Quickly after Taren and I were introduced through a mutual colleague, I was sold on her commitment to values. She’s able to distill some of the most complex, relevant ideas for business leaders in just a few sentences.
Leaders from businesses big and small can benefit from Taren’s emphasis on embodying the right traits. I’m privileged to share her wisdom with you.
David: If you could advise business owners to take one action to reduce the stress brought on by their work, what would it be?
Taren: Do a personal values inventory. When I get stressed out, I remind myself that life is short, and that my goal is to enjoy as much of it as I can. When I get lost in the details of my business, or so stressed out that I’m not enjoying the business that I created, I know that something is out of balance. I first implement self-care stuff like spa treatments, hanging out with friends, booking my next vacation. But I also have a good “does this really matter?” attitude. Meaning: when I’m on my deathbed, will this one “problem” really matter? I’m pretty sure that when I die I’m not going to be wishing I had booked any one particular corporate client.
David: If you could advise business owners to take one action to increase their productivity, what would it be?
Taren: Have a plan and stick to it. When I’m not following a plan, I feel lost. But when I’m checking in with my business coach, when I’m following an action plan through the good times and bad, I’m building my tolerance for uncertainty, which is a great skill for all entrepreneurs to have.
David: What are some of the hardest truths to face up to in business?
Taren: You are on your own. Your business is going to succeed or fail and it’s all up to you. You get all the credit if it works out, but if it doesn’t you also bear all of that responsibility. Actually, I think our definitions of success are narrow and need to be reconsidered. If I didn’t meet my sales goals for the year, is that failure? Or is that success because I enjoyed this year far more than I did last year? The intangibles need to be considered.
David: What traits do the most successful people share?
Taren: Tenacity, levelheadedness, and a sense of humor. I like to think of a successful business owner as a Roger Federer. He’s a cool cucumber during his tennis matches. He’s consistent, solid and he wins. Compare this to Novak Djokovic. While he’s very exciting to watch and has a winning personality, he’s also emotional, hotheaded and inconsistent. And his record shows this. When I’m feeling off balance I’m trying to bring on the Federer energy.
David: What are some of your own professional development challenges? How are you working on them?
Taren: I teach women how to speak with more confidence. So when I feel less than confident in any part of my life, I feel like a phony. How can I teach what I don’t have? What if someone can see that I’m feeling insecure right now? The reality is I can’t expect myself to be 100% confident in every area of my life all the time. So I need to give myself a break when I’m not perfect, and that includes in my business. Just as I give my clients a break, I need to give myself more credit for daring to be a business owner and build something from the ground up that I believe in.
Taren Sterry is the Founder and President of Tarren Sterry Coaching. Reach out to her on her company’s website, www.tarensterry.com or through Twitter at @tarensterry.