the (emotional) distance from your own business/ company

Many people who build a project, start a blog, create a product, found a company… in short: who bring their idea into the world and share it with many people, first identify incredibly strongly with their enterprise. They are a unit externally and internally and are seemingly inseparable. We all feel that way. It’s normal.

If the company is doing well, if a sponsor has been acquired, if there were a lot of customers today, if there is a lot of profit at the end of the year, then you feel good. If the company is doing badly, the employees are unmotivated, the order didn’t come in… then you feel bad yourself accordingly. You often link your own success completely with the success of your company.

This is emotionally extremely exhausting and a challenge that entrepreneurs have to master to a much greater extent than managers or employees.

An entrepreneur has founded the project or company himself, the idea for it was born in his mind, it is virtually his baby. He has put an incredible amount of effort and energy into it, has gone through many emotional ups and downs, and is thus in a role that comes with a great deal of responsibility and commitment. Sure… he can sell his shares, provided he finds a buyer, and then he can walk away from it, at least on paper.

This mental unity is therefore very understandable and comprehensible.

And although it’s understandable, it’s just incredibly emotionally exhausting and ends up being self-defeating. It leaves you like a flag in the wind and one’s own happiness is dependent on something that one cannot influence, or can only influence to a certain extent.

For a few years, my life revolved around my company and I forgot about living. Out of fear that something would happen to the company and that I would end up doing badly, I worked all the time and came close to collapsing a few times.

Then I started to look at this problem. There had to be some kind of solution, because there are those well-balanced and satisfied top entrepreneurs who go their way rock solid and calm as a cucumber. How do they do it?

I spun all sorts of thoughts back and forth about how to deal with this.

  • Hire someone? I couldn’t do that for financial reasons
  • The ostrich tactic, perhaps: just go away for 6 months and hope everything is still there when I get back? I’d rather not.
  • Leave the company? No, I didn’t want to do that either.

So what’s the solution?

After many conversations with other entrepreneurs and many books/biographies I read – I had found it all at once. A small mental change with a big effect:

You keep your business at an emotional distance when you don’t tie your own self-worth to the success or failure of your business. In other words. I am not my company. You are not your company. All of us are not our companies.

That sounds simple in essence, but what do I mean by that?

I mean that we as people and as persons are definitely and unreservedly unique and lovable, no matter how our companies are doing.

We brought everything into being, that alone was a great job. And we empower our companies to grow with the energy we can give without violating our own limits. We are not responsible for anything else. When mistakes happen – wherever in the company – we learn from them and that’s good. Mistakes are part of it and have to be made, simply so that we can move up our own learning curve.

And when we have stopped defining ourselves by our project, something else happens: we can let go. And the more we can let go, the better we feel personally, which in turn is very good for the company, because we can then act more and more from our inner center.

I have definitely had this experience. Instead of controlling, I suddenly trusted. I simply trusted that the employees would do the right thing, that the processes would work well, and if not, that the employees would then adapt them themselves or somehow help themselves in some other way and do the right thing in terms of the company and the vision. Of course, that was also an internal process and didn’t happen overnight. But it came quite automatically, almost as a natural consequence.

In addition, I have done a few very specific things, all of which also help me to keep a sufficient emotional distance. I’d like to share that with you as inspiration, too:

  1. I schedule social media posts in advance so I’m not busy every day.
  2. I always take regular breaks from work and also longer vacations where the computer and phone are definitely off. This might be pretty trite advice, because it’s obvious anyway. But I’ll say it here anyway, because it’s so easy to ignore. As an entrepreneur, you are the source of your employees, new ideas, etc. That is one of your most important tasks… And this source must always bubble powerfully and freshly! Nothing is more paralyzing for the company than a burnt out entrepreneur who gets caught up in the day-to-day business and then lacks vision.
  3. Whenever problems arise and I feel the impulse to run right out and fix things, I try to be aware of that and tell myself: You are not your company! Everything is fine!
  4. I also always have a few small personal projects I’m working on. And depending on that, I can just increase the focus on those issues for more balance. Of course, I do that during working hours, because I don’t want to work more or longer, but spend the time I’m working on the topics that give me energy.
  5. I would like to start a second or third company, and then I’ll move that forward, too, not to work more, but to focus not just on the one company, but on being a good entrepreneur. Then I work on myself and how I can overcome my mental hurdles and limitations.
  6. If you don’t have a name for your business yet, think about choosing one that describes your service, project, campaign or product. This has the advantage anyway that you can tell what it’s about just by looking at the name.
    For example: if you dear Anna want to open a parent café, you can call it “Playtime” or “Latte Mammas” or or… instead of “Anna’s Café”. Then your business is not linked to you personally to the outside. With a “neutral” name you can then also withdraw more easily. If you want to sell your company, this is of course also an advantage for the successor.

As a conclusion I want to tell you (and me) these important things:

We are good and enough as a human being, we are great and valuable to this world, no matter how successful our business or our project is and no matter what people or anyone else thinks and says about our business, our blog or our product… we are not our businesses!

Let go and trust. By doing so, you gain a good bit of emotional freedom. Your business will benefit from this as well.

On that note, I wish you always have the strength to be the source for everything that surrounds you in your business.

If you have further ideas or experiences on how to create emotional distance for yourself, I would be happy if you wrote to me. For me, this remains a thing I must and will always stay on, so I’m always grateful for other tips or perspectives.