Earlier this week I was talking with a long-time friend about some changes we had each made in our lives, both personally and professionally. During the conversation I noted that I was giving up some of my survival skills. You know, the ones that have been in place forever and that can operate on auto-pilot, whether you need them or not.
You might wonder what I mean by “survival skills.” I am referring to a way of being that has served us in the past. One example for me would be perfectionism. I am sure you have several, too.
Why do we hang onto these? One reason is our ego. We do not want anything to interfere with how we perceive ourselves, or how we think others perceive us. We want to protect our ego. Problem is that while these “skills” worked for us in the past, we don’t consider whether they still serve us today. And, in many cases, they do not.
As entrepreneurs, we don’t generally have the freedom to have someone else give us feedback. When you have someone helping you, whether that is a mentor, coach, supervisor, you can get a different perspective, a view to see how you are functioning – or not. What happens as entrepreneurs is that we can get caught up in the ego-driven world and can get stuck. And if we do not take the time to look at those “survival skills,” we can stay stuck and our businesses do not grow.
We all need that mirror that lets us to see what survival skills we need to give up. That mirror can be hard to find, so try to spend time reflecting on what could be holding you back. Take time to journal. If you have a good friend or mentor, ask her with an open mind on what her feedback will be.
Lastly ask yourself, “What is the payoff?” If I am having a hard time letting something go, I need to figure out what is good about hanging onto it. This really lets me have clarity about the issue.
When I started reflecting on some of my survival skills that I am letting go and the resistance I had around a few, I was reminded of the quote from author Anais Nin, “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”
My question to you is, What “survival skills” are you holding onto?