Some people think of me as a coach, or a speaker, or an author. There are three persons who think of me as a mom. I have come to realize that while, yes, I am all those things, I am really in the sustainability business. And I wouldn't have it any other way.
In 1960, Theodore Levitt of the Harvard Business School, introduced the question, "What business are you really in?" He offered an example that had railroad executives seen themselves as being in the transportation business rather than the railroad business, they would have continued to grow. He also introduced the concept that businesses thrive when they meet the customer's needs, instead of focusing on selling a product.
This point is driven home to me on nearly a weekly basis, as I attend many networking events. Inevitably I will meet a person who thrusts their business card into my hand and proceeds to tell me why their product or service is so wonderful -- before I have had a chance to let them know anything about me or my needs. I know that my eyes glaze over, and while I do my best to remain polite, I have mentally checked out of the conversation.
I had a similar conversation with myself the other day during a meditation. I was asking the question, "What can I do to improve my business?" I was wracking my brain to come up with new ideas, new strategies -- anything that I could do that I hadn't tried before. When I finally got quiet for a moment, that wise voice inside of me said, "Can you hear yourself? You are focusing first on the 'doing,' not the 'being.' Change your question."
Duh. All I needed to really "do" was to look at my tag line: It's all about the BE.
By changing my internal self-talk, I was able to shift my perspective. Instead of "What can I do?" my mantra became "How can I be of service?" And this has led to aligning myself with those activities that support my values, talents and passions. It has reignited my business and put me back on the beam, gratefully attracting new connections and new opportunities.
I've started introducing myself as a "Reformed Superwoman: someone who lived the Superwoman role and found it to be an unsustainable model." I ALWAYS get knowing smiles and nods from women who either have been there/done that, or are in the throes of it now. And this is how I can be of service: I can help them to create and live a powerful, joyful, sustainable life. I've done it, and feel it is an honor to be able to help another to do the same.
Don't limit yourself by someone else's label, or drive yourself crazy trying to figure out what you need to do. Discover who you are and what you truly do by learning to first be yourself. I think that you'll find that in business, just like life, the answers lie within.