Updated: Aug 23, 2021
For years, several of my mentors encouraged me to venture out on my own and provide strategic counsel and guidance based on my twenty-five years in a C-level capacity and working with the C-suite – from entrepreneurs to Forbes 400 executives to world leaders.
As a professional, what I have learned most is that self-acceptance is what helps us thrive – it helps us become our best as individual contributors within organizations, as members of teams and as leaders – interfacing within the complexities of large organizations and as solo entrepreneurs.
Self-acceptance is a primary building block in the ability to forge healthy relationships. If you don’t understand your motivations and can’t govern yourself, your leadership and communication will suffer. It is key to helping us along our career paths – as mentors and mentees, as collaborators, vendors, and business partners.
The courage to reveal our fragilities and flaws so that we can be effective colleagues, teammates and work leaders is rarer that I think we would hope.
So now having ventured into owning my own business, here are two valuable lessons I have learned (and which reveal a bit of me):
1. Set Your Building Blocks: Build Your Foundation. Take Care of Your People: Your Clients, Your Team - All Your Relationships.
We all know the adage – “We rise by lifting others.” Early on, an acquaintance told me to run my business with confidence - serve your clients, not your ego, and never worry that someone else might “poach” a client. Everything works out in the end. I try to live that and provide clients with the best possible outcome and/or refer them to the right experts should the need arise. It has never failed me. It just makes your clients and your community trust you more and widens your referral pool.
Treat your clients and all your relationships from that position of confidence and strength.
Take care of your people and they will take care of you.
2. Mindful Listening
Doing anything effectively - strategic marketing, business development, executing on professional services, anything- requires a focus on mindful listening.
First, clients must know we are paying attention to what they are sharing. Whether in person or via videoconference, we need to demonstrate our interest, ask questions, and stay engaged. Show them in everything you do. Make sure that the way you sit in your chair or appear at your standing desk shows you are present and with them. Give them the floor and space to share what they need without interruption.
Take several deep breaths and slow your heart rate prior to each client conversation. Commit to being fully focused on them. Your presence and rapt attention will build trust and expand your capacity for better outcomes, including happiness– in business and life.