If you’re an aspiring business owner, or just starting your business, you already know all the obstacles you must climb to get to the next step. As a current CEO, I can tell you I have jumped through some serious hurdles to get to where I am today. And, although it starts to get a little easier with time, there are continuous hoops you must jump through to remain where you are and continue to move ahead.
I don’t want you to get discouraged. As Walt Disney once said (he’s my favorite), “If you can dream it, you can do it.” And, he’s 100 percent right.
There’s some ‘good’ to challenges, too. Challenges help you grow, personally and professionally. They help to fuel your success. Challenge leads to opportunity, and if your company is just starting out and you haven’t run into any challenges, you will. But, accept them as learning opportunities. Opportunities to grow,to learn what you’re doing right and what needs to change.
Tips for overcoming obstacles as a leader
Becoming a leader, and staying a leader, is basically the same. You don’t simply become a leader and stay in that position without hard work. Once you are a leader in your industry, you still need to put in the same amount of work you did before. It’s just a different kind of work. You will still face obstacles. But, there are some ways to help push the obstacles off the path a little easier.
Believe in yourself and your company
If you don’t believe in yourself or in your company, then who will? There will be people who doubt you can go far, bullet them doubt. Don’t let their opinions affect your road to success. And, in many cases, those who are doubting you are simply concerned because starting a business is a grueling, time-consuming task. But, let me tell you, it’s worth it!
Move that ‘Me’ to ‘We’
One of the biggest mistakes I have seen personally in not only my industry, but all industries, is once your business starts to boom, you start feeling ‘higher’ on the totem pole than everyone else. Don’t let that happen. A good leader is on the same level as everyone else in their organization. Treat your employees with kindness, respect and gratitude. They’re working hard too and you depend on them to help your company be successful.
Be open to feedback and criticism. And yes, there will be some feedback. Employees and clients may see what we don’t. They can see outside the box while we’re inside. It’s hard for us, as CEO’s or business owners, to see our company from their perspective. Their ideas provide us with insight to our company we weren’t aware of.
When you make a mistake, own it. Figure out the next step so your company can overcome it and become even better.
Have you ever seen the show ‘Undercover Boss?’ In this show, CEOs go undercover to gain insights into their company they have never seen before. They’re able to see from the employee’s perspective. They can see the flaws. They can see where improvements need to be made. They accept these flaws and turn them into opportunities for further growth.
In addition to noticing the flaws, they’re able to see how happy their employees are. Employees are the foundation to every company. Making sure they’re happy, they have support and they enjoy working for you is critical.
I am continuously asking for insight into my company. I ask my employees, ‘what can I do better?’ I want to know their thoughts and continue growing.
Set priorities and keep them
Another huge challenge business owners and new CEO’s face is the ability to set priorities. And yes, it’s difficult to determine what should come first sometimes. As a CEO myself, I can tell you when I get to my desk each day, there is a PILE of work that needs finished by the end of the day. But, each morning I write my priority list on my dry erase board so I know what needs finished first and what can wait until the end of the day or tomorrow morning.
We need to manage our time properly, too. Find out how much time you must dedicate to each project and don’t ‘dilly dally’ around while you’re working. Try to stick to that set time so you’re able to move onto the next priority on your list.
Obviously, everything in your list is important. So, how do you find out how to make that priority list? First, write down which deadline comes first. What absolutely needs to be finished this morning? If there aren’t any due dates, as in when you’re beginning an organization and don’t have any clients/customers yet, place your priority list in order of importance. Which items will be most beneficial to your organization?
Take a “brain break”
Yes, I know I just said not to ‘dilly dally’ while you’re working. But, sometimes your brain just needs a break. In my company, I do A LOT of writing. If you have ever published articles as part of your profession, you know from time to time you need a ‘brain break’ to produce high-quality work.
From another perspective, I also work with canine cancer and severe behavioral issues daily. This can be exhausting due to the emotional damage that comes with it. That’s another way a ‘brain break’ comes in. Step away, grab a cup of coffee, watch television for a few moments, listen to a podcast, etc. Then go back to work with a clear mind.
Understand your “why”
Understanding your ‘why’ is extremely important. As a CEO, aspiring business owner, or current business owner, you will reach times where you just feel like throwing in the towel (P.S. If you haven’t ever reached this point, you need to push harder). In these times, you need to remember your ‘why.’
I’ll share my ‘why’ with you. My ‘why’ is my family. Without them, there would be no reason to push so hard to be where I am and continue to grow. I have a husband, Tyler, and two little boys (ages six and two).
I’ll share a brief story: If you have a family, don’t let anyone tell you they’re not important. On my path to where I am today, I had partners who had told me ‘you can’t be professional if you have a family’ and ‘you’ll never get anywhere if you love your family.’ And, I have even had partners who have ended their partnership with me once they found out I had children.
I worked with this partner for over a year, and they actually told me “you have children, you’re not fit to be here.” That’s when I decided that in every meeting with a potential client or partner, I will bring up my children. I have found this to be a common thought among many ‘leaders.’
I have come this far because they are my ‘why.’ They are my inspiration. They’re the reason I work hard every day. And, they’re the reason I am successful now.
The bottom line: obstacles and leadership
It’s not easy to be a leader. People look to you for help and depend on you to get them where they’re going. You will face obstacle after obstacle, some big and some small. If your ‘why’ and your drive is strong enough, anything you can dream, you can do. Work hard, push obstacles off your path and adore your employees.
Are you a leader at your organization? What is your ‘why’? How do you prioritize your work each day? Comment your tips below!