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Communication. It can build up your small business or tear it apart—the right kind of communication fuels optimism, hope, excitement, confidence, and small business growth. The wrong type of communication, well, let’s say it doesn’t paint a pretty picture of the future. 

Late last week, I found myself in a critical conversation. I won’t get into the details but let’s say it was one of those chats that left me feeling deflated. If it weren’t for a tiny detail, I would have hung up the phone or walked out on the conversation. But, instead, I was in a passionate exchange with myself. Egads!

small business growth

Have you ever had one of those conversations? You tell yourself everything you did wrong, point out all your faults, and whine about what’s not possible. But, of course, you have!

The words we say to ourselves are more damaging than words we exchange with others. This is because self-talk changes the way we see ourselves. It influences our performance, shapes our perception, and impacts our future.

The Science Behind Self-Talk

As many would believe, self-talk isn’t just a bunch of mumbo jumbo. Instead, from a neuroscience perspective, it shapes our internal modeling.

Ethan Kross, a psychologist from the University of Michigan, recently released a study in which pronouns used by people when they spoke to themselves silently – inside their brain – were researched. His findings were astonishing.

“What we find,” Kross says, “is that a subtle linguistic shift — shifting from ‘I’ to your name — can have potent self-regulatory effects.”

During his study, Kross had “nonfamous” people (i.e., you and I) divided into two groups. One group used the pronoun “I” as they prepared for a presentation; the other group used their name as if speaking in the third person as they prepared to talk.

The results were terrific. Those who used “I” in their inner monologue were much more critical of themselves and their ability to perform well. However, those using their name were much more supportive and encouraged how well they would do with their presentation.

Words Matter in a Mental Monologue for Your Small Business Growth

We all know negative self-talk contributes to stress. But, it’s a high price to pay. It affects our sleep, impacts our eating, interferes in our relationships, and grinds our business motion to a standstill.

If we don’t feel valuable to ourselves, we won’t benefit our clients. You may never realize your full potential the personal oration begins to change.

Start by monitoring your inner monologue—tune in to what you say to yourself. Change the dial. Speak to yourself as you speak to others, and have others speak to you. Develop different – and better – phrases to replace the ones used. And, by all means, know when to “zip it” when the conversation with yourself turns negative. 

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Webster defines power as the ability to act or do. Given that, we all have it. Everyone can act. Despite that, not every business owner uses their power or uses it in the right way. Some entrepreneurs give their power away to others, and it’s not pretty. But, when tied to your power grid, business growth occurs easily and naturally. 

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Plugins to Electrify Your Business Growth

  1. Become toleration-free. When you’re tolerating (i.e., putting up with stuff), you’ve given your power to the very person, place, or thing you are tolerating. So, when you shift from a person who puts up with stuff to becoming toleration-free, you take back what was yours.
  2. Get your personal needs met. You’re familiar with physical needs such as food, water, and shelter, right? But, did you know that you have personal needs? Some of our everyday personal needs include the need for appreciation, recognition, and safety. And unfortunately, we are subconsciously driven to satisfy our unmet needs. This energy results in some not-so-attractive behavior and a sense of helplessness. By consciously getting our needs met, we can choose healthy behaviors that support us in achieving our business goals.
  3. Set strong boundaries. Boundaries are imaginary lines drawn to tell others the type of behaviors or interactions that are acceptable and unacceptable. It may be okay that someone offers constructive criticism. It’s not okay that they deliver that corrective communication in a degrading or demeaning way. You have a right to protect yourself from behavior that diminishes your spirit. You don’t need to suffer “pushoveritis” to be successful.
  4. Clarify your values. Values are who you are. These are the behaviors you’re naturally drawn to that bring you great joy and satisfaction. Think back to when you were six years old. What was it that you loved doing? Were you naturally inspired to create, explore, teach, or relate? Once you tap into your values, your ability to make intelligent, strategic decisions is enhanced.
  5. Develop a reserve for fear. The standard advice for facing fear is “feel the fear and do it anyway.” (By the way, that concept never quite worked for me.) Fear indicates a pending risk. One way to alleviate fear is to develop a reserve (i.e., more than you need) around what you fear. For instance, if your fear threatens financial stability, a monetary reserve to grow your small business may help eliminate fear. 
  6. Practice self-kindness. Self-kindness is the ability to take better care of oneself, a requirement for a powerful person. Self-kindness includes the frequent use of the word “no,” healthy eating, regular exercise, and hanging out with those who treat you as a brilliant person capable of accomplishing great things.
  7. Acknowledge your strengths and gifts. Buying into the perceptions of others as truth can drain your power. For instance, assertive, ambitious, energetic, hard-driving, and determined may be perceived as an asset for one gender group and liability for another. Some praise weaknesses as strengths; some perceive strengths as weaknesses. Decide for yourself what strengths you possess.
  8. Operate at 51%. Unless you’ve had a frontal lobotomy (i.e., removal of the brain’s frontal lobe) that renders you inept, you are responsible for all that is happening and not happening in your life. Erica Jong said, “Take your life in your own hands, and what happens? A terrible thing; there’s no one to blame.” Take control over your response to life.

Despite all written about personal power, it is often misinterpreted and confused with manipulation. That’s control, not power. When you have true power, you don’t need control.

Personal power transferred to your business creates new ideas, opportunities, and connections. 

Are you ready to plug in?

You know the one…

Someone pledges to accomplish a task, project, or goal by a certain time and they actually follow through on their commitment. It’s stunning!

From my vantage point as a strategic business coach, it appears accountability and commitment are as rare as a unicorn. Yet, this is the frustration of many small business owners that arise from the irritation of broken and abandoned promises.

It’s not that simple, Nike!

I’d like to believe Nike’s mantra is enough for commitment, accountability, and outcomes. Just Do It. Oh, if it were so…

We can’t indict others for this seemingly blatant disregard of honoring promises without looking at how we handle commitments. Whether it’s a promise made to a client, an agreement with a business partner, or a pledge to our business coach (Egads!), commitments are slippery.

Someone said,”Commitment is doing the thing you said you were going to do long after the mood you said it in has left you.” —Unknown.

Let’s Keep The Mood Going

A commitment to which one holds him or her self accountable is more than raising your hand to say, “I will.” Whether it’s with another — or oneself — a commitment conversation has several crucial steps including:

  1. Achieve clarification and agreement.
  2. Review specific results and due dates.
  3. Discuss capabilities and concerns, if any, of meeting deliverables on time.
  4. Identify resources and/or tools needed to accomplish the objective.
  5. Establish the measurement of success.
  6. Verify and clarify expectations, results, and timelines.

Although it requires time, presence of mind, and skill, have the conversation. It’s the one discussion that maintains the momentum to deliver on promises made.

Resistance. Everyone experiences it at one point or another. Whether it’s your kids’ refusal to eat spinach, employees balking at new ways of operating, or your own struggle with an idea, notion, or direction in your business, resistance lurks around every corner waiting to sprig into action to defy your next move. The good news is that not all resistance is bad – or bad for you. (Click to Tweet)

Growing up, I honed my driving skills on my Dad’s 1948 Dodge. The emergency brake was a little “soft” so it wasn’t unusual to shift into gear, hit the gas, and drive through town – with the parking brake still in place.  That was…until it started to smoke. Whoops!

Resistance – and its influence – is like driving my Dad’s ’48 Dodge. With one foot on the gas, and the emergency brake engaged, you can still putter down the road but at some point, there are signs that all is not right and in need of attention.

Resistance is defined at the act, or power, of opposing. Synonymous with obstinacy and defiance, resistance often accompanies burnout, inability to act, and sluggish growth. (Click to Tweet)

The Voice of Resistance
Resistance can come from others, like kids, partners, employees, even the cleaning crew, but the most detrimental form of resistance is that which is within us. (Click to Tweet)

Opposition to change is the most common form of resistance we read about.  Not all resistance is a refusal to accept or go along with, however. Sometimes, resistance beckons a course modification. (Click to Tweet)

Jen Neitzel, owner of The Maven Circle, is passionate about self-care and shared some intriguing causes of resistance.

“Resistance can come to us for many different reasons; fear of the unknown, fear of failure, fear of being hurt, fear of losing something important to you, as well as countless other reasons. But it is fear and an inability to deal with the truth that is at the heart of the issue.  It’s the idea that whatever we’re resisting is so big that we don’t feel we can handle the changes necessary to deal with the problem, because our ego won’t allow it.”

Wow! Let that soak in awhile. That’s powerful.

Albeit subtle, resistance speaks to us. Its voice is soft and understated. It summons us to take notice; pay attention. And, it shows up in a variety of ways, such as:

  • Inability to act
  • Initiatives that go no where
  • Anger
  • Frustration
  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Acting out

And, it effects satisfaction, and subsequently, the growth of your small business!
Make Way for the Truth Train

It’s never easy to tell the truth. Perish the thought! It’s even more challenging to admit the truth to oneself. However, a long-lasting resolution to resistance emerges when the underlying cause or causes are brought into the light of day.

Speak your truth! Spill your guts! What’s contributing to your resistance that you’re hiding from yourself? Is it…

  • Lack of confidence in your plan
  • Uncertainty in securing results with the direction chosen
  • Too many projects/initiatives already in motion
  • Not a fit for who you are and what you want to do
  • Insufficient information
  • Fatigue – this is a big one for me. I was born without an “off” switch
  • Fear of failure or looking like a fool
  • Not wanting to add to existing workload
  • Lack of clarity on next steps

Can you think of others?

Carl Gustav Jung said, What you resist not only persists, but will grow in size.” (Click to Tweet) That’s why it critical to identify the underlying cause(s) of resistance to get you in motion.

Develop trust in your inner voice. Listen to your gut. Try something new. Do one small thing. Pioneer a different approach. Introduce success into the equation – no matter how small. Pivot.

Although resistance triggers stress and discomfort, it signals an adjustment is afoot. It points us away from actions that are not a fit and towards those aligned with our values, mission, vision, and/or purpose and toward greater business success…if we’ll only listen.

What are you resisting?

Core Business Assessment


Brooke Billingsley

Vice President
Perception Strategies

Synnovatia is a strategic coaching firm that is detailed and knowledgeable about business. i have a small business that grew from $150K to $750K because of the goal setting and resources that Synnovatia provided. It saves me years of learning on my own.

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