In the natural course of a business owner’s agenda, there’s much to survive. Client missed your appointment? Reallocate your time. Deal is bigger than you thought? Gather and redistribute your resources. Product failed the expectation? Pivot so fast your feet smoke.
It’s clear, a true survival skill is adaptability and a close second is flexibility. These are good qualities, but if you lose that sense of satisfaction in response to your efforts, you may no longer be thriving, even if you are managing to survive.
Being a survivor in the small business world is a great accomplishment, but when I evaluate success, it measures out to be one-part effort to one-part satisfaction. Surviving day-to-day may not equate to success if you lack that sense of satisfaction, that feeling of thriving.
It’s important to recognize the difference between surviving and thriving and evaluate where you stand. To assess your needle on the gauge between these extremes, ask yourself the following three questions:
1. When you end the week tired, ask yourself, Am I too tired? Sure, you had to pivot, reallocate, redistribute, and produce a ton, but it’s all a labor of love. When you find yourself expending energy because you want to and enjoy the challenge, then it’s a sign of thriving. Your success comes from passion, and while it’s not a limitless resource, its depth is subterranean.
2. What is the purpose of all this? The effort to own a small business may start with a desire to do meaningful work or to give life to your creative soul, but is this still true? If you find yourself looking at work tasks as chores, then it might be a sign you need to reevaluate your purpose. The more purpose you feel, the more you can generate the energy required to sustain your small business.
3. Do feel like you make sacrifices or make priorities? When you are the boss, things like free time, massage appointments, or fun-filled family weekends may become luxuries you don’t often get to enjoy anymore, or at least, not as frequently. Instead, you have traded those experiences for the ones that come with running your own business – meetings, phone calls, work hours, or planning sessions. These things take priority and may not be relaxing, but they are rewarding when it’s done to support your business. However, when those missed luxuries begin to feel like sacrifices, you may need to pay attention to that sense of disappointment and loss.
And, don’t despair if you come up short on the thriving meter – re-evaluating does not mean giving up. Use this as a starting point to make some changes so that you can thrive, and stay mindful of your place on the gauge in case your ability to thrive begins to falter.
Remember, you’re a survivor—you’re adaptable, and so you can find a way to succeed and thrive if you need to. Join the Better Business Coaching System for support in your journey to thrive.