13 July 2015

I am Professional Because I am Personal

Just like all small business owners, I want to improve everything about my business. I want to find new ways of connecting with audiences, use better tools to work more efficiently, and manage my cash flow with expertise. So I hunt for the perfect solution that will result in amazing client satisfaction, increased income, and more time to invest in my personal growth. I work most evenings and spend my weekends and holidays with business on my mind.

However… When it comes to my personal development, I fear change. Something close to guilt creeps in. Taking that day to relax creates moments of introspection. Should I be taking this time? I know it’ll make me more productive tomorrow, but…

My walks in the forest make me think more clearly. They help me consider new, creative solutions to the problems I’m tackling, but that feeling shows up again. Why would I find it difficult to enjoy the life that I have worked so hard to have? Meditation, focus on clear communication, a laid back attitude, better relationships with those I love – these things would surely allow me to live a happier life and could only affect my business positively. Right?

Perspectives change.

I recently read Fredrik Eklund’s book, “The Sell”. For those of you who haven’t read it, Fredrik is a Swede that moved to New York and became the number one real estate broker. The book was pretty good, but there was a specific passage that stuck with me. He talks about the brokerage he was working for wanted all of their brokers to have a professional Facebook page in addition to their personal ones. That way, their clients would connect to the professional page and leave their personal one alone. I’m pretty confident that this isn’t a unique situation in the corporate world. Fredrik had a take on it was very different. He refused to create a separate profile with the words:

“I am a professional because I am personal.”

It makes so much sense. I am a professional because I am personal. It doesn’t matter if you’re a global company with thousands of employees, or a one-man company like me, it simply makes sense. People hire me. They want my skills. I know I am not the best UX designer in the world, but I am the only one with my background, skills, and experience. My way of working with my clients, my communication methods, and my personality define me.

This is what makes me… me.

Sometimes it can be hard to find the balance between your professional and personal life. The managers at Fredrik’s last workplace couldn’t understand that the two actually can help each other. Whatever makes you feel better in your personal life – Do it. It will surely bring about positive change to your work life as well. Find a way to take that day off that you desperately need. If you need to change your working environment for a few hours, make it happen. Even if you think staying at home every day will bring positive change, then seriously consider changing your career.

…and I am content

I am writing this on a plane to Stockholm. I am meeting with a potential client in the banking industry that I would love to work with. They do amazing stuff by operating primarily with individuals who trade stock (think: Robinhood.com), so it’s an area that’s close to my heart. Often when I go into meetings like this, I feel the need to dress up. On this occasion though, I think I will stick to who I am. A real person in jeans and a t-shirt. I have decided to stay confident in who I am, what I do, and how I do it. This is what it’s like doing business with me. I am professional because I am personal.

Me and my dog

I am happy to say that I am taking two weeks of vacation starting July 10th. Here’s to making these weeks just about personal development and relaxation! I will be back around the 27th more enthusiastic, more personally evolved, more relaxed, and an even better businessman.