Are you really a business owner or still trying to be someone else?

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Copyright Chesney Bradshaw 2016
Copyright Chesney Bradshaw 2016

I came across a business owner the other day, someone who now owns a franchise in a large national chain, but on his LinkedIn profile, he said he was still open to corporate opportunities. It makes one think about small business ownership and whether it can satisfy people who have been in the corporate world and enjoyed it. Sometimes it’s not by choice or design that people buy a franchise that because circumstances in their career in a large company have changed.

You get all sorts of motivations for owning a small business. One person might have been hankering for years to leave a large company and make it in a small business where they are independent and can make their own decisions. Another person I knew bought a food franchise and got a manager to run it while he continued with his career in a national chain. The small business benefits his family, providing a safe haven where his young sons could work.

But it must be difficult for the person who has bought a small business hoping that it will satisfy his or her deeper needs only to discover that it doesn’t. One of the reasons is that people are not always aware of their “working identity”. They may be stuck in a particular working identity and can’t see themselves in their new role. This is why it’s important to let go in a transformational sense so that you can begin a fresh with a new path. Where there is resistance, there is also frustration and misery.

Over the period of the working career, we often go through many working identities. Think about it. Where you started out years ago working at a particular job or in a certain role was what you thought you were at the time. Today how different is the role that you have? I know of one person who was a successful TV producer but today is happily owning and running a French style bakery after gaining experience in France for five years.

Circumstances change and so do working identities. Like the “evolved enterprise” we also evolve over time. It’s good to take a long, deep and hard look at where you’ve come from and what you want truly in your working life to satisfy and excite you on the next leg of your journey in this miracle that we call life.

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