Sounds incredibly obvious.
And yet, that’s exactly what we all tend to try to do.
We have this fundamental understanding that we are flawed, ungovernable, need to be reined in, fixed, and managed to run a successful business.
And ideally, someone else will do that for us, because that’s really unpleasant and hard, and who wants to do that to themselves?
And so, we go about building businesses based on voids, problems, and myths.
— If you try to build a business without having the relevant information about yourself, HOW you work and how YOU work, that’s a void.
— If you try to grow your business by running around fixing problems such as trying to “fix the algorithm”, focusing on tiny tasks then guess what? You’re going to keep finding problems.
— And if you try to ignore the facts and make plans or systems based on who you wish you were, or where you wish your business was, then you’re going to fail, because your plans are not based in reality.
The way to get away from this is to take a wholly and fundamentally different approach.
We have to step completely away from the underlying assumption that you have to fit yourself to your business, invert it, and start from a foundational belief that your business has to fit YOU, AS IS.
A lot of business owners hate this.
Because it’s like, “Who meeeee?” Or, “But Jonathan, you don’t know me, if I don’t use XYZ unpleasant and abusive systems to ‘keep myself in line’ nothing will ever get done!” or my favourite, “How can my stuff possibly matter that much?”
Let me put the question right back to you: if who you are is untrustworthy and flawed, and what you care about doesn't matter, then why are you in business?
Nobody does this for fun. Not really.
It's way easier to work in a bar.
But you’re not doing that.
Why? Because You have something to share. You have something you care about. You have a reason you’re doing all of this. And you might try to put that off on other people, or say that what you want doesn’t matter, but again, that’s bullshit. You are the business owner, the ideas, the motivation, the needs, the work, it all comes from YOU first. That stuff in your gut, your unique code, your experience of life.
No one else but YOU can understand how you work in your unique way.
If you don't know who you are, then how can you move forward if you don't understand where you are now.
And if you are committed to the belief that you are flawed and in need of “management”, you need to leave now. Not in a mean way. But in a “there’s nothing else to say” way.
There is nothing wrong with you.
You are not messed up.
You’re not screwed up.
You are safe.
Your business can and will succeed without you jamming yourself into some sort of system or course or programme or mindset that doesn’t come from you.
You are not broken.
There is nothing in you that needs fixing, managing, or controlling
And they are 100% optional. As I’m going to talk about over the next 2 pages or so, you absolutely can do otherwise. I’m going to show you exactly how. No paywall, no nothing. So hang tight for that.
Of course, your brain and nervous system are almost certainly going to try to trip you up here.
They have a vested interest in stopping you from stepping outside of this way of being, because it’s a massive paradigm shift from how most of us are raised, the societal influences to which we are exposed, and what Dudebro McShoutypants is constantly reinforcing through his pay-for-play marketing.
There are four ways we tend to stop ourselves from doing what we want:
— Interjection – This is when you can’t be flexible to changing situations and circumstances, and just want to be told what to do. You want to have the “Do X in Y way and get Z results” recipe, and you just do it. You don’t think about why, or how you could change that equation to better fit you. You don’t ask questions. You just do.
The underlying emotion here is limitation and self-distrust.
— Projection – This is when you take your own feelings and push them onto other people. Your experience is all that matters, and you only listen to voices that agree with you. Any disagreement is a personal attack.
The underlying emotion here is envy and idolization.
— Retroflection – This is when you do to yourself what you want to do to other people. For instance, you blame yourself for things that you’re only marginally responsible for. You take an all-powerful responsibility for things, while simultaneously being the victim of them. You’re self-sufficient and brilliant, and no one can touch you … except you’re also the worst.
The underlying emotion here is negative guilt and negative pride.
— Confluence – This is when you avoid contact with others by merging with them. You try not to understand who you are and what your needs are by just merging into someone else’s stuff. You don’t enforce boundaries, and you act reflexively. You become a negative space, deeply enmeshed with those around you. Even if you’re a rebel, you’ll confluence with other rebels, everyone buying into the “typical underdog” narrative.
The underlying emotion here is self-doubt and fear.
I just unleashed what is almost certainly a big old party of stress hormones in your brain and body by shining such a pointed light on things we all try to keep hidden, and whether that feels exciting or absolutely awful to you, I need you to give your body a second to recalibrate.
Take a look at my adorable labradoodle. It might help.
We’ve talked a lot about the errors, misconceptions, and mental mistakes that underlie pretty much every single element of entrepreneurship.
I’ve reframed the core belief, the one that changes everything: the belief that you are flawed.
You have a good roadmap for how your brain is going to try to trip you up when it comes to living and working with this concept.
And I’m almost certain you’re never going to look for business advice ever again.
Now let’s talk about what you actually need.
There’s a fundamental belief that we are flawed, ungovernable, need to be reined in, fixed, and managed to run a successful business.
So of course we look for someone else to manage us, fix us, tell us what to do. And we go about building businesses based on voids, problems, and myths.
The answer to this isn’t to reject it. It’s to operate on a completely inverse paradigm.
There is nothing wrong with you. And if you can get on board with that big mental shift, then everything about the way you do business changes.
Your brain will probably try to stop you from making this shift too, because it’s a big change, and as such, a threat. The four ways this will probably happen are interjection, projection, retroflexion, and confluence.
Take another deep breath. This is big stuff. It might freak your nervous system out. It will be OK. We’re about to get into happier waters.