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Home / Articles / Columnists / Empowering leaders in a weak economy /  Do You Own Your Business, or Does It Own You?
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Monday, October 3,2011

Do You Own Your Business, or Does It Own You?

By Deborah Brown, Ph.D., MBA  
If your business were a living, breathing thing, what would it be? A thriving oak tree with deep roots? A reliable partner with your best interests at heart? A baby bird just getting ready to spread its wings and fly from the nest?

If the thought of your business brings a positive image to mind, then you’re probably in control of your business and not the other way around. But it might raise a warning flag if you think of your business as a ruthless tyrant, or a wild animal that’s constantly scratching and biting you, or even a raging fire that threatens to consume everything you own.

If it’s starting to feel like your business is taking on a life of its own (and taking your life along with it), then it might be a good time to stop and regain control of the situation. It’s YOUR business, guided by YOUR longterm strategy and YOUR dayto-day decisions. You are not at the mercy of your own creation; you can try another way forward if your current path isn’t taking you where you want to go.

Your business will take as much time, energy, and resources as you’re willing to give it. Your business will never stop and tell you, “No, no, you’ve done enough for tonight; get some rest.” Your business will never pull you aside to say, “You’ve spent enough time on me for now; why don’t you go get some ice cream with your family?” Your business will never give you a pat on the back and tell you what a great job you’re doing.

The holiday season is right around the corner, which means your sales might be ready to jump. And at the same time, your family/friends/neighbors will be eager for you to join them in holiday festivities. If your business owns you, then you will spend the entire holiday season feeling guilty about spending too much time in one area of your life while neglecting another area of your life, no matter how hard you try to meet everyone’s needs. But if you are fully in control of your business, then you can begin to enjoy the pumpkins, the cooler fall weather, the Halloween decorations, and all the other signs of the imminent holiday season.

Remember that you can always launch another business, but you won’t get a do-over for your life! Enjoy a cooler, festive October 2011.


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