As business owners we’re always looking for advice. That’s OK, it’s expected. And seeking advice shows that we are working hard to do the best job we can. Input from others is an essential part of building a business because we don’t know everything and we certainly can learn from others experiences and stories. But even with all that being true, it’s important that we get into the habit of trusting ourselves.
It’s easy to assume that everyone else knows better than we do because they’ve been doing it longer, or they’re more deeply rooted in the industry, or they have a certain college degree that we don’t. Whatever the reason, I see it a lot, hell I’ve done it a lot; looking for answers, feedback, and advice from others to the point that we ignore our own instincts and opinions on the matter.
Listen, I’ve built a business around the concept of helping designers to connect with others in order to learn from one another in business, so I certainly understand the value in and need for seeking advice. But I’ve also learned to have an appreciation for trusting what we think is right for our own businesses. You know, the whole “going with your gut” thing.
Most of us assume that we need others’ input before we can be certain about something. Here’s something to remember: in business we’re almost never certain about anything.
We know more than we think we do. We learn every single day; our experiences, our failures, and our triumphs teach us what we need to know all the time. The key is to recognize that fact. All too often when something goes right or when something goes wrong, we don’t stop to think about why. By reflecting on why something works or doesn’t work, we’re able to learn certain lessons and then apply those lessons to our businesses and our decision-making process.
Our gut is always speaking to us, we just have to get better at listening. I think the need isn’t so much for advice but for connection. The ability to learn from one anther through experiences and stories; to contribute to the conversation and be a part of the discussion is how we all learn.
Guidance is wonderful. Advice can be helpful. But connection and contribution is how we all learn and grow.
When we start to trust ourselves more, we become more confident.
When we become more confident, we make better decisions.
When we make better decisions, we build stronger businesses.
I’m not suggesting that we all zip our lips and never ask questions or seek guidance. That would be silly. But I think we need to remember that sometimes, other people’s opinions and beliefs can muddy up the water. Feedback is great, but we have to make sure that we never let it overtake what’s in our hearts and our guts.
Get better at trusting yourself, I promise you’ll be glad you did.
Lots of love and encouragement,