In his book, “Taking People With You,” David Novak, CEO of Yum brands states, “To see above and far we need to climb on top of the shoulders of an elephant.” Implying that as business owners we need to examine what the leaders in our industry are doing to excel, borrow those ideas that fit into our business philosophies and then make them our own. Most importantly, we need to acknowledge those from whom we’ve borrowed the ideas. However, my experience has revealed that there are small business owners who do the exact opposite. They identify a business they admire and just keep taking their ideas less of authenticity. I guess that’s their way of surviving. However, it is shortsightedness to think that trying so hard to be like others will help one excel.
To illustrate this further, below are 3 behaviors that can lead to business failure.
1. Ruthless Imitation of Others
We are all unique and special with our own skills, experiences, and knowledge intended to help us progress in life and in business. Every experience we go through gives us a wealth of ideas and lessons we can base on to design services and/or products for the world. All prominent problems in one’s life are nuggets of wealth that can be transformed into solutions for others. Imitating others takes away from our authenticity and its positives.
“Greed is a bottomless pit which exhausts the person in an endless effort to satisfy the need without ever reaching satisfaction.” ~Eric Fromm
Greed is a sign of fear and a scarcity mentality. If one believes in their self-worth, they know that there’s enough to go around for everyone. It is okay to progress to get on top of one’s game, but it is draining to want more every time, without stopping to articulate what has been done, and/or how it can be improved. Furthermore, the only positive greed is for one to be greedy for releasing as much emotional, mental, energetic and spiritual baggage that could hold them back from achieving their goals.
“As long as there is more greed than compassion, there will always be suffering.” ~ Rusty Eric
These are business owners who lie about their qualifications and/or skills to appear superior. The point is, when a business owner lies about what they do, they have lied more to themselves than to the world. Sooner than later, the world will find out who and what they really are. Also, the important questions are, how can one build character if they are basing it on other people’s characters? How can a mango be a better mango if it is always trying to be an orange?
When we as business owners are inauthentic, it implies that we do not have self-belief. We have low self-esteem and believe that who we are, our qualifications and skills are not good enough to influence others. However, impersonation takes a lot more energy than authenticity.
When I first started out as a coach, I attended many seminars and read many books about self-development and life coaching. However, I still felt incompetent to originate my own ideas. So, my mentor got me to attend seminars on self-esteem and confidence. The information I gained from these seminars helped me build more confidence in my authenticity. And although sometimes I hold back from offering a new product or service to my target audience, I have learned that success is taking action despite doubt… despite fear. Therefore, it is vital to remember that running a business takes more than just wanting it. For us to succeed in business we have to be willing to do business with our mindsets consistently. We have to do the inner work in order to believe in who we are and what we have to offer to the world. And although it is okay to benchmark and/or work extremely hard in our businesses, it is more sustainable and healthy when we consider ourselves first: when we deal with our inner fears and especially how we feel about ourselves. Considering that we never offer what we want to the world, at least not consistently: we offer who we are.
“For us to succeed in business we have to be willing to do business with our mindsets consistently.”