3 Things I Would Do Differently in Business

This is a business article I wrote several years ago. No hard-hitting tech tips, but I still hope you find it beneficial.


“What would you do if you had a time machine.?” It’s a question that came up at least 17 times in your first week of 6th grade, answered with the typical “kill Hitler” and “see dinosaurs” answers. It can be more than a juvenile question if you apply it to your business.

So, time machine. What would you do?

The rules are that you only get to go back 10 years, and in this time machine, you can only go back and give yourself business advice. No stock picking or lottery numbers, you cheater! That would destroy the space-time continuum!

I wouldn’t go back and instill new skills. Skills can only be developed over time, and no amount of information can make you better at something when you don’t have the hours at the grindstone.  I wouldn’t even try to prevent myself from making mistakes, as they are the catalysts for growth in the business.

So, here are the things I would encourage myself to do differently if I could go back 10 years.  

 

Stop working in isolation

When I first started in business, I kept my head down and worked. It made sense to me; there was so much to do and very few people to help me. What I didn’t understand at the time was that insulating myself caused me to become unproductive over time and helped to maintain the false reality that I was the only person willing and able to get the work done.

Over the past years, a wealth of experienced, trustworthy advisors has helped me develop and challenge my thinking in ways that I wouldn’t have imagined in my early days. Resources like business courses, mentorships, and mastermind groups have allowed me to see how other people have solved my very same problems.

Don’t get me wrong; I understand that “doing the work” is critical, but it’s easy to get stuck there when you’re a one-person band. Make sure you are building in support right from the get-go.

 

Open up to possibilities

The idea of specialization was strong in me when I first started. I wanted to be clear on what I/we did and DID NOT do so that I wouldn’t lose focus. It’s interesting because, in general, this trait is a good thing, but the way I practiced it was shutting down opportunities before they even had a chance to take root.

“Don’t respond with negativity.” Your eyes may have just glazed over, but that was me. My response was always “My concern is…” or “That can’t work because…” Choose responses like “That sounds very interesting” and “Tell me more about that.” By allowing the conversation to proceed without adding in negative comments, I have found that we get great opportunities without over-committing.  

 

Stop Being Defensive

I used to be DEFENSIVE about my business. I took every comment and criticism to heart. I still struggle with this, but it helps to know that most people react based on what’s going on inside them. People are generally not aware of their own “why,” let alone yours, and in most cases, they won’t even listen if you tell them. Let them criticize. Respond with an “I can see where you’re coming from,” and let it go.

If I am less concerned about “what I did wrong,” I can instead focus on the relationship with the other person: how I can be present with them, serve them, and learn from them. Show you care about a person more than defending yourself, and there is a much better chance that a negative experience turns positive.

At the end of the day, if something doesn’t work out, I know two things: brushing over an offense is almost never as bad as my defensive self would want me to believe it will be, and not correcting the other person will, at minimum, work out better than if I had let my defensive self “HANDLE” the situation.

If you could go back in time, what would you do differently in your career?  

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Related Tech Tips

Dalton's Law
John Dalton was an English chemist and physicist born in 1766. He was born into a Quaker family of tradesmen, though he and his brother became teachers early in life. His family bought a Quaker school in Kendal, where he and his brother taught around 60 students.  Dalton separated from the church as a young […]
Read more
Zeroth Law of Thermodynamics
Zeroth? ZEROTH? is that even a word? Apparently so, because… SCIENCE. The zeroth law of thermodynamics establishes the relationship between multiple objects and a common state of balance between them. It is sometimes called the law of thermal equilibrium. Heat always tries to find a state of balance. “Hotter” is a relative term, but an […]
Read more
What's the scoop on PM10 and PM2.5 Particles?
MATLAB Handle Graphics It was December 5th, 1952, only seven years after the end of WWII in London, England, when the “great smog” settled across the city. The “great smog” was the result of a meteorological anomaly combined with unchecked industrial pollution. Still, even once it settled on the city, bringing business to a screeching […]
Read more
loading

To continue you need to agree to our terms.

The HVAC School site, podcast and daily tech tips
Made possible by Generous support from