“You Are NOT Your Business” Great Advice! OR IS IT?


Articles / Business

By Ramon David

You put hours into the planning and creation of your video, article, interview or content piece... you put it out there eagerly awaiting the likes, loves and comments...

...and... 3 likes!!!

Awww man :( sound familiar?

It’s hard not to take it personally right?!

It may even affect your performance and productivity for the rest of the day! OR, perhaps you even say to yourself... “maybe I’m just not good at video” or...

...“I suck at writing” ...and stop doing it altogether!

That’s ok, in high school English class Mrs Wilcox told me the same thing! But I digress.

When we stop creating and producing value for others, business grinds to a halt. In fact, one of the biggest keys to success in business is our consistency: the ability to consistently deliver value to our audience, clients and customers.

...which can become a big problem if our productivity and performance is at the mercy of our mood.

I’ve spoken at length about how emotion impacts on our ability to persevere. You can check out the article here on the neuroscience-based research study I conducted on the subject, so I won’t go into detail here on that topic. However, I do want to address the seemingly insightful, albeit completely impractical piece of advice that “you are NOT your business”.

Clearly, we can never actually be our business, after all we’re human and a business is not. That said, we can “become” our business. How? When our identity is so wrapped up in our business it’s hard to see the difference.

On the other hand, our business wouldn’t exist without us, because we’re the driving force behind the vision, behind the mission. We are the creators, the innovators, the relationship builders, which also comes from being human!

In other words, whilst the idea that “you are NOT your business” makes some sense, I don’t think the idea in-and-of-itself is in any way useful for making it a success.

So... I want to come at this from a completely different angle, to provide a brain-based perspective on why I’ve raised the issue of (you either “are” or “are not” your business”), as well as a strategy for dealing with the problems that arise from acting as though “we ARE our business”.

We know from Neuroscience that as we move through life and have experiences that the brain creates categories: Is this good or bad? Friend or Foe? Should I avoid it or move towards it? A very efficient system for conserving energy for survival purposes.

This would be great if we still lived in the environment that existed 10’s of thousands of years ago, where survival was our only real priority.

Of course we don’t live in that world anymore, and so whilst our brain loves to default to such a simple dichotomous operating system, we need to be mindful of the complexities of business (and life) so we can make the sorts of decisions that allow us to build the successful businesses, and have the kinds of experiences that we want.

I would suggest, therefore, regardless of how the brain wants to simplify things, it can never be as simple as “you are NOT your business” or as simple as “yes, you are”. It’s a much more complex, dynamic, ever-changing process. And yes, we can have greater control over the interplay of the “I” and “business”, by being more mindful.

To be more mindful, in this context, means to be more aware of the categories that our mind-brain has created, the biases we bring to decision-making, the emotional reactivity that we sometimes have - and to bring ourselves into a more aware and conscious state of being where we are taking information in through the senses, or noticing our internal state, without judgement.

Being more mindful allows us to see each and every situation, experience or event closer to reality - so that we can detach the emotionally reactive part of ourselves "awww crap only 3 likes" from the behavior that may be required (such as keep shooting videos or writing articles), so that we can continue moving forward and achieve what we set out to achieve.

Of course this isn’t the only strategy for managing such a issue, particularly if the behavior is nothing more than extrinsically motivated. Ie., the only reason we create something is to receive the validation, the likes, loves, comments, or even the financial reward.

However, using our attention mindfully provides us with the space and mental resources to mitigate our biases, to make strategic decisions, and to become more self-aware so we don’t fall into the trap of acting as though we ARE our business. Or, fall prey to the brain’s need to dichotomize such a concept which may often leave one wondering exactly how “I” and “business” even work together efficiently.

Be Great!
- Ramon

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