I departed quietly from Corporate America after 18 years of faithful service; I left the mother ship behind. The cold sweat and pulsing heart beats that I awoke to each night for the next 2 months, were the physical manifestation to the intellectual realization that I was now the mother ship, not only to my children, but to my business.
When you open up your own practice or business the range of feelings you embark on can be the most euphoric excitement to be coupled only with the basic panic attacks. I really did have to go back to my business plan and countless pages of notes I had taken in preparing for this change, and start moving step by step in the general direction of "forward."
The concept of having no one behind me to call in to if I needed a password reset, toner ordered or a paper jam unraveled, was a foreign concept to me. I was so used to calling into someone else for whatever was needed to support my practice. Now I was the mother ship, all calls were directed by me, to me and needed to be resolved by me.
The reason I wanted to share these insights with you is to show those of you planning or thinking of a change in your professional lives, that you may have trepidations about your decision of going it alone and that to have these feelings of anxiety are normal and I believe, can be overcome. Planning, organizing and finding external sources of positive affirmations can greatly alleviate the stress.
Planning the transition is the first step one needs to take. I recommend you take a note book and start to write down thoughts, goals, dreams and basically everything going through your head about this adventure.
Both my brother who is a realtor and my good friend who is an interior designer, recommended I do this when I first started to think of going out on my own. I decided upfront that if I wanted to do what they had already done I was going to open up my heart, mind and soul to their advice and do as they say without question. I proceeded to clip articles, collect business cards and write countless words of advice I received from business owners I spoke with. This collection of information is still a book I turn to every so often for ideas.
Organizing the next day's work was another skill I learned that worked best when planned during the previous evening before going to bed. What is most effective is sitting down with pen and paper - not on the computer, and writing down what you need to do tomorrow. You can input the information into your electronic planner later if you wish. Writing out your activities for tomorrow makes a huge difference in the productivity level of the following day. Instead of first trying to decide what do in the morning, a plan is already mapped out and action can be taken from minute one. As your business takes shape you will start to plan and organize your monthly and annual events in the same manner.
Remember, there is no mother ship, no one will tell you what your deliverables are. It's you who is calling the shots.
Finally you need to find sources of encouragement and honest feedback. As routine sets in to your business, and believe me it will, it can breed stagnation while busy work can take over productive work. You need someone in your professional life to gain honest feedback and activities to give you the opportunity to replenish your energy. Whether it's going out for long power walk in the middle of the day, talking to a mentor or simply trying out a new experience, find that source of energy that can uplift and help you refocus on your goal.
Even now when my practice has grown to include a team, I am still at the captain's chair of the mother ship. It is up to me to lead not just me now, but the team forward. We all have inner strengths that we do not learn to recognize until we are forced to. If you are out there looking to take a leap into business ownership, I say go for it. Allow yourself to think on it, plan it out, seek advice, but ultimately realize you are the owner of the best ship there is; stir it to your destination your way.
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