If we took as many selfies of our businesses as we did of our faces, we might make more honest assessments of what needs to change. But we fear feedback – giving it, receiving it. We’re sometimes even scared of the people who work for us, but don’t want to admit it. We shudder at the thought of auditing people and processes because that means disruption, potentially being wrong, hurting feelings, being criticized. Our small companies often function on rocket fuel – adrenalin from an exciting client, a pitch, an opportunity, the “what-if’s” that make every day as a creative or entrepreneur or talent so fun and full of hope.
Pausing is hard. Forward motion is easier. But have you ever just stood and looked yourself in the eye – for an uncomfortable amount of time? Looking into your own eyes, you see things. Personal things. Memories. Curiosities. Tendencies. Truths. When I created SMARTY in 2008, I was running on the adrenalin of leaving another women’s network as the editor in chief, wild-eyed and sleep deprived from the rigors of childbirth and breastfeeding, and the excitement of corralling a small team of people who could help me launch a different kind of business network for women. But we moved with such speed (ahem, seat-of-our-pants-ness) that I rarely took the time to assess our state of the union. Looking at P&L’s is one part of a businesses story – but really the overall picture was hard to capture. I wanted to look smarty in the eye and ponder it – but that would take too long and I was fielding too many potential land mines that I just Kept. It. Moving. I didn’t take selfies when I should have (which is why the model is now changing!).
If we can effectively turn the camera on our businesses – we could get past the discomfort of the long gaze and transcend beyond survival into relevance.
Here’s to more starring at ourselves in the mirror (no filter). The entrepreneurial selfie requires a deeper look. And one that takes feedback.