Five Areas Of Personal Development That Can Help You Become A Better Business Owner

Julie Ball is the founder of Sparkle Hustle Grow, a subscription box for female entrepreneurs and a subscription box business coach. 

As a business owner, it’s so rewarding to see your business grow. But what happens when your doubts and faults start manifesting themselves? Perhaps you’ve noticed that you keep running into the same issue over and over again or you’ve started to question decisions or steps that “should” feel natural.

If you’re going through this, you’re not alone. Most business owners come to a point where the hill feels steeper and they’re challenged by their own shortcomings. At this point, you’ll want to take a step back and find the areas of your life you need to work on.

From my perspective, there are five areas of personal development that can also benefit your business.

1. Identify your personal values.

Your personal values shape the way you see the world and every interaction you have. They’re what allow you to show up authentically and unapologetically with everyone in your life. Without them, you might struggle to connect with your purpose or find a strong enough motivation to take your business to the next level.

I encourage you to sit down regularly and question yourself: Is what you’re doing in line with what you believe? If not, how can you correct the course? 

Leading with your values means walking the walk: Do you believe in reliability? Do you value independence? How do your values translate into your life and work? Identifying (or freshening up) your values helps you define success on your own terms and make the decisions that’ll get you closer to it.

2. Adopt a growth mindset.

Many times, it’s scary to jump into a new venture, expand an exhilarating idea or even invest in your business. Other times, you might feel obligated to take on a client or project you’re less than thrilled about, or you might have a hard time letting go of one that no longer aligns with your vision. 

Sometimes these things simply happen because you need the cash, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But these could also be signs that you’re operating with a scarcity mentality. The key difference is: Are you resisting change because deep down, it feels like you’re not quite ready? Are you holding on to clients or things that no longer serve you out of fear they’re all you have? Or is there a legitimate reason why you need to say yes (like paying the bills)? If it’s the former, I’d encourage you to find the root of these fears.

3. Improve your communication.

Clear, effective communication is crucial for every aspect of your life. In business, unclear communication can make or break a deal. It can set you up to fail with prospects or team members, and it can cause unmet expectations that lead to resentment.

As reported by the Harvard Business Review,  an Interact survey conducted by Harris Poll showed that 69% of the managers said they’re “often uncomfortable communicating with employees,” and 37% said they’re uncomfortable giving feedback on an employee’s performance if they believe the person will respond poorly.

Having difficult conversations is an art form — one most of us can improve. But how do you do that? Before you send your next email or hop on your next call, consider these aspects.

• Are you saying exactly what you mean? Sometimes, we tiptoe around our point to make it easier for ourselves or the other person. But there’s a quote by Brené Brown that I believe sums up this lesson well: “Clear is kind.” 

• Are you communicating enough? Especially now that so much of our communication happens online, you might need to over-communicate. Don’t assume the other person can guess what you mean. Instead, make it a point to break down your ideas or thoughts as clearly as possible.

• Are you listening to understand or to reply? Many of us have struggled with this one. Go into the conversation with a willing attitude, and be ready to see the other side, even if you disagree. It’ll open the door to understanding and lower the chances of confrontation.

4. Learn to give and take feedback.

Let’s face it: Taking criticism isn’t always fun. It can dampen the day and feel uncomfortable. What’s more, as we discussed above, many managers struggle with giving negative feedback. Even positive feedback can be a challenge. However, feedback is crucial for your growth. Imagine going through life not knowing whether you’re doing a good job, whether your friends or family like you or if dinner was really delicious.

Mastering feedback takes a lot of work on both ends. Praising your team is just as important as being able to correct them when something goes wrong. 

5. Be intentional about learning.

One thing leaders have in common is that they always strive to grow. To you, this can look like setting a reading goal for the year, finding inspiring TED talks or attending a conference each quarter. Whatever you choose, approach it with a spirit of openness and genuine curiosity. And be open to learning from those whose views are opposite of yours.

Your business can only grow as much as you do.

Both in life and business, growth and failure can be scary concepts. But in reality, most times the rewards far outweigh the risks. Investing your resources (time, money and energy) in your personal growth will come back tenfold and in ways you can’t even imagine. 

You see, as you learn from your perceived weaknesses, it’s easier to become the leader your organization needs. Personal development takes discipline and dedication — much like business growth.

Next time you find yourself second-guessing yourself or wondering if you’re down the right path, ask yourself, what can I learn from this? What’s the worst that could happen? And remember, the odds are in your favor: It’s often said that only 20% of small businesses fail within the two years — which means the other 80% survives.

Forbes Business Council is the foremost growth and networking organization for business owners and leaders. Do I qualify?

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