Thursday, November 25, 2010

Finding My Remote Control

I think there comes a time in your career as an entrepreneur, when your business has taken off and is beginning to run like a well-oiled machine and yet somehow you get lost.

Instead of focusing your energies on what turns your crank, you find yourself tied up in the day-to-day running of the business. If you are creative, and many entrepreneurs are, this can seem like a slow death by torture.

Well, the tap has been dripping on my head for a while now and I have started to feel trapped and suffocated by the very business I created with love and passion. Will someone please let me out of here, before my creative juices run totally dry!

Part of it I know is that I am exhausted. I haven’t taken much of a break over the last few years. I work 60 hour weeks and I have let myself become a martyr to my cause – and that’s not good. I almost need rescuing from this world I have created for myself.

About ready to throw in the towel, I met with my coach with the intention of working on an exit strategy. But she helped me see that I do have options. I can control what I want to do. It just means making some changes in the way we operate and in the way I see myself.

“You need to let go of being a manager, and become a leader, Anne.” she observed. How freeing is that! Leadership doesn’t scare me – I’ve been doing it all my life. Being a manager, on the other hand, now that is a totally different story.

We all start businesses with different strengths, interests and passions. It’s a combination of that commitment and determination that helps us become successful. And while I still have the passion, I haven’t been playing from my strengths for some time now. Instead I’ve got bogged down in a management role, and there are times when that seems stifling.

Before I totally burned out, I started this month taking my Fridays off – and that has made a difference. Not having to drive two hours on the 401, is an amazing gift to myself. And I plan to use the holidays to revisit what I want to do. Where do I fit in this company? What will bring me joy, bring back the excitement and that bounce to my step?

It will likely mean that we have to reconfigure the jobs in the office, so other people can take over the parts of the work that I want to shed. But that’s OK – it means growth for everyone, and provides an opportunity for us all to revisit what we want to do, so we are all motivated and working from our strengths.

Amazing how one short conversation can turn things around. Instead of closing our doors, I am actually excited at the idea of how I can shape my role to not only meet my needs, but draw on my talents and those of the rest of my team. I’ve found my remote control.

Will the real Anne Day please come back? I think she just might.


Jean Chow said...

Congrats, Anne, for trading your manager's "hat" for your leader's hat! Remember to carve out a block of time each day for "Anne Time". Thanks again for allowing us the great opportunity to be in the company of wonderful women entrepreneurs!

Tracey Turavani said...

As a virtual assistant I see many businesses that have reached their peak potential, on their own and are reluctant to let things go because they fear the business will fall apart. In fact the opposite is true, once a business adds to their team a set of resources, they are essentially more powerful and can continue to grow.

Congrates Ann on helping others to see thier potenial and helping them to see that being a leader and owning a business is better than the business owning you.