengaged employees and many other factors can create tremendous pressure for business owners to keep working harder just to survive.

Combined with challenging market factors, most business owners feel a tremendous sense of responsibility towards their customers, their employees and their reputations. They will do whatever it takes to keep it all under control . But trying to hold it all together single handily for too long without doing something differently, will not only result in exhaustion, but can serve to keep you mired in survival mode.

If you relate to any of these statements keep reading.

“I should be focusing on strategy and new business development, but I am spending all of my time just making sure the work gets out correctly.”
“No one else is really willing to step up to the plate. If I am not personally involved, things fall through the cracks. Mistakes are costly, so I need to be involved in every decision.”
“The business is stuck and I can’t even find time to read my email or clear off my desk.”
“Time for planning — you must be kidding? I haven’t left work before nine this week!”
The pressure to hold everything together single-handily is huge, and if you succumb to the “if I want it done right I need to do it myself” mentality then not only will you suffer, but so will those around you and so will the business.

If every day you find yourself fighting just to get through the day, it becomes even more critical to find time to step back and gain perspective.

Time to Move Forward

“I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by conscious endeavor.”
—Henry David Thoreau

If you are ready to start thriving, it is time to stop dreaming and do something about it. Pull out your calendar right now and schedule a 30-minute meeting with yourself Your only task during that time is think about YOU and about whom you are being when you are at your best. What is it that makes you thrive?

If you could incorporate more of what makes you thrive into your business:

WHAT would you be doing?
WHAT would you be feeling?
WHAT impact would you be making on others?
WHAT impact would it have on the success of your business?
Write it down.

The “how” becomes a lot easier to tackle when you are really clear on WHAT is important. There are always obstacles and challenges, but first figure out where you really want to get to. When you have defined what ‘thrive’ looks like for you, the right people, process, and strategic solutions can be designed and implemented.

Everyone needs a safe place to think, problem-solve and innovate. Engage a coach, a mentor or a peer group as a sounding board to help you determine an optimal course of action. It is impossible to thrive if the weight of the world is sitting on your shoulders.

With clarity, purpose and a growth plan you can get back in the driver’s seat. Isn’t it time you and the business started to flourish?

Written by Helene Mazur

Helene is the founder of Princeton Performance Dynamics, an executive coaching and strategic planning facilitation company for business and non-profit leaders and their teams. Helene’s passion is helping her clients to focus their goals, see new perspectives on their current situation, put in place realistic, motivating plans, and execute to achieve new levels of success.

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