The Empowered Entrepreneur: Take Back Control of Your Day
Remember when you had to let someone else set the priorities for your work days?
When you had a boss who got the final word on the best use of your time, talents, and energy?
That sucked, right?
A lot of us are driven towards entrepreneurship because we want control over our time.
We want to be able to give our ideas the effort they deserve.
We trust our own vision and believe in our own dreams.
And that’s why it’s particularly disappointing to discover that even once we become business owners, we still have to contend with forces that want to direct us away from our own priorities.
Only now instead of a boss, it’s a budget crisis or an angry client or broken equipment or an employee quitting that derails our day.
Owning a business means being constantly confronted with challenges both great and small that seem to demand our immediate attention. Suddenly we find ourselves neglecting the strategies we intended to pursue and losing that sense of control that inspired us to become entrepreneurs in the first place.
It doesn’t have to be this way. You still have control over the growth of your business, even when dealing with a crisis you cannot afford to ignore.
Clarify Your Vision
First, make sure your vision is crystal clear.
By vision, I mean where you want to end up. I do not mean the path you’re going to take to get there.
The path is your strategy. And while it is important to commit to a strategy you believe in long enough to test its effectiveness, strategies can be changed. They can also be adapted to accommodate new challenges.
A few years ago, our team at 911 Restoration was not planning to do a major marketing push for our sanitization services. But then in 2020, things changed. A pandemic that could have made me feel like I was losing control of my day-to-day simply became a challenge that redirected our strategies.
We doubled down on sanitization and disinfection, and in doing so, we furthered the vision that inspired me to become a business owner:
Extending our reach and offering more property owners in more territories peace of mind in a crisis.
See what I mean? When you know what your vision is, you’re less likely to lose your way when those unexpected issues arise.
If you’re still clarifying your business, this article might help.
Design a Mindful Morning Routine
I know: entrepreneurs talk about morning routine all the time. But we do that for a reason.
Your morning sets the stage for the entire rest of your day. If you start from a reactive mindset—immediately checking your phone, obsessing about all the challenges that await you—you’re already giving up control to forces outside yourself.
Instead, you want to claim control first thing in the morning.
Be deliberate. Be mindful.
What thoughts will help you focus on what matters? What can you consume and how should you move to fuel for the day ahead?
Set Your Intention for the Day
Somewhere in this morning routine of yours, set a clear intention for your day. What will you do today? What will you build for yourself?
To be clear: I am not talking about a “to do.” When we think about ticking tasks off of a list, we close ourselves off to the new opportunities that present themselves during the day. Or we get discouraged when an interruption prevents us from completing our list.
By all means, do what you need to do. But understand that what matters most is the big picture. The vision. The creation.
I have a rule for myself that I must do one thing every day to move my business forward. I encourage you to do the same.
Take a moment to think what growth would look like for you and your business at this moment in time. What steps will take you closer to your vision?
If it’s time to work towards expanding your team, set an intention to take a step in that direction today. That might mean going over your budget to determine how much you can afford to pay a new employee. It might mean writing a job description.
Or your truck might break down, destroying your entire schedule, and you might have to settle for reading one article on hiring tips while you wait for the mechanic’s quote.
Either way, you’re following through on your vision, and you are in control.
When Interruptions Arise: Pause, Breathe, Reflect
Remember how I warned you against falling into a reactive mindset as you start your day? You’re about to see why.
When you’re reactive, your immediate response to a problem is to try to make the problem go away as fast as possible. You’re no longer thinking about how to thrive; you’re thinking about how to survive.
You know that feeling that you’re not in control of your time and your business? This is where that’s coming from.
Take back your power by giving yourself a moment to pause, breathe, and ask yourself these questions:
- What is the real problem here? Is it the issue in front of me, or is there a deeper problem that deserves my focus?
- How can I use this challenge to get closer to my vision?
- Do I need to be the one who solves this problem? If not, who will I ask to handle this for me?
When we feel like we’re losing control of our business, it’s often because we don’t realize that every challenge is a gift. The most powerful moments of growth in my business happened because we were forced to re-evaluate and adapt.
If you’re making active choices, you are still the ruler of your day.
Look Back and Learn
Finally, give yourself a few minutes at the end of each day to reflect back on:
- The ways in which you moved your business forward.
- The interruptions you navigated.
Celebrate your wins, and ask yourself how well you managed challenges in the heat of the moment. This is your chance to learn and practice proactive thinking, even if you responded reactively at moments in your day.
And here’s the secret at the heart of maintaining control over your business:
You control the direction of your company when you use every day to grow.
Not just grow as a business; grow as the individual leading the business.
If you’ve made the active decision to do your best, learn, and do better, then you’ve claimed your power over the situation.
You gotta make peace with the unpredictable nature of entrepreneurship. It’s always going to be like this.
But that doesn’t mean you have to feel powerless ever again.
Further Resources on This Topic
Free Video Course: Cultivating a Growth Mindset on the Job