Give Yourself Permission to Run the Business of Your Dreams with Sarah-Jane Adams

When we start our own businesses, there are lots of “shoulds”.

But how do we navigate the shoulds from what actually brings us joy?

I recently spoke with my friend, Sarah-Jane Adams on The Social Brain Podcast about how to give yourself permission to run the business of your dreams.

Prefer to listen to the audio version of our conversation? Listen to episode 30 on The Social Brain podcast

As business owners, we’re often faced with lots of pieces of advice from lots of well-meaning people. But how do you give yourself permission to run your business on your own terms?

We start by looking at what brings us the most joy in business. When we build our business from a place of joy we’re more likely to achieve long term success.

How do we know what brings us the most joy in business?

From a young age, we’re often bombarded with beliefs that aren’t helpful for us. We’re led to believe that we shouldn’t get joy from work. We shouldn’t be happy. Life’s a slog. 

But we call BS on that.

Before you do anything, stop telling yourself those harmful beliefs and choose to believe you can find joy in the work you do.

When SJ starts working with clients, she spends time focusing on the individual. She explains: “We work out who they are, what their values are. We pull apart things in their past roles, we look at the different hats they’ve worn and what brought them the most happiness. We also look at what they really didn't like, what they excelled in and what felt completely out of their comfort zone.

We look at that in tandem with their life: what's happened, where they are on their journey. We look at what’s important to them and how we can bring those things together to create a foundation from which to build a business.”

SJ believes we all have a purpose and whether we are aware of that or not, we are subconsciously or consciously driven by that purpose when we set up a business. We then have to look at how best we can incorporate everything we are into the way we run our businesses. 

The questions you need to be asking yourself on a regular basis

Creating self awareness and carving out time to check in with yourself regularly stops you from feeling overwhelmed, burnt out and feeling resentful of your business. 

It might sound basic but take the time to regularly ask yourself: “Am I happy? Am I enjoying what I’m doing?”. Success looks different for everyone so it’s important not to fall into the trap of comparing your business to other people’s.

Whilst some people may value money highly and see it as a reflection of how successful they are, others may value the amount of time freedom they have. It’s important to understand what success means to you so that you have something to aim for. 

This is especially important when it comes to you staying on track with your goals. Instead of comparing yourself to others on social media or suddenly thinking “Oh that person has a membership, I need a membership!”, you can instead stay focused on what you want to achieve.

How do I start working on my mindset to ensure I give myself permission to do things my way?

Let’s imagine you’re relatively new in business. You don’t have any boundaries in place, your prices are on the low side, you’re following all the shoulds: how would you break out of that mindset and shift into one that gives you the permission to run your business your way?

SJ answers: “The first thing is giving yourself permission to stop and think about it and not just be in the do. And that is why there is a huge benefit and value in having someone objective come in and look at the business and understand where you are and, and pull that apart. Because when you're in it, you can't step far enough back to see it objectively or see it with fresh eyes.

We wouldn't go out on a journey without knowing what our destination was. And it's the same in business. A business plan in whatever iteration it shows up for you. Whether it’s a physical business plan or just some scribbles down on a paper, it’s actually thinking where do I want to get to?

What's my dream? What's my end goal here? And then it’s about plotting back from that. I know that's sometimes hard when we're busy and we feel like we haven't got that time, but we need to give ourselves the time to pause and think about this stuff.”

Remember: you are allowed to change stuff. 

Don’t let their limitations stop you

Whatever your goals are, you need to give yourself permission to have that dream, to have that goal and not allow yourself to be affected by those around you. Don’t let anyone else project their  limitations onto you. 

Having business friends around you who can cheer you on, support you and celebrate the goals you’re striving for is awesome. 

But no matter how good your friends are at lifting you up and encouraging you to go after what you want, you still need to support yourself and believe in your dreams.

It’s ok if things stop working for a little while: these are challenging times

At our networking group, Real Business, Real Life, we’ve had many conversations about how tough it can be to be in business right now. But how do you cope with the challenging times when throwing in the towel feels like the easiest option?

The first thing is just to remind yourself of what you've done and what you can do.

SJ shares: “The easiest way is to look back. So you might not have any clients at the moment. There's no lack of graft there, no lack of skill, but you've got no clients. So look back at the people that you've worked with previously. Look at the feedback, look at the impact that you had on them, and that very quickly will remind you what you bring to the table. 

You may think to yourself, at the moment I'm here, but actually that doesn't mean that that is who I am now. It's just the landscape in which I'm just trying to fly through by some miracle.”

How to make the most of slow times in your business

If you are experiencing slower moments in business, use this time to celebrate yourself for how far you’ve come. Reflect on your achievements. 

It's also a beautiful time to invest in yourself and spend some time working on your business. Think about what you want to tweak, is there business admin that needs catching up on, are there any untapped opportunities?

You might touch base with somebody that you could potentially collaborate with. Time is so precious and it's so limited that when we do have times where we’ve got more hours freed up in our business, we can use that time to work on the business and make it even better. 

When you’re working for somebody, you think nothing of having a couple of weeks where you’re not as productive as you normally would be because you know you can’t run at full speed all of the time. Whereas when you work for yourself, you immediately adopt this idea that you need to be go, go, go all of the time.

Embrace the slow times and know that things will pick up again.

Sarah-Jane Adams is a proud mum and owner of 3 businesses. SJ is a Business Consultant and  Co-Owner of Laundry & Latte in Brentwood. Alongside Frances, she also runs Real Business, Real Life, a networking community for parents in business.

Follow Sarah-Jane on Instagram, follow our Real Business, Real Life Instagram account here and grab a copy of her book on Amazon.


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