Don’t Ask, Don’t Listen

Many of you declared your employment independence some time ago.  You walked out of your jobs and into professions of your own.  Now, you would call the shots.

But when the pride and excitement settled, one of the first things you may have noticed is that your business lives could be lonely.  And you still wanted to rely on those around you for all kinds of support—and validation—when there were tough decisions to be made.

Unfortunately, when you needed advice on growing or sustaining your practices, you couldn’t ask the employees who depend on you for a living, because your decisions might have impacted them.  Or, a subject matter could have been sensitive for other reasons.  Your employees might have figured out, for instance, that you, the owner, were clueless about what was going to happen next.

As an entrepreneur, your burning questions can’t be presented to friends or family, either.  Friends don’t generally have a clear enough understanding of your work goals in order to help.  Spouses, parents, or siblings might serve as sounding boards, but like friends, although they genuinely care about you, they also have their limitations, and often, their own agendas.

Your husband genuinely wants you to make that huge career move to Texas, but deep down, he is also worried about the impact that relocation will have on his own career.  Your friends are genuinely excited that you’ve started to earn significant money, but deep down, they are also worried that if you continue to grow, you may grow apart from them.  Your parents, children, and others may want the best for you, but often, they will also be concerned that big changes will have some sort of negative impact—not just on them, but on you, as well.

So, when you ask, they give you their best, most caring advice, but it tends to conclude with something like, “If I were you, all things considered, I wouldn’t do it, because it could turn out to be a disaster.”

Imagine you’re a chiropractor who makes up your mind one day that you’re ready to give up your practice, because you are passionate about and tremendously skilled at golf, and you know you can turn pro and make a great living.  Will your wife of fifteen years have an agenda of her own when you arrive home to share the joyful news?

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the fictional character Ray Kinsella, whose family tried to discourage his far-out dream of building a baseball field.  But in real life, several years ago, my client Amanda’s well-meaning family members tried to dissuade her from opening her own business.  They wanted her to be successful and happy, but their agenda was to blindly protect her from getting hurt.  Had she listened to them, she never would have launched her hugely successful telemarketing practice.

Last year, Jeanie, a 28-year old financial advisor, consulted me after a heated argument with her parents, who wanted her to leave her poor-paying “commission only” profession and get a “real job”.  By this year, Jeanie was earning a healthy six-figure income in the same commission-based career to which she had committed, despite the adversity.

It’s a little disconcerting,” she confessed to me during our last phone session, “But I’m now earning annually more than both my parents ever did, combined!”

Don’t ask the people you care about for business advice—unless they’re in that business and have nothing to gain or lose in your decision.  A coach is one of the only people that owners and independent professionals can turn to whose agenda is theirs.  If there’s something you want, my job is to help you get it, and not to hold you back.

If you must keep asking those other people for career encouragement, stop listening to their answers.  Contact me today to start making plans to accomplish whatever you desire, and keep REACHING