One thing I hear small business owners lament is — “I just don’t have time for my friends anymore.” I call B.S.
It may feel like that sometimes – especially in the early years, when you’re overwhelmed, and scheduling and to-do lists seem endless. But that statement isn’t really true, and even if it is, it shouldn’t be.
We all have cycles of production that are hyper-focused, meaning our heads are down and our brains are on-mission in a way that only realistically allows for work, family, a shower here and there, and more work. Everyone gets that — whether they have a 9 – 5 job or are also self-employed. But don’t make the mistake of thinking that people are only valuable if they add to your growth plan. I’ll admit that the less intimate ones may take a backseat – because prioritization takes over and maybe everyone doesn’t make the ‘cut’, as it were. But there’s another phenomenon that happens in this realm — when suddenly you’re “someone” in your field.
I think it’s safe to say we all hope to achieve a level of respect or fame in our respective disciplines – right? It’s not as though anyone expects to make headlines at the WSJ, but you hope to earn a name for yourself after decades of work. That’s reasonable.
But what happens when an old friend reaches out – maybe one who isn’t in the same arena, who doesn’t compare to your list of fans and followers, who hasn’t published a book, started a brand, taken a stage or been on the Today Show? I’ll give you a quiz – see what you answer.
A. Reach back with an opening for tea in the next month (or sincerely explain why schedules are tight).
B. Have an assistant reach back with events or class times you’ll be leading – because along with a few hundred other people – at least you’ll be in the same room!
C. Don’t reach back because you either don’t really feel like making time (or worse, you don’t see them as helpful in your ascent.)
The only good answer here is A, but unfortunately B and C happen all the time.
Let’s not be jerks just because we’ve become ‘very important people.’ It’s gross. Be the same kind of person you aim for as a business owner. Authentic. Sincere. Grounded.
There’s no point in having high ideals in entrepreneurship if they don’t apply to your soul.