Biz Ladies: 6 Habits to Keep Yourself Growing and Grounded

Today’s Biz Ladies post comes from Olga Kazakova, director of corporate communications at Volusion. Olga is responsible for maintaining the Volusion brand across marketing communications. She works with the creative, development, event and social media departments to educate merchants about Volusion’s e-commerce products and services. Today Olga is sharing her insights on habits that help grow your business. Thank you, Olga, for offering this inspiring advice! — Stephanie

Read the full post after the jump . . .

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There are established ways of doing things and with them comes a sense of comfort. Running your business is no exception to this rule, and although turning to what’s “tried and true” can be helpful, it can also hinder your business’s growth. As a business leader, you can avoid this pitfall by developing habits that will challenge you in little ways every day, making it second nature to rise above the status quo.

Here are six habits to keep you growing while keeping you grounded, and how you can start applying them today:

1. Be the most enthusiastic person in the room.

All it takes is one person to start spreading enthusiasm to a whole group, and as a business leader, you’re in the ideal position to do that. It’s no secret that people feel better about their work when other people are interested and cheering them on. By demonstrating unwavering enthusiasm for others’ work, you get them even more excited and invested in what they’re doing. Positive energy tells others you’re deeply passionate about their contributions to your business and gives others reason to be, as well.

However, don’t confuse enthusiasm for being aggressive or overly boisterous in personality. Being the most enthusiastic person in the room means feeding on the focus in the room and growing it by engaging in the exchange of ideas and actively participating in the decision-making process.

Start here: The next time you walk into a room, identify the most engaged person there. Then take note of what exactly they’re doing, whether it’s taking notes or actively listening, and try to do the same.

2. Have a heart. (It’s okay!)

Although we are naturally empathic creatures, we can sometimes slip into a rule-with-an-iron-fist mindset and disregard the circumstances of our coworkers and employees. Yes, firmness is necessary when setting boundaries, but kindness and understanding have their places, as well. By being understanding and having a heart, you build positive relationships within your workplace that benefit your entire business.

Furthermore, having a heart has a ripple effect. By being more understanding toward those you work with, you encourage them to show the same behavior to others. Think of it as a positive chain reaction that starts with you and ends with an increased sense of community in your business.

Start here: Actively look around and assess how those around you are feeling today. If you identify any unhappy campers, think of something you could do to make their lives easier today and follow through.

3. Go with your gut.

Oprah Winfrey agrees: Your intuition is one of your greatest assets. When it comes to business indecision like option overload or an unclear path forward, there’s no better advisor than your gut. After all, when something “feels right,” it probably is. In fact, most people know exactly what their gut is telling them, but they choose to work against their instincts because of fear or external pressures. You don’t have to be one of those people! You have your gut. All you have to do is listen to it.

On a cautionary note, however, understand that you should “go with your gut” and not “go with your feelings.” The two are very different concepts, and making decisions while emotional may not be in your best interest. Just remember that your intuition is akin to a quiet, steady voice inside you that can be best heard when you’re focused and at peace.

Start here: The next time you have to make a snap decision, just do it. Go with your gut and reap the reward!

4. Take the fall.

When you’re part of something — in any way, no matter how small — and it takes a bad turn, accept responsibility for the whole thing going bad. It may seem counterintuitive, but by taking full responsibility, you put yourself in a prime position to fix the problem.

How? Once you take the entire project under your wing, you recognize all that can be done to fix it. Even a seemingly insignificant contribution can bring light to a larger and better idea, or perhaps discover a problem that needs solving. If you simply chalk up the failure to someone else dropping the ball, you may never get to see all the lessons you could have learned.

Start here: Look back at a project that you were a pretty major part of and that didn’t go quite as planned. “Take the fall” and see if you can come up with a way you could have solved it.

5. Don’t shy away from opportunity.

There are no perfect opportunities, so don’t wait for one! Run after things even if they’re not an exact match for what you do. Many times, the challenges we accept that scare us are the ones that turn out to be most valuable for our careers. Welcome the challenge and look at it as a chance to grow in an area you haven’t yet explored. Don’t let your fears stop you.

There’s always something underneath the surface, and by taking on opportunities you don’t feel particularly strong about, you can grow.

Start here: Expose yourself to new opportunities! Say yes to something outside the norm once a week for the next month or so and see where it takes you.

6. Never stop learning.

Few things are more dangerous to improvement than a lack of new ideas. Without them, you run the risk of relying too heavily on the past and coming up with the same solution for everything. Staying curious and actively seeking knowledge keeps you on your toes and interested in the world around you, which is necessary for your business to thrive.

Don’t feel as though you have to limit yourself to subjects relevant to your field. In fact, one of the best things you can do is explore something completely outside it! Not only will your motivation for learning come from your natural interest in the topic, but you’ll also thoroughly enjoy the experience.

Start here: Start reading with the goal of compiling an inspiration library. It will encourage you to read more volume-wise, and after some time, you’ll have collected a super handy resource.

Have helpful habits? Questions? Let me know in the comments!

Lauren

Such great advice! I just signed up to showcase my bow ties in a wedding show this spring- something totally out of the norm for me- and am excited about the challenge. I love the thought that “there are no perfect opportunities”- it gets rid of the excuses about something not being exactly right for you and forces you to do it and make the best of it!

sarah

Love this advice!! Will definitely be implementing these thoughts on a daily basis!! Thank you!

kim

My favorite of all these is Take the fall – owning the good along with the not-so-good . Great advice.

Ali

This is a great post. Thanks so much for sharing! As a new CEO of a small business, I really appreciate this series.

Lisa

I LOVE this clarification: “Being the most enthusiastic person in the room means feeding on the focus in the room and growing it by engaging in the exchange of ideas and actively participating in the decision-making process.”

This is definitely the case. A clear way to make enthusiasm productive. Thanks!

The L.A. Lady

I love the “don’t be afraid to fail” advice. I recently read this piece about how psychopaths operate… Wait! Hear me out! The writer, a psychologist at Oxford, describes how psychopaths don’t really have a fear of failing and therefore many become successful members of society. You have to admit that there might be a few politicians out there with this trait… So after I read the piece I’ve been making an effort to be less afraid of failing or making a fool out of myself. It’s kind of refreshing!

Anyway, here’s the article if you’re interested, it’s a funny read at the very least:

http://www.salon.com/2012/10/13/how_psychopaths_take_over/

Emilia

Great bits of advice. Needed to be reminded of these simple things especially running my own business.

Kristie

Excellent advice! All points show excellent character, strength and leadership in the person exhibiting them. We should all aspire to act accordingly in our daily lives.

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