Diary of a Franchisee — The Mistakes: Lack of Self-Acceptance and Commitment (Entry #3)

You’ve heard it before: “Mistakes are learning opportunities.” Yes, they are.  But that doesn’t make them less painful or embarrassing– especially when you believe that you’re not allowed to make any.

Assuming that I shouldn’t make any mistakes has been the first misstep in my journey as a franchisee!  This assumption creates an unreasonably high expectation getting in my way of progress and growth, and, since mistakes are inevitable, also creating some miserable moments.

Learning to embrace my follies and developing self-acceptance are part of my ongoing personal work. They require me to be aware, to connect to how I’m feeling, and to notice what’s happening in my body: where I’m tense, how fast are my heart and my mind are going. They require me to change my perspective, to ask different questions, to become curious. Most importantly, they require me to choose differently; to choose self-love instead of self-criticism – and this is a hard one for me since I have been a master of the latter. The result of these efforts is peace, and from this peace, opportunities arise to be grateful for this moment and all the gifts it brings. I know, it may sound ‘woo woo’ to some of you, but, for me, it works! Not instantly, not magically, but it is the first step, and without it, I remain in darkness.

In the next several posts I will explore some of the many other mistakes I’ve made this year and how I am learning to recognize, reframe, and correct them. I’ll share with you how these boo-boos have been my teachers, and the lessons they’ve taught me. Let me start with lack of commitment.

  • Not being fully committed

Just because I made the plunge and bought the franchise didn’t mean that I was committed to the business. I’ve known this is one of the biggest mistakes franchisees make, and yet, there I was making it myself. How could I not be fully committed? I had risked my savings and all I’d worked for, so I must have been committed to the business and what was required for its success. Right? Well, I thought I was, and accepting that I wasn’t turned out to be quite tricky – but it was also necessary if I was to have any real chance of creating success.

Part of my narrative has always been that I was not a good salesperson. In fact, I had repeated “I hate sales” and “I would never do sales” so many times that these statements had become my mantras. I knew that the success of this franchise, like the success of any other franchise, requires sales activities. Subconsciously and consciously, I had decided to find a way of creating success that wouldn’t require me to change my narrative or commit to whatever it takes to succeed. So, I hired a marketing manager to perform the direct sales activities I’ve always feared and disliked. I convinced myself that I didn’t have to change. I convinced myself that I could avoid being too uncomfortable. I claimed I was going to invent and prove the success of a “semi-absentee” model for this franchise opportunity. Brilliant, right? Well, not really!

You don’t start something totally new without having to change a LOT; and change is always uncomfortable. There is no way to avoid the change or the feeling it engenders!

I’ve spent a lot of money, effort, and time trying to find a way not to do the work I need to do to grow this franchise. I built a compelling narrative, but it was still a story, and stories are fictional. It is just a matter of time before they reveal themselves as such.

In retrospect, I now know that I needed this story to be able to take the plunge. I most likely wouldn’t have bought the franchise if I had not manufactured this perfectly sensible tale. After all, it would allow me to remain being a consultant, continue earning money as such, and thus lower my risk. All I’d have to do for the franchise would be to guide the manager on what needed to be done to grow the business. I could expect and demand of him or her the tasks and results I was avoiding and unable or unwilling to do myself. It also gave me someone to blame if the work didn’t get done or didn’t produce the results I expected as fast as I wanted them. Pretty clever! Yes, our minds are pretty clever indeed.

Being fully committed meant that I had to muster the courage to quit my consulting assignments; and, at least for the time being, focus 100% of my energies on the franchise. I had to stop hiding behind the marketing manager. I had to network. I had to call on prospective customers. I had to hone my presentation skills. I had to become a shameless promoter of my business.

There is a lot of work I’ve had to do to accomplish this transformation (which is still very much in progress). Mostly this work has been internal, and it started with reaffirming the reasons why I chose to get into this business –my whys; but, I’ve also had to learn new skills.

I still have a ton of work to do to get better. I’m a novice at this. The new skills require constant hard work. I make mistakes every day and realize all that I still need to learn to become competent in this new role. I feel uncomfortable most of the time. I feel like a fish out of water during networking events. However, slowly, I’m getting better. I’m not having to think too long before asking for the right person to talk with during a cold call. I’m grabbing the phone more often and calling on prospects without hesitation. I also have come to realize that the more I go to networking events, the more people I know, and the easier it is to connect with others. I’m starting to recognize that I may be amphibious, and thus able to thrive in land as well as I do in water. My most often used tool is asking: “what’s the worst that can happen?” And, I realize the worst that can happen is that they say “no,” which it really isn’t the end of the world. Eventually someone says yes, and that is the key to success.  

There are other tangible results besides my feeling more confident and less fearful. People are starting to know who I am and what I do. I am building brand awareness which always results in future business. I’ve honed my message, and thus prospects seem to be more receptive. I know that over time this will result in more clients, more business, and my success. I am still in the “grind” stage, and I’ve accepted that I will be here for a while before the wins come; but come they will.

Are you committed to doing whatever is required to achieve the success you want? I now can say that I am. It is not easy, being committed does not make it so; being committed just points your efforts in the right direction.

Comments

  1. John Farrall says:

    Very well said! It is hard to make a small business successful if you have not “lived it” for some time with your “boots on the ground” doing the work. Getting used to rejection is also critical. No one started a successful business without facing this demon. Thank you for sharing your experience!

  2. Wow! You are on the right track.
    Life’s lessons are our greatest teacher only if we are aware enough to understand it. There is no such thing as what we call a mistake.
    Everything that happens in our lives we attract based on what we think, how we feel and what we believe ( it’s very important to watch the unobserved mind).

    Those of us who dare to step outside our comfort zone to live life at its fullest understand it is not the destination that is the true value, but the journey. That is where we find the peace, joy, love and the abundance within to manifest the life we want and to make this planet a better place.
    Thank you for being you.
    Luv ya. E

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