Is Your Default Business-Building Mode Isolation?


In a crisis or quandary, my default mode is isolation. No matter the problem, I’ll opt to try to solve it myself before involving others. I would rather brood than ask for help.

I will think and think about possible solutions until I’ve come up with a solid plan. Then, and only then, will I tell someone else what the issue is and how I’m going to fix it.

I trick myself into thinking that this “strategy” is about being well-prepared, as opposed to a coping mechanism for being scared, confused, or worried.

Luckily, I’ve learned this is not a helpful strategy. And, I’ve figured out that it’s not about being well-prepared; it’s about not being courageous enough to ask for help.

I’ve also recognized that this coping mechanism often bleeds over into decisions about opportunities, too. In default mode, I spot an opportunity and ponder it until I’m ready to act on it.

Either way, I miss out.

As much as I’d like to think otherwise, I do not always have the right ideas. I do not always have the most experience. And I do not always see all the possibilities in front of me.

In default mode—isolated from those who could really help—I’m blind to everything but my own narrow perspective.

And I’m really good. But I’m not that good.

If your response to a problem, opportunity, or idea is to go to your thinking spot and think until you have a plan before you loop anyone else in on what’s going on, your default mode is isolation too. And, just like me, you’re prone to missing out on great ideas, even better opportunities, and innovative solutions.

Isolation is a fast track to failure.

Of course, your default mode is not the only operating mode you have. You can choose to do things differently, to seek out help when you need it most and often when you don’t.

Change your operating mode to “community & collaboration.”

Your business community—the people who support you, cheer you on, challenge your conventional thinking—allows you to see your blind spots. Seeing your blind spots is the first step to avoiding a collision.

Your community also helps you detour around traffic. They can show you the most congested parts of path to your intended destination and give you a new route. You get there faster and with less anxiety.

And best of all, your business community can help you see how to connect all the dots to where you want to get. Running a business is like renting a car in a town you’ve never been to. You know where you’re at (hopefully!) and you know where you want to go, but you have no idea to navigate there. Others have been there, they’re accustomed to the roads in the area. Your community is your personal GPS device.

Over the last few years, I’ve made a real commitment to not living or working in isolation and engaging a business community to support me. I’ve made small changes like always looping in my partner on questions I have about my business. And I’ve made much bigger changes like opening my team to people who aren’t looking for direction so much as they’re looking to make a contribution.

Whether you’re looking to hire or whether you just need a fresh perspective, you need to be proactive in involving others in your business.

That could mean posting on a Facebook group that’s full of people you respect and trust.

It could mean joining a business association where everyone is working for the success of other members (btw, you can get a free 30-day trial of ours).

It could mean joining a group business coaching program like Quiet Power Strategy™, making a biweekly Skype date with a colleague, forming an accountability group, or having a weekly local business owner meet up.

Next time you feel yourself going into isolation mode, change the setting.

Look for help. Ask for an opinion. Bounce an idea.

Situate yourself in a community and take advantage of it.

Your thinking spot will still be there when you get back.


Being Independent Shouldn’t Mean Being Alone

If I had to choose the key factor that all successful microbusiness owners have in common, it would be that they chose not to be alone in their businesses.

When I started my business, I desperately wanted to be alone. Even while attempting to create a community, build an audience, and exercise my voice, I wanted to keep to myself.

Invitations to coffee left me nauseous. Phone calls went unanswered.

Luckily, on top of wanting desperately to be left alone, I was also just plain desperate. I had no choice. Even then, I could sense that succeeding would mean meeting with, learning from, and collaborating with other people. And so early on, I learned that even as I was still “solo” in my business solo entrepreneurship was a myth.

Too often I see the struggle for independence turn into suffering through loneliness.

Your friends outside the entrepreneurial world don’t understand what you do. Your partner gets tired of hearing about Twitter. Your parents just wish you’d get a real job.

Couple that with fear of failure, the impostor complex, and not knowing where to find your compatriots online, let alone in your local community, and you’ve got the formula for going-it-alone syndrome.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. Being independent shouldn’t mean being alone. Click to tweet!

This is one of the messages I’ve been focusing on over the last few years. Whether it’s been my own personal investment in travel & industry events or my desire to put together groups of like-minded entrepreneurs in coaching experiences like 10ThousandFeet, I have sought to bring people together–with each other and with me–to dramatically increase their chances of success.

As a connector & a futurist, I put an extremely high value in creating communities of value so that we can learn from our disparate experiences and put them to good use building the world we want to live in.

I believe we should be actively cultivating relationships that bring us closer to the success we crave. And I believe we could all put more time & intention behind that action.

The next week will see me take two big steps even farther in that direction. I’m rebooting Kick Start Labs, the entrepreneurial community & resource library I founded over a year ago. By the end of the month, I’ll have opened a coworking & workshop space in Astoria, Oregon for the purpose of bringing together the independent workers & thinkers of Northwest Oregon.

I look forward to telling you more about CoCommercial soon. But in the meantime, I hope you’ll consider joining me and over 100 charter Kick Start Labs members to do just that. Not only will you get access to me and this community of just-like-you business owners, but you’ll have access to all the resources I’ve created over the last 3 years plus access to new ones as they are created.

And it’s just $39/month.

Now accepting new members: join today.