We’ve spent the last two years living in fear. We’ve been afraid of COVID. We’ve been afraid of clients leaving because of COVID. We’ve been afraid to raise our prices even though our employee costs are going through the roof. We’ve been afraid to ask our team members to come back to work or to the office. We’ve been afraid that if we don’t bend to employees’ demands, they’ll leave, and we won’t be able to replace them.
On top of all that, we’ve feared the political unrest. The economy. Our ability to pivot.
That’s a whole lot of fear.
We’ve made so many decisions based on fear – and the worry that accompanies those choices add to the weight. The uncertainty swirling around us creates an environment of constant unease.
If you’re like most business owners and leaders, you came into 2022 feeling exhausted and worn down. Even if 2021 was a successful year for you by all measures, it still felt heavy.
The combination of two years of fear and worry, in my opinion, is the source of that exhaustion. Living in fear and carrying all that extra weight is exhausting. We’ve earned the weariness we are experiencing. As a business leader, it’s almost impossible not to be constantly second-guessing yourself. Constantly looking around to see what everyone else is doing. And constantly looking over your shoulder.
No wonder you’re so worn out.
If I had the opportunity to set a universal resolution for business owners and leaders, it would be that we all would choose to push aside that fear and go back to leading with courage and conviction.
I know it’s easier said than done. I know your fears are based on real risks. I know the challenges we’ve been facing since 2020 aren’t going away soon.
But I also know that you can’t lead from a place of fear and inspire anyone. Especially yourself. I know that you had the courage to start your business or take that leadership role. I know you wouldn’t be running the business you’re running today without having a bagful of courage. And I know that even over the past couple of years, that courage has seeped past the fear now and then to help you find the right path.
Here’s what we know. Uncertainty is part of owning or running a business. It always has been and always will be. Granted, no one ever expected COVID-level uncertainty, and hopefully we’ll never experience it again. But we are in a new season with COVID, with the employment situation and with clients.
Let’s not show up in 2022 the way we’ve had to show up over the past couple of years. We’ve survived that and it’s time to go back to our roots. Leading with courage and conviction.
What does that look like?
It looks like trusting that our instincts are usually right and that what we offer has value and our clients appreciate it and us. It looks like when we focus on how we can better serve our clientele and make their lives simpler and easier, it almost always pays off. It looks like a conviction to create an amazing environment for our team members but also recognizing that we’ve survived turnover in the past and we will in the future.
It looks like knowing that we win more than we lose when we step up with confidence and lead with conviction. Are you in?
This was originally published in the Des Moines Business Record, as one of Drew’s weekly columns.