• Julie Ethan

The power of no and know

Updated: Feb 12, 2019

Some of us would be happier as solopreneurs. Others of us have strong instincts toward overseeing a large operation. How do you know which one you are?

Owning a small business does not mean you automatically love to lead or manage. But we can, all of us, learn tools for good leadership and good management. However, these learned skills don’t always mean we’ll be happy to lead, or happy to manage. Some of us are in our sweet spot when we work alone, uninterrupted, as solopreneurs, or with a handful of helpers. Others of us have strong instincts toward overseeing a larger operation. How can you be sure whether to give yourself permission to remain a happy solopreneur, or push yourself to become queen of a much bigger rock?

No and Know

Basically, it’s about understanding no and know—knowing yourself and, well—saying no.

When I was four years old, the neighbors were playing a game in their backyard utilizing a huge rock. If you were the queen of the rock, you wore a plastic tiara and held a wand in your hand. Everyone else in the yard were your subjects, and they stood before you and said, “Oh queen, you are so beautiful. What should I do?”

As queen, you’d make up something for them to do; turn a somersault, run around the yard three times or jump over a rock. It didn’t take me long to decide that the only person having fun at this game was the queen of the rock—at least in my opinion. So, I asked to have a turn being the queen—granted, I was one of the youngest players.

I was ignored. I asked again. Can I please be the queen? I was told—in a little while. I decided I’d had enough of the game. I said, “I’m leaving.” And I walked away, out of the gate and through the front yard and onto the sidewalk headed toward my home. I had no hidden agenda. I was simply headed home, where I would be happier than receiving orders from the queen.

Ten yards down the sidewalk and I heard my name called. I turned and they said, “Come back! You can be queen!” I turned around and went back and I was queen of the rock, and I was very happy.

I learned about no and know that day, and I’ve never forgotten it. I “knew” I was happy being the queen/director of activities. Second, I learned the power of walking away. Waiting to be queen beyond my limit was not nurturing ‘me.’ By walking away, I was being true to myself.

What do you need to walk away from? Maybe you've already done that by leaving the corporate world and starting your own business. But maybe you also need to give yourself permission to say 'no' to growing a business beyond your comfort zone. Celebrate your self-awareness and go forth, be happy.

Unfortunately, knowing that you like to lead and manage a large 'rock' does not necessarily mean you are knowledgeable in how to scale your business to match your dreams. Therefore, know your strengths, and build on them, celebrate them, "it's great to be you!"—but equally important—know your weaknesses, and find others to fill the void. That’s the secret to being a great boss (or queen of the rock).

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