I contemplated this question when I took this morning off from work and the internet to spend some time at the spa with my wife. She had signed us up for a couple much needed massages. My wife, being the health and exercise minded person that she is, suggested we work out before. After a workout and a shower, I was relaxed and ready for a massage. It turned out that I was ready 15 minutes early, so I found myself waiting alone in the lounge in a robe with nothing to do, but sip tea and think. (The men & women had separate lounges.)
With nothing else to do, I decided to meditate a bit. I had been intending to start meditating again and this seemed a good opportunity to start. I took a couple of sips of my tea and settled into my chair. I cleared my head my head a few times, but one question kept popping up: “Who am I?” That is an important question for anyone to ask themselves periodically, especially an entrepreneur at the start of a new venture. So, I decided that I would meditate on that a bit while I waited. In the process, I realized a few things about who I am and about why the question is important in the first place. For the purpose of this post, I think the second part is more important.
The question, “Who am I?” is important because it forces you to look at and consider your:
The first four are going to inform what you should be looking at as far as business opportunities. Any business you are in should focus around those four areas. If you can align your interests, passions, dreams and goals with your business; you will want to go to work everyday. What’s more, you will have the extra conviction and drive to see things through the dark times because you will be completely invested in what you are doing. If you don’t have that level of commitment, the tough times will beat you down and you are much more likely to give up before you break through.
The fifth and sixth: your strengths and limitations, will determine who you need to hire early on. Knowing these areas will keep you from trying to push through with the wrong tools to get the job done. Being able to admit these before you start or at least early on, will allow you to avoid wasting time on areas you can’t add value in. It will also help you to build a better product earlier on, which will help you to attract investors and more quality team members.
The seventh and eight areas: your motivations and values, are areas that a lot of people don’t consider long enough, but they are every bit as important as the other six. Your motivations and personal values inform all the decisions you make in your business. If you feel that running your business will force you to go against those two, it’s not a good business to go into. At the very least, you need to reconsider how you plan to make the business successful while staying aligned with your motivations and values.
Your motivations and values also impact every other person or entity you choose to engage with. You shouldn’t hire employees unless you feel their personal motivations and values are fairly aligned with yours. The same goes for the investors you take money from and the customers you target. If you’re reliant on going against your motivations and values in order to keep the business running, you’re not going to be happy with the business. Instead, find investors that share your motivations and values and only target customers that are a fit for you and the team that you have chosen to select. Otherwise every day will be a struggle or a battle.
In other words, in order to be successful, you need to know yourself and be true to who you are in your business. Well, I did the time. I know who I am now. Who are you?