Skip to main content

Take a moment to rethink your thinking

share arrow printer bookmark flag

April 21, 2023

Though escaping Wisconsin winters for a warm destination is how I like to relax and recharge, it’s also when I take time to reflect on my business.

While soaking in the sunshine, I read “Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know” by Adam Grant, and his words struck a chord.

As an entrepreneur and consultant to business owners, rethinking (forming our own second opinions) is my life – or is it? 
Entrepreneurs are often highly driven people, and we tend to view changing our minds and how we do things as signs of indecision or incompetence.

Yet, as Grant shares in his book, scientific thinking favors humility, doubt, curiosity and discovery – not pride and conviction.
With humility, we remain grounded and realize we are flawed and fallible. 

He goes on to say confidence is a measure of how much you believe in yourself.

You can be confident in your ability to achieve a goal in the future while maintaining the humility to question whether you have the right tools in the present. 

So, why do we hesitate at the very idea of rethinking?

Questioning ourselves makes the world unpredictable.

Reconsidering deeply held beliefs can sometimes threaten our identities, making us feel like we’re losing a part of ourselves. 

When consulting business owners on the importance of building value in their companies to eventually exit, I hear multiple points of resistance to beginning the planning process, including:
I’m not ready to exit, I’ll reach out when I’m ready to sell.What if my customers, employees or competitors find out?I’m relatively young and healthy – there’s no need to think about my exit right now. I’ve been doing this for “X” years and don’t know what else I would do. 
What if, as a business owner, you rethink your views on what “exit planning” means? 

Let’s take another look at those points of resistance:
Instead of seeing exit planning as the last step of your journey, look at it as the first of many steps toward growing value in your business and setting yourself up to have options to exit on your terms in the future.Instead of resisting the planning process because you fear loss of confidentiality, focus on strategically building a culture of value growth where your employees and managers act like owners – where being prepared for exit is simply the “norm.”Instead of ignoring the fact that 50% of owner exits are unplanned, focus on maximizing and protecting the value of your business to provide for your family, employees and retirement.Instead of seeing retirement as the loss of your identity, view it as a new chapter to evolve and build a new purpose. 
While on my trip, I chatted with other vacationers – many of whom were retired.

I heard about their past careers, what they’re doing in retirement and the many vacations they have taken.

However, I didn’t hear any talk about their new purpose in life – and this bothered me. 

As I reflected on the idea of retirement and what will make the transition to my own next chapter successful, I realized many things, including:
I’m not ready to retire in the traditional way – i.e., travel, golf, move to Florida.I need to have a purpose to get up every day.I need to engage regularly in conversations that challenge my thinking and engage my brain in problem-solving and helping others.I need to experience life.Most importantly, I need to know I lived a life of meaning. 
Ironically, as I waited to board my flight home, I received this email from a stranger. (excerpt)

“Hello, Jayne – as busy as life gets, it is important to stop and share appreciation when other people’s words or actions touch us in meaningful ways. I just found your article from The Business News – June 2022 titled ‘Align your business with your Life Purpose.’ I cut it out and put it into a folder because I felt so strongly aligned with your words. My purpose for reaching out is merely to express my gratitude for the words you shared. I found them to be informational the first time I read them, and today I also recognize they are quite inspirational. It was perfect timing to feel the motivational force of your words in my life. Thank you.”

We seldom realize the impact we have on others.

It can be our words, actions, leadership or the opportunities we can help create.

Whether it’s examining your views on exit planning or looking at how you interact with others – I challenge you to “think again.”

Jayne McQuillan is president/owner at Journey Consulting, LLC.

share arrow printer bookmark flag

Trending View All Trending