Emotional DNA: The Invisible Force Standing Between You and Your Business Goals
What happens when someone asks about your business goals? Are you able to give your answer quickly and confidently? Or is there a slight feeling of shame… like you’re reaching for something you don’t deserve?
Do you give the real answer? Or do you hide your bigger ambitions and claim a goal that feels more “grounded”?
If you’ve already found some success with your business, how did you feel when others noticed? Did you enjoy showing friends and family your new car or house? Were you excited to share pictures from your dream vacation? Were any of these experiences tainted by guilt or hesitation?
And when you succeed, is your instinct to lean into that success? Or are you more comfortable turning your attention to a brand new project... chasing a new opportunity?
These experiences are familiar for a lot of entrepreneurs. Even if you don’t see anything here you relate to, chances are good you have your own complicated relationship with success.
And that relationship is the number one thing standing between you and your full potential as a business owner.
The good news is you can change it. But you have to be willing to look within and examine your emotional DNA.
How Emotional DNA Influences Your Willingness to Succeed
The section title above probably sounds absurd to you. Willingness to succeed? Why would you have become an entrepreneur in the first place if you didn’t want success?
Well, wealth and freedom are things that sound ideal when they’re still far-off ambitions. It’s when we start to close in on our business goals that we begin to discover a lot of surprising hang-ups.
I see this a lot with franchise owners who are flourishing. They have an outstanding first year, then call me excited to talk about their plans to... open another business?
What? Why would they do that?
They have this great opportunity to double down… to invest more money into growing a business that clearly works. They’re in a position to earn twice the revenue in their second year and establish a powerful reputation in the community they serve. Starting a second business would mean spreading their money thin, ensuring that neither company can afford to truly excel.
Instead of arguing, I ask them how they feel about the success they’ve found with their 911 Restoration franchise. After some digging, the truth finally comes out. “I feel great, but…”
...but uneasy. Guilty. Even afraid.
I’ve been there, too. As soon as 911 Restoration started to see major growth, I set my sights on new business opportunities. I was investing in projects right and left, working my ass off, and still making the same amount of money. This was when I heard the advice that “before you can understand the world outside of you, you have to understand the world inside of you.”
What Lies Within
I learned about emotional DNA: the idea that our perceptions and feelings about the world are influenced by the generations who came before us. So, I looked back at my upbringing. How did my dad talk about money? How did my mom feel about money? What did money represent in my household? In my community?
Here’s the snapshot: money was something you chased… something you fought for and could never expect to keep. You get it, you lose it, on and on forever. People who work hard are admirable. People who sell are manipulative and greedy. And above all, I was not the type of person who was supposed to have money. I wasn’t born into wealth, I didn’t grow up with wealth, and wealth was not something that rightfully belonged to me.
With these ideas so deeply ingrained in my identity, of course I found ways to tank my own success.
And if you’re struggling in your career, I can pretty much guarantee you’re doing the exact same thing.
Maybe your dad believed that tradespeople were honest and virtuous while CEOs were greedy and slimy, and now you can’t seem to find your way out of the truck.
Or maybe your mother inherited extreme financial caution from her own Depression-Era parents, and now it’s really hard for you to spend money on innovations that could help grow your business.
Until you discover these connections, you are going to stay stuck. Because no matter how much you enjoy the fantasy of buying a bigger house, sending your kids to the best schools, and taking that fishing trip to Brazil…
...something inside you will still resist. Because that something believes you don’t deserve that life. Or that having that life will make you a bad person.
How to Overcome the Beliefs Standing Between You and Your Business Goals
Working your way through the influence of your emotional DNA takes time.
That said, some of your aspects of your struggle will dissolve on their own just through the power of self-awareness. You’d be surprised how many problems you can resolve simply by shining a light on them. You catch yourself researching new business opportunities and then realize, “Oh, crap, I’m doing it again. I’m looking for an excuse to avoid building on my success.”
However, there will also be times when you need to take a proactive approach.
One technique I love is to replace negative thoughts with positive thoughts.
When you think, “I need to chase this opportunity no matter what it is so I can provide for my family,” stop the thought and start over. Tell yourself, “Money is energy: there is plenty to go around and I can create as much as I want.”
“It’s not fair for me to have the wealth I want” becomes “I can do so much good for my family and for the world with more money.”
“I don’t deserve this” becomes “I absolutely deserve to live a life on my own terms.”
You only get the one life, after all.
Don’t spend it struggling under the weight of your ancestors’ baggage.
Join the Conversation!
Pick one negative thought that regularly prevents you from moving your business forward. Choose a replacement thought so you have it ready to go the next time the old thought arises. Then join us in the Get Out of the Truck Facebook group to share your plan.
Further Resources on this Topic
Free Video Course: Cultivate a Growth Mindset on the Job
Blog Post: Scarcity vs. Abundance