Despite the impression many people on Instagram might give you, there are so many different ways to create success and survive in business. There’s not really a one-size-fits-all method or set of steps for success. But there are some important things that we need to learn to cultivate to keep getting up each day, through the ebbs and flows, the highlights and the challenges that come with running your own business. Here are 3 traits for surviving business that I’ve spent a lot of time with over the years that I think it can help each and every one of us to anchor in why we are putting all the time and energy into creating our own businesses (especially for times when it feels like it would be easy to give up!)
So number one is kind of a cliche, but a cliche for a reason, the first “P” to survive in business is passion. And I know that probably really goes without saying, and doesn’t actually require much explanation, because we’ve been taught to turn our hobbies into businesses and make money off our passions.
But the passion I’m talking about here, is passion for creating, for curiosity, and for getting up each day and bringing that passion to the work that we do. We need a deep passion for learning and failing and falling on our faces, and getting up, and trying again. It’s a passion for sharing our work before anyone else is listening and loving that mission and vision in a way that energises us.
Why? Because there are so many things that we have to do in our businesses that aren’t exciting and sexy and Instagram-worthy. Many of us have grown up in a system that has taught us to follow the rules and follow instructions. It’s taught us to do things a certain way and be accountable to other people, people above us in a hierarchical system, whether it be teachers or bosses or supervisors or managers, following instructions, following workflows and systems that we have been taught to do by somebody else.
With that kind of conditioning for many years of our lives – where we expect accountability, feedback, gold stars, and grades, it can be very, very challenging to step into your business and suddenly find yourself in charge of all of those things for yourself. Passion to do the things you don’t want to do (or find a way to outsource them), passion to turn up when you have no idea what you’re doing, passion to explore your own healing and journey with your work as you support others, it’s such a foundational part of not just a business, but the bigger vision behind it.
Business is non-linear
There are lots of different ways of doing business, and I’m sure you see plenty of Facebook ads telling you that there is one specific way that’s going to work. But that is just not true. Success and alignment, flow, and passion are different for each and every one of us – as much as we might want to believe otherwise.
We can allow ourselves to believe that someone else’s system will work for us, that we just need someone to tell us exactly what we need to do – and sometimes that can help – but business is a rollercoaster of uncertainty and making it up as we go (as much as every business ‘guru’ might want you to think otherwise). Having passion for the work that we do, for the people that we work with, for space holding and showing up for our people, for the service we offer is what helps us to survive in business and keep going when all the rules and the ‘shoulds’ and the steps for success don’t work out how we want them to.
The passion for that work obviously goes without saying. It’s so easy to love what you do but hate every other part of business. So passion for creating and running and learning in your business is – I hate to say it – can be a key way to survive in business.
(Side note: Don’t love it, your skills and strengths and abilities are so needed in the world, it just might not be in running your own business!)
What we really need is to be really passionate about curiosity and adapting and learning and pivoting when we need to, having interest and excitement in the work we do, the field that we work in, and all of the different facets that come with running a business.
When it does feel like you’re working really hard and showing up every day for your business, and you’re not necessarily seeing the results right away, when things do take longer than we think that they’re going to, having that passion to keep coming back to the work that we’re here to do can make all the difference.
What we see online, from the people we follow and look up to – our peers, people who are maybe successful or where we want to be in business. We don’t see the behind-the-scenes. Or the messy middle. In fact, we only see the curated story they have chosen to share with us and we’re putting a story to it that tells us they’re better than us or they have it easier than us.
The online landscape can make it look like someone is an overnight success. It can look like somebody has just come out of nowhere, exploded and become instantly famous or successful, or well-known in their industry.
And that story can really send us down that spiral when we’re scrolling social media.
“It will never work for me.”
“They’re just better than I am.”
“I wish it could be that easy for me.”
You know, the classics.
Our minds, our conditioning, and our nervous systems then start to team up and protect us from harm, right? That’s when we start believing those stories we’re creating, based on NOTHING.
So many people quit right before something big happens for them.
Because we’re creating a timeline for how long we think it should take, based on false information and made up data. Not to mention unrealistic expectations. And when we don’t meet that, we think we should just quit.
Now, a caveat here, quitting is also a good thing. If you hate what you do, if you’re in it just for the money, if your business is making you sick or you need to walk away – this is important to discern for yourself.
But quitting (or worse, not really trying) because we’re afraid of failing is different. When we’re making decisions out of fear, or what other people think of us, or the success we think we should have right now, but don’t…. Ugh that’s a recipe for misery right there.
- Having persistence to keep showing up because you love creating and talking about the work that you do?
- Following the energy of a new idea or a direction you want to go because it feels so exciting and good for you, even if it doesn’t make logical sense right now?
- Throwing out the imaginary rule book because that’s what ‘everyone else’ is doing, and just trying stuff out, play, experiment, and find your own way?
When we persist with our own ideas and walking our own path (instead of following someone else’s), we activate all sorts of possibilities that we would never have opened up to if we had just quit.
We show up and try something, then we evaluate, we step back, we review, we can ask ourselves things like:
“Did this work?”
“How did I learn?”
“What new information came through this?”
“ What will I do differently or better next time?”
And then we try again, we rinse and repeat, and then we try again.
This is not necessarily something we’ve been taught to do. In fact, we’ve been taught to follow the rules, follow the plan, and not step outside of that box. That’s why business and failure can take a lot of unraveling for so many of us. Having persistence as a core part of who we are and what we do allows us to walk our own path, to keep showing up and try again tomorrow, even if we didn’t get what we wanted or things take longer or look different than how we expected.
And the third one is patience. We live in a fast food world. An instant gratification world. I am the queen of bingeing Netflix shows. I can’t even remember the time back, not that long ago, where we had to wait each week to see a new episode of a show. And I don’t know that anyone else but those episodes where they were like filler episodes, like you’ve been left on a cliffhanger and then the next week it was like a filler episode and you had to wait another week to get to the conclusion of that cliffhanger. We don’t have to do that anymore. And so of course our patience levels have changed.
Our attention spans have changed with the internet and social media and the evolution of that. The messages we’re being sold every day are telling us we should be having big launches and build huge followings and make six figures in the first six months of our business are really not helping us to embrace patience – trust me.
But when we have patience, we realise that this is work we’re deeply passionate about and want to do for many years to come – or that we’re excited to journey with and see evolve into something new as time progresses. Instead of looking for an immediate result that online marketers everywhere are dying to sell us, what if we could look at it with a bigger vision and deeper impact of our work and how our business operates with that?
Our lived experience is so often part of the work that we’re here to do. So often the space that we’re here to hold or what we’re here to teach and share actually requires us to navigate and evolve and learn, and improve and grow and expand ourselves in order to be able to show up for others.
When we cultivate patience, we allow ourselves to go deeper with the work we do and start letting go of the vanity metrics and external validation we’ve been taught we should care about in order to have a successful business.
Success requires practise and patience
We’ve probably all followed people online who have the flashy website, the high quality YouTube videos, and the incredible photos, courses, and marketing. But nobody starts being an expert or bringing high quality production values straight away (unless they’ve got lots of cash to burn!) We all start a bit shit, a bit DIY, bringing what we can do in that moment. And by practising and having patience and persistence to keep showing up each week, we are able to grow and get better, feel more confident, and evolve our message and our offerings in our business.
If you’re idolising someone who is where you want to be and thinking you will never be there, remember, they started where you are now. It can feel like months or even years of work, showing up, creating, posting, launching to just a few people and everything moving slowly, but success and progress are not linear, they’re compounding.
Each day, week, month, and year you grow a little. You expand and a few more people join your program or subscribe to your newsletter or channel. There’s a big uphill climb to the tipping point, my friend.
It’s rarely an overnight success. It’s a progression of steps and one day you might wake up and realise something feels easier or you didn’t cringe when you watched back a video you recorded, or more people signed up for your offer than ever have before. Or suddenly things that you used to struggle with are just a part of your day to day now.
Patience, persistence, passion, and practise allow us to go, “Okay, cool. That was crap. That was terrible. I’m going to try again tomorrow.”
How to survive in business in a sustainable way
Surviving business is about so many things – clients and sales, making more money than you spend, having systems that support you and all of those elements that are fundamental to business. But creating a sustainable business comes when we anchor in values like passion, patience, and persistence, we tap into something even deeper. When we get comfortable with being in reverence of our own passion, persisting even when things aren’t going the way we want (or at the speed we want them to) and the discomfort that patience requires from us, we learn so much about ourselves and the bigger purpose of our work.
Want to create a business that’s fully aligned to you, your strengths, and your bigger vision for the world you want to contribute to? Let’s chat about how we can work together to make that possible for you. No one-size-fits-all methods for success, just passion, persistence, and patience to bring your work into the world and connect it with the people who need you. Click here to book in a call with me.