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Becoming an entrepreneur this also means becoming a leader

The beginning journey of the entrepreneur. Where are you and where do you want to go? Do you have a job when you start out or are you still working and hoping one day, you’ll make enough money with your side business to become a true entrepreneur?
Or maybe you’re the entrepreneur that creates multiple streams of income and you somehow take advantage of all these opportunities to make money. Maybe you work for someone, you work for yourself, and you have investments bringing you passive income as well. Question is, what type of entrepreneur are you. However, you slice and dice it, you’re an entrepreneur.
The other thing is, do you have or need a purpose to be in this space. Basically, what is your why.
What pain are you helping people alleviate or eliminate? What is your story? As entrepreneurs and Life Designers, we’re going to start with our story, passion and what drove us to starting the business we’re in. We’re going to drop some gems in the process in hopes you take away information that will help anyone listening to this podcast.
If you’ve ever had the thought that you weren’t a good leader or didn’t know how to be one, you’re not alone. Business owners rarely go into business for themselves in order to become the leader of a company. In truth, most are looking to secure a “job” where they can provide their product or service free of a boss. This orientation—the Technician’s mentality—inevitably creates a business built around their own ability to produce results. It’s the orientation of the vast majority of owner-operated businesses, and it has obvious limitations.
You alone can only get so much done. You can only stretch so far. You can only produce the results that you can produce. If you have a vision for your business that extends beyond your own personal reach, then you need to become the leader that your business demands you be
You have to become the kind of person people want to follow. Your vision, values, character, and communication have to mean something to people, and you also have to become comfortable with that kind of attention and responsibility.
So, how do you get there from where you are right now? Becoming a leader is a journey. It doesn’t matter where you begin, how good you think you are at leading your team, or how much you understand about leadership right now. What matters is your commitment to making your own very personal transition from Technician to leader. In my experience, it’s one of the most worthwhile challenges and rewards of owning and building a business.
I’d like to share with you some of the things I’ve learned during my own leadership journey that are entirely consistent with what we’ve learned at Life Designers through our work with business owners over the past several years. But before we go there, here are the four essential qualities of leadership you would want to acquire or have with you.
My personal experience (and the experience of our clients over many years) has shown me that the ability to lead others towards a shared vision is a skill that business owners can not only develop, but also love. In our view, these are the fundamental qualities of effective leadership:

1. Self-awareness

As the leader of your business, you’re the one everyone in your company looks to for cues about how to behave. There’s no getting around it. How you think, feel and act in your business sets the tone for everyone.
If you don’t value your team’s input, you’ll discourage them from making meaningful contributions to the growth of your company. If you don’t set clear expectations, you’ll create frustration and confusion. If you’re overly critical, you’ll make people afraid to speak up or take risks.
If you don’t express what your company needs from your people in a way they can hear, you’ll deprive everyone of the understanding of what makes your company special and their work important.
If you don’t continually question your assumptions, you’ll miss seeing your blind spots and the adverse impact they’re having on your company. If you see your people as the cause of your company’s stagnation, you’ll miss the real opportunity your business is giving you to learn about yourself. Your business is a reflection of you. If you can’t see how you’re influencing it, you’ll either feel at a loss to change it, blame others for what it’s not giving you, or both.
The more you discover about yourself and your impact on people—not just your strengths and weaknesses, but your motivations, values, communication habits, emotional triggers, the feelings that you’re comfortable addressing versus the ones you avoid—the more you’ll grow as a leader. And your growth will directly impact the growth of your company. To create a great company, your business has to reflect the best of who you are. You have to lead the way. That is why I am encouraged to read every single day. I look for ways to improve on myself. I listen to those people before like Dale Carnegie, Napoleon Hill, ZigZiglar and Brian Tracy or my current peers like Russel Brunson of Clickfunnels, Myron Golden of how to sell High tickets, Real estate guru Jay Morrison and John See of Grow Your Business Network. Always Be Learning (ABL)

2. Vision

The most entrepreneurial aspect of leadership is the drive towards a picture of a business that works. Leaders take people someplace. If you’re clear about where you’re leading your people and committed to your vision, you’ve probably noticed a pretty constant inner tension between where your business is today and where you want it to be. This tension, which comes from your ability to see every aspect of your business today that doesn’t match your vision, can become one of your most useful leadership tools.
At first, you might see this tension as a source of disappointment, resentment and blame. But if you take the time to understand and manage it, this tension can become “healthy frustration.” It’ll inspire your daily decisions about the next steps to take to close the gap and inform your communication with your team about what’s most important now and why.
You can never speak to your team too often about where the company is going and what it’s going to take from everyone in order to get there. The entrepreneurial tension that lives in you all the time can become your vehicle for inspiring your people to help achieve the vision that means so much to you.

3. Discernment ( the ability to judge well)

Every adult makes thousands of decisions on any given day. Every one of them has consequences, even though some are obviously more impactful than others. The consequences of our decisions accumulate and eventually define our life.
For a business owner, the choices you make can mean the difference between the life you’ve always dreamed of, and an unsatisfying one. They’re the difference between a business that serves customers the way you believe they should be served and one that leaves customers disinclined to come back, and between a company culture that reflects your values and one that’s shaped by the whims of the people you happen to hire.
Leaders understand that their choices matter. They have the ability to discriminate between the choices that’ll bring them closer to their company vision, and those that won’t. They have the ability to recognize when a choice might make sense or feel good in the moment but won’t serve the company’s best interests in the long run. They have the ability to prioritize seemingly competing interests of their own at any given moment.
This kind of discernment forges a leader’s path to success.

4. Authenticity

It’s not easy to describe what it means for a leader to be authentic; words like “genuine” or “real” don’t make things much clearer. Perhaps “sincere” comes a little closer. The best way to understand authenticity is in terms of how your people react emotionally to your communication. Whether your people are aware of it or not, they’re reading and responding to their sense of your authenticity all the time.
An authentic leader makes it easy for people to relax and trust the company and its leadership. Your people want to feel that you say what you mean and you mean what you say. They want to know that your words are congruent with what you’re feeling. If you say that something doesn’t bother you, but your people can feel resentment or contempt in your tones, you’re likely to create anxiety and mistrust. Repeated experiences of anxiety and mistrust are unlikely to move people in the direction in which you’d like to lead them.
Authenticity is how you express who you are (a function of your self-awareness), where you’re taking your people (a function of the clarity of your vision), and how you’ll get there (a function of the discerning choices you make) in a way that brings more life to everyone your business touches.
Leading your team so they’re inspired to follow you requires a real commitment to self-inquiry and understanding how you impact people. It requires a willingness to accept the sober truth that your business will only change when you do.
That’s good news though: Your business will grow as you become the leader it demands of you. You may never have thought about it in these terms before, but taking on this challenge to become the owner your business requires can also be a labor of love.

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