Are You a Shoemaker?
You know the story of the shoemaker's children, right? They didn't have any shoes because the shoemaker was too busy making shoes for all his customers. So often I hear my clients, as well as myself and fellow business owners, talk about how they feel like the shoemaker.
When you look at all we have to do to run a business and to take care of things on the home front, it's no wonder there isn't time left to make our own shoes. When I worked for companies throughout my career, I was always working, working, working so that I could help families in the commmunity and could help my staff enjoy their families. Since budgets were often limited, I was doing the job of many and had too many balls for one person to juggle. Being a super woman, I wore my badge with honor and kept moving forward without ever noticing that I barely spent time with my own family. When I started my own business, I chose to run things differently. I see the value of hiring people to do things I shouldn't be spending time on because it allows me to work less hours and spend time with my family. Despite that, this shoemaker's child/business still has no shoes.
So, what do I mean by that? I mean that I teach businesses how to focus on the relationships in their business, but I have had so much to do that I haven't been able to practice what I preach. I help peoplecreate a plan for their business in just 3 days but I haven't taken the 3 days needed to update my plan for the year. Why is that? Well, because there are only so many hours in the day. I prioritize and the first place I spend my time and energy is on serving the clients who have invested in my services. I then spend time getting to know potential new clients and make my shoes only when all that is done. This is universally the same story I hear from my clients and others. Each story is filled with guilt because the person feels disingenuous with what they teach and they aren't being a good role model for their clients.
Take a minute to think about your favorite massage therapist. Can that person give him/her self a massage? Of course not. So why do we expect ourselves to be able to do everything, including that thing we do to help others? The fact of the matter is that the shoemaker's kids could have had shoes if he was willing to ask another shoemaker to help him. Creating that 3-day plan may not be the best use of my time and resources, especially if I can have another expert do it for me. Likewise, focusing on relationships would be much easier if I had my assistant help me instead of trying to do it all myself.
I wish I would've known what I do now all those years I was working for other companies. How nice it would have been to take a step back and look for the ways I could empower others to take some of the balls I was juggling so that I could spend more time with my family. I'm so blessed, though, that I realize it now and that I've been able to change the way I run my business and interact with my family. It's also nice to be able to use my pain to help others live a more balanced and fulfilled life.
I was recently the speaker at my WOAMTEC meeting, Throughout the presentation I shared a lot of the trials and tribulations I've had running a business. I was approached after and given some very heartfelt, genuine compliments. One person shared how they appreciated my always being vulnerable enough to talk about my weaknesses. They said it helps them see that everyone is human and that although it may look easy from the outside, there are often struggles on the inside. Interestingly enough, I learned that lesson almost two years ago when I was doing a presentation at my WESOS meeting. Everything that could go wrong in the hours prior did, and one of the ladies (Evie Burke) suggested I embrace imperfect action. She shared that people appreciate it when we show them we aren't perfect. That advice was career changing......especially since I was a HUGE perfectionist at the time....and two years later, it's now just naturally who I am to let people see that I'm far from perfect.
I'm glad I'm no longer wearing the super woman badge or the badge of perfection anymore as both were too heavy to continue to wear. I'm also glad that I'm making changes that help me feel like a good role model for my clients and like I'm living in alignment with what I teach. I encourage others to do the same because the longer we go on living the life of the shoemaker, the more likely it is that we will lose credibility and the faith of our clients.
Do you feel like a shoemaker? If so, share in the comments below and tell us what you are going to do to shift your perspective and to embrace your limitations so that you can start being that role model you know others look for you to be and live in alignment with what you teach.
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