“A rising tide lifts all boats” is an expression of Chinese origin used a lot in modern times to represent a strong economy that benefits all. In the eyes of the entrepreneur, a buoyant economy represents a vision of good times and everything we wished for in becoming a business owner, the freedom to impact the world and make something better on our own terms.
This feeling of Freedom plays a key role in the journey towards success. Although we no doubt feel mixed emotions as we progress forward, entrepreneurial success is driven by the reasons we chose this path in the first place: having a passion we truly believe will make a difference, having the freedom to bring that idea to life on our terms and a wish for fulfilment through the positive impact we hope to make in our communities. The price we are willing to pay for this feeling of freedom is at the right value because we are able to have the space to be the best of ourselves.
The importance of keeping freedom floating high
Passion, freedom and fulfilment, when aligned, create joy in entrepreneurs. The alignment of these elements can lead to a successful growth path, which feels seamless, as if the stars are aligned and the yearned for freedom has been achieved. When the tide is high it’s easier to achieve this, perhaps weaker areas can be disguised by a stronger economy. By understanding what happens when the tide goes out and the effect on your passion, freedom and fulfilment, we can begin to keep the feeling of joy – and therefore, success – whatever the external forces we experience.
Keeping alignment despite the pressure from any external changes is the challenge. Whilst working with entrepreneurs over the past year there is a feeling of being trapped, a loss of freedom bringing a wavering passion towards the product/service that once seemed to define them so easily.
This can begin the decline of self belief and confidence, and can eventually create a fear of looking towards the future and the ability to grow. This is the critical role that the feeling of freedom can hold, as once we lose this feeling, we start to look externally for ideas of how we can recreate what we once felt, beginning to measure ourselves against others living with what we think our freedom should look like, making lists of things we should do to become that picture. Of course the list never ends, and added pressure and frustration can even see us fall out of love with what we do.
The price of freedom becomes higher than what we wish to pay and feeling trapped can be an impossible place to stay.
Bringing back the feeling
The value of gaining back freedom is certainly high and requires rewiring things in a different way, a way that suits the entrepreneur. It begins with your passion, it’s what brought you to this point and can be your starting point on releasing yourself into future thinking.
- Rewire how you define freedom
Freedom is being the best of who you are, the feeling is personal to you, internally driven so it cannot be defined by anyone else. Own it. You are the only one who can.
As I mentioned, when we look at freedom as an objective we begin to look outside ourselves for how to define what freedom is, in our friends and family, magazines and articles about people who seem to have the freedom to live life as they wish. This leads us to a never ending trail of seeking a picture of freedom that belongs to someone else, something that we cannot achieve. It needs to be your feeling of when you have the right space and the environment, believing that you can do anything, a belief that powers your journey and only one that can be defined by you.
Define that feeling and celebrate what that feels like. Accept that freedom is a journey supported by clarity of who we are and achieving the impact we want to make. It’s a feeling of fulfilment that is achieved through the discipline of making the right decisions from the core of what our business stands for.
- Rewire your reality of control
Firstly, accept that control was never there, not even when you were bobbing around on the crest of the wave. A high tide only lets us feel that we are influencing our external environment, however, what we are actually controlling is only what we do to drive growth forward, not the environment we are in. This is easier to do when the economy is more buoyant and therefore we are able to feel our passion and the fulfilment of what we are influencing with a greater ease.
It’s important to make clear what you can control, which starts from within.When the tide went out in 2020, what enabled you to survive the year? How clear was the core strength of who you are; your purpose, your values – how you are truly making an impact with the customer in leading your journey.
The answers to these questions can lead your survival. Making them clearer and revisiting the strength of the backbone of who you are can give you a clearer picture of your success at this moment. Once it’s brought to the surface and invested in, it can play a leading role in your future growth, the journey that you control.
- Rewire how you think about a crisis
Take the low tide of last year as an opportunity: review what you see against the 3 elements that have driven your success so far. This way we can begin to see any crisis or unpredictable event as an opportunity to build:
Your passion: Is what you set out to do strong and still relevant to your customer? How much are you truly living your purpose and are your company values making you different enough to stand out as the first choice for your customer? Be honest, this is a one time opportunity to see the core of your business with all its warts and glory in front of you.
Freedom: What’s truly stopping freedom? How aligned are you with the team, partnerships, stakeholders, suppliers and customers? What are the pinch points? When we feel trapped we can consider everything is not working. Identify, be disciplined about how you view it and seek to understand the misalignment of this area.
Fulfilment: How are you serving your customer? Do you measure the impact of your purpose so your whole ecosystem feels connected and not just you? There is no greater release than sharing the full picture with others who want to support and feel fulfilled as well.
Solving freedom at the right price
The price of entrepreneurial freedom is always a trade off. However, with a purpose-led approach and being clear on what freedom means to you, you can turn a crisis into an opportunity through realigning the 3 elements above. The feeling of joy it brings makes for a price you are always willing to pay.
Over the coming weeks we’ll be sharing more blog articles around the value of Freedom – with guest writers – and the story of Merel, an entrepreneur who talks us through her journey to finding freedom and rediscovering her belief and confidence. If you’re not entirely sure what your next step to joy is within your company and yourself, perhaps our Wyseway growth guide is a good place to start – a bespoke and extensive guide to growth that is delivered directly to your inbox.
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