Bonfire

Treat Your Business Like A Lover

Once upon a time, a few years ago, as my now-multi-million-dollar business was growing rapidly and I was riding the waves of intensity, I had a conversation with another woman-business owner, Catherine Baldi, who runs a large painting contracting business, Arana Craftsman Painters.

She said to me, “Your business is an entity separate from you now. Ask it what it needs.

Indeed I have come to see my design business, LMB Interiors, as its own separate being. I revere her. I treat her as a lover. I ask, “What do you want, business?” “What do you need to grow?” “How may I thank you for all of the resources and abundance you have given me, the homes that have benefitted from you, the clients, my employees, and their families that have benefitted?”

This practice has been a revelation. 

Leading from The Feminine

There are many ways that leading my business from the feminine has created new pathways, new ideas, and new opportunities, different from the dominant paradigm that I used to believe in and operate from.

Now that I lead from the feminine, I am happier, my business is more successful, and my staff are happier, and we all experience more pleasure in our lives and in our work.

Here is my actionable advice, for growing and nurturing your business as a feminine leader:

  1. Have a fund for mistakes, and if there are none, share the winnings

When you or a member of your staff makes a mistake that costs the company money, have a fund for paying for these things. If the volume of errors stays low, meaning your staff is not making costly mistakes, then that money goes into their bonuses at the end of the year.

I used to operate as if I wasn’t going to make a mistake, but I started to realize I needed to put structures in place that would catch me if I fell. I put 10% annually into a prudent reserve account, so if there is a slow month, or a big surprise happens, then my past takes care of my future self, and my sense of security is not threatened.

  1. Treat your staff with reverence and love; do not make them wrong.

Example: We had a client whose decision-making style was wearing my designer down. I said to her, “The clients are going to come and go; in the end, you are still going to be working with me. What do we need to do to take care of you right now so you feel safe and secure to make good quality decisions on behalf of the client, and take this project through to completion?”

If staff feel they are going to get in trouble or be made wrong, they won’t come to you when things get hard, and from that place of being made wrong, they won’t be able to make good decisions or solve problems for the client.

At LMB Interiors’ staff meetings, we talk about mistakes without shame. Each of us teaches the rest of the team what we learned from those situations. I guide my staff to look at these questions: What happens for you if you make a mistake? What stories do you tell yourself? How do you treat YOU when you make a mistake? That’s where we begin. 

When you lead from an empowered, Feminine self, that’s the conversation. As a business owner, you help people become their best versions of themselves.

  1. Treat yourself with reverence and love; do not make yourself wrong.

If you are self-flagellating, you will throw yourself on your sword. I know. I have done this too many times, in ways that have cost me so much money over the years. Apologizing and over-giving in order to compensate, people-pleasing without boundaries. I do not do this anymore. 

  1. Invest in your business like you would a beloved. 

Give it attention, have respect for it. Don’t take on a client that you know will be a drain on the company (because what that action will cost you — financially or emotionally — is not worth it.)

  1. Let go of the outdated structures we inherited from businessMEN and bring in the powers of the Feminine. 

In my firm, this means we bring our feelings, authentic expression, dance parties, sisterhood, connection, all the things we love about the feminine, into business. 

When one sister rises, all rise together. Treating each other with a spirit of generosity, looking for what’s right rather than wrongness; talking about our feelings and taking responsibility for them… these skills are Feminine powers, and I believe all companies could benefit from applying them. 

  1. Keep a book of wins! 

Track your successes. Include things that worked out that you never thought would work out. 

Examples from my book include the stone countertops that turned pink and ended up looking fabulous, a sectional that was too big but we found a way to take it apart, bring it into the home, and rebuild it. 

  1. Be willing to be in the PAUSE.

Being in the pause, the space between action and reaction; this is often the discomfort of not yet knowing the answer to solve the problem. This is a feminine power. Every time I do this, it’s almost like the problem works itself out. The solution appears or simply manifests.

What ways has sourcing your power from the Divine Feminine changed how you do business? What ideas are you going to take from this post and make your own?

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