Saturday, 26 November 2011

Know Who Is In Your Circle

If I talk about a new business plan to close friends and family, there are a few responses I can count on hearing:
My mother will say, "Oh no! Can't you just be satisfied with where you are at? What if it fails?"
My friend Don will say. "Wow! That's awesome! You go man!"
My friend Stacy will say, "That sounds like a great idea! Your only only big challenge might be ... "

When you are building a business it is very important to know who is around you and what effect they have on you. This is especially important during those early stages of bringing the dream to reality. When you explain your dream to people, they are going to react to it and you are going to see that reaction. If that person is someone close to you, you will be affected by that reaction.

Generally, you can put these people into 3 categories:
1. Caring Detractors
2. Biggest Fans
3. Motivating Realists

Knowing who fits into what category and planning on how to deal with them can save you a lot of strife. I have several people in each category so I will give you some examples:

Caring Detractor 

My mother fits this category. Anytime I speak of a new idea, investment or business; she feels that it is her job to talk me out of it. No matter how solid the plan, she has to say , "Don't do it!" The trick for me is remembering why she does this. It is because she hates risk and fears change when it comes to the lives of her children.

I am sure you have similar people around you. When you talk about new ideas, they automatically try to "protect" you from the worst. They may have had bad experiences themselves that have led them to believe that entrepreneurship is something dangerous. They may just lack the creativity to see how an idea can become a successful venture. Either way, they try to dissuade you out of concern for you.

(There is another type of detractor. The kind that wants to dissuade you out of jealousy or bitterness. Not wanting success for you. These people should not be in your circle, so lets just forget about them)

Biggest Fans

I have few friends that fit in this category, they cheer me on and say, "What a great idea!" no matter what I am talking about. Don is one of these friends. He wants me to feel good and will say whatever he has to in order to accomplish that. He is a great friend and I wouldn't trade him for the world, but I have to be careful how much weight I put in his enthusiasm and encouragement.

You probably have some of these as well. They are great for the ego. They are great for making you feel like the worthy person you are when you may be feeling less than worthy. Listen to what these people say and enjoy it. They are sincere. They love you and want the best for you. Just make sure that you don't place all of your stock in their comments. They will make you feel great about your idea but may make you blind to issues that need to be addressed.

That's where this next group comes in ...

Motivating Realists

These are hard to find but I do have a few in my life. Stacy is one of these. She wants me to succeed and will encourage and cheer me on, but at the same time, she will bring to light any snags in my plan. She has the courage to tell me the things I might not want to hear. She will point out bumps in the road that I may have to deal with. She offers me a perfect mix of encouragement and realism. When she sees potential problems she points them out and then helps me think through to a solution.

If you have some of these people around you, grab on to them and hold them close through the building of your business. They can be a huge contribution to your success. These people have usually taken some risks themselves and have been rewarded for it. They understand that a bit of hard going and uncertainty in the beginning can pay off a million times over in the future. They care about your success and are honest about the pros and cons of your plan.

Knowing who is around you and which type of person they are is a great way to avoid stress.

Know ahead of time that the detractors will try to stop you and handle your communication with them accordingly. (I don't tell my mother anything until I have already done it).

Know that your fans will cheer you on. Tell them what you are doing and bask in the encouragement they will offer. Just don't get blinded by that wonderful spotlight they put on you.

Know that the realists will be straight with you. Tell them what you are doing and then listen closely to what they say. It may not always be what you want to hear but it will always be helpful.

Balance these three and then go ahead knowing that, when it comes down to it, YOU are the key to making your dream a reality.

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