As a maker and solo business owner, it is easy to feel that I am a victim of the stresses and strains that affect my business. Whether that is the economic downturn or customers not appreciating the differences between something which is locally handmade and something which is imported from a factory overseas!

I asked Tony Brooks from the Leadership Training Workshop to look into this issue and suggest ways that creative makers could feel more in control of their businesses (and lives). 

Here is what he said:

“When facing challenges in business and life it is easy to lapse into the trap of becoming a victim of circumstances. We can end up blaming, justifying, rationalising or complaining to find a way to deal with the situation we find ourselves in. Only through taking responsibility for our situation and ourselves will we move from feeling ‘out of control’.

Our level of success really is the result of our ability to choose and then take action. 

There are a number of schools of thought in Psychology that will lead us to believe that our behaviour is strongly determined by factors that seem to be out of our control – our genes, our upbringing, other people and the situation we find ourselves in.

However our power to choose is our greatest strength and gives us the opportunity to direct our lives. We are not simply stimulus/response beings, we have some freedom to choose our response in the space that lies between when something happens and when we react.*

The size of the space is influenced by our genes, our upbringing, other people and the situation we find ourselves in, but the size of that space can be increased by building the power we have to choose our response to any situation and then acting based on this.

Actions not only take us closer to where we want to be, but also make us feel stronger about ourselves. Taking responsibility for what is going on around us is very much key to this.

Which side of the CAUSE => EFFECT equation do you believe you are on in the key areas of your business and life?

  • If you find yourself often complaining about certain areas, you are on the EFFECT side of the equation.
  • If you are seeking to blame other people and circumstances for what is happening you are on the EFFECT side of the equation.
  • If you are seeking to justify or rationalise a situation you find yourself in by making excuses, you are again on the EFFECT side of the equation.

Only by making every attempt to take responsibility and act based on this, will you truly find yourself on the CAUSE side of this equation. You will build the space between the normal responses to those triggers and develop your power to choose.

Think about an area of your life or business where you are currently on the EFFECT side of the equation. What actions can you take from now to move yourself to the CAUSE side of the equation in these 3 areas?

Keep employing this tactic, because the degree to which you accept ultimate responsibility for what is currently going on in your life or business strongly influences your ultimate success!”

* Steve Covey – The 8th Habit