How to Have a Greater Impact in Your Small Business

Every week as SmallBizLady, I conduct interviews with experts on my Twitter talk show #SmallBizChat. The show takes place every Wednesday on Twitter from 8-9 pm ET.  This is excerpted from my recent interview with Joanne Sonenshine is Founder + CEO of Connective Impact, a company focused on bringing like-minded organizations together to improve how we utilize resources and address the crises of our time. She is also author of ChangeSeekers: Finding Your Path to Impact. For more info: www.connectiveimpact.com  

SmallBizLady:  WHAT ARE SOME OF THE TRIGGERS AND OUTCOMES IN LIFE THAT CAUSES CHANGE?

Joanne Sonenshine:

That’s a good question.  Typically, people may consistently struggle to find true satisfaction in their professional career, year deeply for meaning and/or fulfillment.  This may result in resigning from your job and taking the risk to start a new business.  However, determine is what it takes to be successful and loving what you do can change the trajectory of your life.  Many people also realize there could be substantial lessons learned and lead to a circuitous path to find their own method of impact the world.  Thus, becoming a ChangeSeeker.

SmallBizLady:  YOU MENTIONED A CHANGESEEKER, WHO ARE THEY?

Joanne Sonenshine:

ChangeSeeker’s are amazingly inspiring people who are truly changing the world around us each day.  They are those who have navigated significant person or professional challenges to seek out a more impactful career, starting a small business and having more meaning in their lives.  ChangeSeeker’s inspire others to want better for themselves.

SmallBizLady:  WHAT ARE SOME OF THE BENEFITS BEING A CHANGESEEKER?

Joanne Sonenshine:

ChangeSeeker’s can expect to be more confident in their own personal and business pursuits.  They tend to recognize and embrace a change in their lives, find greater meaning and be at peace.  Additionally, they welcome the opportunity to resonate with others and carry on the fight to make the world a better place.

SmallBizLady:  WHAT ARE SOME OF THE CHALLENGES IN BALANCING LIFE AS A BUSINESS OWNER AND LIFE, IN GENERAL?

Joanne Sonenshine:

Typically, the greatest challenge tends to be balancing yourself.  As small business owners, you need to remember that it’s impossible to perform all the roles in your life well, all the time.  Therefore, it may require compromise and sacrifice being the “best” parent or spouse to ensure your business is operating at capacity.  Try and balance out the time you spend with your family and between work.

SmallBizLady:  HOW WILL A CHANGESEEKER KNOW THEY ARE ON THE RIGHT PATH?

Joanne Sonenshine:

I don’t think there’s one answer for this, because there isn’t even one “right path.”  Your career or business journey can take a series of twists and turns, and in some cases, have questionable results.  Once you find yourself in a position that seems to be the be-all and end-all, often there are opportunities or decisions that make you question whether there’s more in store. Frankly, that’s part of the excitement—staying curious and pushing forward, not doubting yourself, your business choices and staying true to what drives you—your inner voice.

SmallBizLady:  What are the steps TO FINDING fulfillment?

Joanne Sonenshine:

It will take dedication, focus and risk before many people will find what is going to truly inspire them to fulfill their career, personal development, and small business goals.  This could mean that you will need to stop being the person you thought you were and embracing the person you need to become. Try redefining your personal and profession intent.  Redirect your focus and energy without drastic consequences.  Being successful at self-direction on a path toward true impact means finding the confidence from within to take risks, make mistakes and apologize for failures, and move on without second guessing yourself.  This takes experience, knowledge gathering, and practice to find true fulfillment.

SmallBizLady:  WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO BEGINNERS?

Joanne Sonenshine:

Tell yourself to “just go.”  Like the Nike slogan, “Just Do It.”  Don’t overthink, just keep moving forward and follow the senses that guide you towards the next hurdles and decisions.

SmallBizLady:  WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOUR “PATH” HAS INTERFERENCE BY TRYING TO MANAGE THE EXPECTATIONS OF OTHERS?

Joanne Sonenshine:

Expectations carry a weight that makes decision-making fraught with hesitations and uncertainties. Having confidence, moving forward despite hurdles and trusting your gut will keep you moving, whether it’s in the ‘right’ direction or not. The experiences you gain are all critical to the journey. Who you are, and ultimately who you become, is built on multiple layers of expectation. Your path shouldn’t be based on what is expected of you, or what dues you have paid, but instead on where you see need, where you can provide value, and ultimately where you can have the most impact.

SmallBizLady:  HOW DOES THE CONCEPT OF “FLEXIBILITY” PLAY IN THE VARIOUS PATH-CHANGES IN LIFE?

Joanne Sonenshine:

  1. Stay true to your beliefs, which is the opposite of being flexible.
  2. Recognize when a situation is just not right.
  3. Be honest, both with those around you and yourself.
  4. When it’s time to move forward, it’s just time to move forward

SmallBizLady:  HOW VALUABLE CAN RELATIONSHIPS BE IN THE SUCCESS OF YOUR CAREER AND BUSINESS?

Joanne Sonenshine:

Valuable does not even do the importance of relationship building justice. Having close friendships, knowing those in your network as people that have interests and passions of their own, and listening with intent to what makes people tick can be the most pivotal elements of your personal and business journey.

SmallBizLady:  AFTER JUMPSTARTING YOUR LIFE, CREATING AND HAVING A GREATER IMPACT IN YOUR SMALL BUSINESS, WHAT’S NEXT?

Joanne Sonenshine:

The beauty of not knowing is that the potential is unlimited. Focus on never reaching the end of what’s possible.

If you found this interview helpful, join us on Wednesdays 8-9 pm ET; follow @SmallBizChat on Twitter.

Here’s how to participate in #SmallBizChat: http://bit.ly/1hZeIlz

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