As I scanned the subject header line ‘Your application for reduction in hours‘, my heart skipped a beat as I opened the email. Here’s some context: Over the summer, after discussing the various pros and cons with Mr B of such a risk, I had requested to reduce my hours in my ‘day job’ in order to carve out dedicated time to build my business. I had requested to cut my hours by a third, and two months on, here I now was, reading the decision of my employer…
My application had been accepted! But in that first couple of seconds, I felt my heart sink. In those couple of seconds I felt the weight of the decision I had made. Part of that sinking feeling was that I had chosen to decrease my ‘safe’ salary by a third and contribute less to our household. Part of the sinking feeling was that this was a permanent change to my contract and there was no going back. Part of my sinking feeling was “what if this doesn’t work out, I’ve failed”.
I felt the risk. But then, I reframed my mindset. I started to reflect on my choice of words.
Instead of looking at my decision solely as a risk, I can also view my decision as an investment into my business. I remembered that the time that I’m gaining from my employer is now mine to do with as I want. I gain the best part of 3 afternoons a week that I would normally be working for my employer, giving me more flexibility to work with clients and work on my own resources and marketing. I have the unconditional support of a husband who encourages me to take risks, and is happy for us to invest our money into it.
Of course there’s no escaping that risks do carry an element of danger or threat. But if I only reflected on the threat, I miss out on the opportunities that a business decision can bring, which might not be limited to monetary benefit, but include increased visibility to my audience, or strength in my reputation amongst local business owners.
I was also talking to a friend recently who made a business decision that required a sizeable investment of resources. She called it an investment, not a risk as I would previously been tempted to do. She called it that because in the long run, her hope is the investment will reap benefits that will make the risk worthwhile.
It’s not just in business that we can reflect on risk and investment and incorrectly frame them as risk without investment. I have friends who have moved continents (different friends, different continents), and when the time has come to make those big decisions of life, they framed it as a learning experience and an opportunity for personal growth, more so than the risk.
“If something is scary, it means I’m pushing myself outside my comfort zone, and to me, that’s always a good thing can only lead to positive growth”Quote from above noted friend who has moved to various continents
I’m definitely finding that business is not just a step into but a continuous walk outside my comfort zone, and that continual reframing of my mindset will be crucial. I’ve found following people like Fiona Thomas, and Sara Tasker so helpful in learning from their business journeys.
To end with a very silly example, last November I visited Taymouth Marina’s Hot Box Spa (not an #ad, it was a birthday gift), which has a variety of hot and cold spa and sauna therapies. It was very tempting to stick with the warming comfort of the sauna and the soothing jets of the Hotpool, but what made the hot therapies more worthwhile was the short sharp shock of dipping myself into the freezing Loch Tay!
What life or business decisions are you putting off because of the ‘risk’?
A Highland Blend offers social media support and training, alongside other digital marketing services to local businesses in the north of Scotland. Do get in touch with me via the buttons on my sidebar if you’d like to improve your online business communications.