Ignoring the elephant in the room will only make the situation worse for a business owner
Accepting and fixing the negatives are essential to business growth
Let me tell you about Shamma. She always dreamed of becoming a professional illustrator; to have her designs grace the pages of renowned publications.
After graduating from university, armed and proud with her graphic design degree, she knocked the doors of many publications in the UAE to work as a freelance illustrator, but failed in her attempts.
She then ended up working in the corporate communications department of a public organisation. Every now and then she would contact a media house and pitch her design services but was rejected every single time with people telling her that her designs looked unfinished, very raw, and unrefined.
Five years later, a renowned writer asked her to illustrate a cover of her book that became a best-seller. Soon after, she received requests from magazines to provide illustrations for their issues.
Shamma couldn’t keep up with the amount of requests for freelance work she received every week and she ended up quitting her job -- finally pursuing her dream career. In fact, Shamma did so well that she started her own design agency, and now runs an extremely successful business.
Many would consider Shamma’s story inspirational, a tale of struggle of someone chasing the dreams, and finally achieving them.
Shamma’s story, however, is unique. She wasn’t someone who believed that she had exceptional abilities which she can share with the world.
In reality, Shamma believed that she wasn’t that talented at all. She knew that there were more talented designers, and she understood why these publication houses had rejected her work all these years.
She did, however, strongly believe that her work and art, although raw and unrefined, was extremely honest, relatable and that is what has made it special.
To me, Shamma’s focus and realisation of her flaws was key to her success.
If there was a person out there who is a strong believer in the law of attraction and positive thinking it would have to be me. I’ve been fascinated with the subject and for 10 years now, I have applied it to every aspect of my life.
Do I count my blessings every day? Oh yes! Do I have a visualisation board in my office? You bet.
If I am in an unfavourable situation, I would try to focus on the positives, repeating affirmations and believing that there's light at the end of the tunnel.
It all sounds great, right? To be honest, that kind of positive thinking has helped keep me on track, not dwell too much on what negative people would criticise in my work, and kept my eyes on the prize. I was the opposite of how Shamma was.
With managing my own businesses, I’ve discovered that focusing solely on the positives wouldn’t serve me or my business in the long run. Don’t get me wrong here. It’s good to remind yourself of all the great things that you are good at. It’s good to remain positive, and not dwell on a negative situation. It’s good to focus on your desired results.
But not focusing on the negatives doesn't serve you or your business either. If I am a bad decision maker, or strategic thinking is not my forte, I need to focus on these issues and figure out how they are affecting my business. Ignoring the elephant in the room will only make the situation worse.
If you are running a business and it’s not picking up, you need to have an honest conversation with yourself.
If your team is great, and so is everything else, but things aren’t still working as you had anticipated, then you need to sit down with yourself and figure out if the fault lies within you.
As an owner, this may be one of the worse things to realise. The situation has an upside to it, and that it can be controlled. If the problem is due to your bad time management skills, or your refusal to market your products, then it’s in your hand to turn the situation around.
Once I realised my limitations and flaws, and altered the ways I did things, I elevated my business and professional life to a new level; a place where I am honest with myself, and where people respect me for recognising my flaws and correcting them.
Manar Al Hinai is an award-winning Emirati writer and entrepreneur, who manages her creative consultancy in Abu Dhabi.