this article first appeared on Entrepreneur.com
“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or we can rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.” That is a powerful statement from Abraham Lincoln that illustrates both the power and the problem with perspective.
We all have unique ways of looking at things in life and in business, and each provides a stream of experience in which we operate. But how can you optimize your perspective to reimagine what’s possible and to ultimately harness it for entrepreneurial success?
Here are four ways you can rewire your perspective to better approach situations and make what sometimes seems insurmountable much more tolerable and attainable.
Think of the last time you were driving in a large city. As you drove along the road, you focused on the immediate environment. You saw the signs ahead of you, the lights overhead and the lines on the road. You heard the cars beside you, the people talking outside your window and the vibrant buzz of the city.
Even though you were in the middle of a sprawling urban environment — with thousands of people from varying backgrounds living and working in hundreds of building sprouting from the web of streets and alleys — you were ultimately only concerned with the road you were on at that moment. Your focus was contained to the immediate environment as if you were driving down any other road in a small town.
The same perspective should be used when thinking of your position in the market or your position in the maturity of your business. Don’t be overwhelmed with the enormity of the industry or the size and maturity of your competitors. Understand that you can’t get caught up in the burden of scale. Maintain your perspective, and keep driving toward your stated goal.
Too often entrepreneurs produce content for the masses without taking into consideration the personal side of the transaction. While there is nothing wrong with the goal of reaching thousands of people, you have to make sure you do certain things to form a more lasting relationship with those who might come across your content.
In particular, you should always craft content that speaks to that single person sitting on the other side of the screen. Think to yourself how they might interact with your website. What information are they seeking by reading through your content? Address their needs and wants instead of simply publishing content for content’s sake. Speak directly to them by using the word “you” instead of “we” or other generalities.
In addition, remember the person consuming your content is a human being just like you. They have worries and responsibilities. They have families and jobs, as well as desires and dreams. Treat those who you are fortunate enough to interact with online as individuals, each providing value in their own unique way.
Artists and architects lean heavily on perspective to make objects fit together properly to create masterpieces of art and function. Without the orderly alignment of objects, chaos would ensue.
Your approach to business operations is no different. Even if you don’t fully understand the intricacies all of the moving parts of your business, you still need to have a general grasp of the concepts and components making it all happen.
Also, with the number of plates spinning in the air, you need to understand priority and embrace delegation. Far too many entrepreneurs fall into the trap of losing track of all of their tasks and refusing to delegate to others. Use perspective to understand how your business operates and how you might improve efficiencies by distributing work.
You are a hard-charging entrepreneur with dreams of exceeding even your wildest expectations. Fame, fortune and notoriety may be your end goal, but perspective demands you look elsewhere for true fulfillment. As you spend the long arduous hours in front of the keyboard, don’t forget the unsung heroes in your life providing you support along the way.
Your family should remain your top priority. Some of the most successful entrepreneurs find the most satisfaction in the fact that they are a successful parent first. Don’t get so caught up in the hustle that you forget what truly matters. Take a break, and help your kids with their homework. Leave work to attend their school play. Even better, engage with them, and share your journey. Then sit back and soak in the unfiltered feedback you’re sure to receive.
Following these methods will allow you to move forward in your business with a mindset adjusted and refined for the uncertain, and often frustrating, aspects of entrepreneurship. Any strategic advantage you can gain now should be welcomed with open arms and adopted as soon as possible — at least from my perspective.