Most business owners are freaks. On the outside we appear to be normal, sane, rational human beings, who recognise logic and understand cause and effect.
Hah – have you seen The Body Snatchers? – This appearance of normality is all a front.
Behind the facade, our mind and body are possessed by at least one, often several, different and disruptive personalities – the inner procrastinator, the self-talker, the sheep, the magpie, to name but a few. Oh, and scariest of all, the control freak.
These ‘personalities’ do their best to undermine us, to keep us feeling and acting small, to stop our business growing. They all have success to varying degrees, and at different times, but the majority of them are founded in weakness – a weakness for shiny objects; for laziness, for believing that we’ll be ‘found out’ – and as they are based on our weakness, they can be crushed quite easily when we are strong.
The exception to this, and the one chiefly to blame for a lack of growth in our business, is the control freak, the dominant persona built largely on ego and arrogance. The one that is strongest when we are strong.
We all know that control is a really good thing in a business, right up to the point where it’s not.
At the start, control comes easy because we’re the ones doing everything. Something goes well, something goes badly, it’s down to us. At this stage we’re grappling almost exclusively with the weakness gang: the procrastinator, the magpie, the self-talker and the sheep.
The tipping point comes when we’ve successfully overcome our weaknesses and built a business that works… on our own. That point when our business is successful and growing and we can no longer do everything ourselves, well not without ditching holidays, relationships and working 7 days a week.
At this point, we’re strong, we’re confident, our ego is big, fat and healthy and we are a very real liability to the further growth of our business.
Because we are now at the mercy of our control freak, telling us that systems will ruin the creativity and ‘flow’ of our business; that you can’t trust anyone; that nobody can do things like we can; that we are always right.
At the point where all our focus should be on growing our business, our control freak has us working 70 hour weeks, focusing on the day to day details, following up on everyone and trusting no-one.
Want to beat the freak, and grow your business? Here’s 5 steps:
1. Recognise that you are one
2. Work out what’s most important to you: to control everything or to have a life and grow your business
3. Let go in stages: don’t freak out the freak but instead let go and have trust
4. Build solid, logical systems that will run your business
5. Either hire good people and train them to run your systems orhire specialists who you trust to run them for you
The little people may never fully go away, but you’ll be truly yourself again when you can say, ‘I used to be a control freak. But I’ve learned to control it’.