Are You Treating Your Business Like a Business?
"Eighty percent of success is showing up." - Woody Allen
"Do what you love and the money will follow" is a cry heard round the entrepreneurial and creative world.
It's a story I’ve definitely been fed and latched onto.
It seems someone forgot to mention that you have to actually show up and do the work as well.
“Do you what you love AND show up, do the work every day, and the money will follow” just doesn't have the same ring to it, does it?
Dabbling at what we love instead of working consistently can be pretty common.
We show up and do the work only when we’re feeling inspired and then wonder why our business hasn’t taken off. The slow trickle of money coming in and lack of applause can make us want to throw in the towel.
This is so not what we signed up for.
I’m going to share an unpopular truth again, but for the non-unicorns among us, having your own business, creative or not, means treating it like one. And that means showing up day in and day out, even when you aren’t “feeling it.”
Sort of like being a parent, you gotta be there for all the stuff, not just graduation.
Back in my acting days, I had a great acting coach who would joke that none of us would dare show up to our survival serving jobs and say, “No, I won’t bring that drink to that table. I’m just not feeling it today. I don’t feel inspired.”
We’d all laugh, dying a little on the inside from the truth smack.
How many of us don’t want to serve the proverbial drink in our businesses because we aren’t feeling inspired to?
We think because it’s our passion, craft, art, baby, or thing that it’s somehow different, and therefore, the rules don’t apply.
We lie to ourselves and give ourselves special parameters and conditions.
Suddenly our business is akin to a gold-digger: demanding, high-maintenance, draining all of our resources, and not giving us much back in return outside of one-sided passion.
Bad analogies aside, this is real.
The successful business owners, artists, athletes, you name it... they have to show up and do the work just like everyone else. It’s easy to only see the glitzy career and miss seeing the work they put in every day behind closed doors.
In Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, Angela Duckworth shares this from Nietzsche, “Our vanity, our self-love, promotes the cult of the genius. For if we think of genius as something magical, we are not obliged to compare ourselves and find ourselves lacking…”
Duckworth goes on to say, “In other words, mythologizing natural talent lets us all off the hook. It lets us relax into the status quo…”
Turns out, Nietzche was all about showing up and doing the work. “Do not talk about giftedness, inborn talents! One can name great men of all kinds who were very little gifted. They acquired greatness, became ‘geniuses’ (as we put it)…They all possessed that seriousness of the efficient workman…”
There can be a big gap between what we think we’re doing and what we’re actually doing. It’s tempting to lie to ourselves and say we’re playing full out, but are we really?
By not fully committing, we keep ourselves “safe” and in our comfort zone. We don’t have to risk too much, and it’s an easy out if we don’t succeed.
Not treating our business like a business makes us feel better if we fail, because hey, we weren’t really trying, and we never liked that business crap anyway. When we dabble and show up only when we feel like it, we also don’t have to step up and do the hard work that a pro is committed to.
So, I’m curious, are you showing up to your work every day? Are you taking pleasure in the small, everyday steps?
There is a huge shift that occurs when we show up and commit 100 percent. When stop hedging out bets and put both feet in.
You can still make your own rules. It can be fun and full of passion, but you gotta show up. Every damn day.
It’s not sexy, but it’s one of the secrets to success (secrets to success, btw, almost never sexy).
Commit over the long haul. Do the work. Show up, especially when you aren't inspired or feeling it.
I love Steven Pressfield’s book, Turning Pro. It's chock-full of golden nuggets of wisdom about the mindset of going from amateur to pro, and Pressfield says, “The amateur tweets. The pro works.”
So, I’m curious, are you tweeting or showing up and working?
P.S. Are you showing up and playing full out in your work + life? Let me know in the comments below!
P.P.S. Know someone else who might like this blog? I'd be ever so grateful if you shared it!