Do you find it annoying that some people can be incredibly successful and not work on themselves at all? In moments of stress when everything feels like it’s falling apart in my business, I’ve been so jealous of people who compartmentalize their life, avoiding their emotions and unhealthy belief structures and build a widget empire, even though behind the scenes their personal lives are in flames.
How does this work? How is it that some people stay so linear in business without being impacted? How is it that other people really need to have a level of impeccability with what is going on inside of them in order for their business to work?
I’ve come to see that these are really two fundamentally different entrepreneurial “species”. These species speak a different language and hold different world-views. They often have a hard time connecting on what is “true” in business and how to make businesses succeed.
This article isn’t about “how to make a business succeed”. Honestly, articles professing to share “The 1 way to…” are asinine. The truth is you need the right success strategy for your unique makeup, in your business, in your industry, in this season of your life. Instead, this article will help you see what “entrepreneurial species” you are.
I’ve been helping entrepreneurs create more inner resourcefulness, breakthrough, and impact for a decade by helping them identify patterns of stress and leverage strengths. What I’ve seen is that there is two primary ways that people are gifted to move – either from the inner to the outer (let’s just call them “inners”), or the outer to the inner (lets call them “outers”). Understanding your type is critical for entrepreneurial success.
Outers are focused on the “outer stream” of business. The outer stream is the structure, the organization, the marketing, manufacturing and distribution. It is all the tangible, real world “things” that need to happen in order to make a business “go”.
Outers tend to do abstraction and objectivity well, they are able to be dispassionate in driving towards and outcome or goal and they may not necessarily need to feel excited or inspired by the product or industry, but rather, it’s the conquest or the success they’re after.
Inners are focused on the experience, how it’s going to feel. They are often attracted to helping, healing or aesthetic aspects of the business. They may get roadblocked if it doesn’t feel good. They are likely to be more attuned to the energy of an interaction rather than the practicality of the interaction or deal. Inners are focused on making things better and making positive impact.
Here’s the rub. Entrepreneurs classically get focused on fixing their problems rather than operating from their strengths. It is critical to build a foundation of your natural style (energy for the inners and structure for the outers) before your have enough bandwidth to tackle the areas where you will be naturally inefficient. Because the type we are not is often the most painful, that’s where we focus our attention rather than really investing deeply in what we are good at.
I see this as a coach for entrepreneurs all the time. I help entrepreneurs and high performers bridge the gap between where they are now and where their soul demands they must be (obviously, I’m an inner). I often attract other inners who are scaling their business. I see how painful it is as their moving into the $150K-$250K point to create the structure they need without dropping the energetic awareness and momentum in their business.
If you are an outer and reading this, you’re probably thinking I’m nuts. It’s okay. It’s simply not the worldview you’re holding. But… here’s the pitfall that outer falls into.
They have this idea or product they’re going to take a bet on, they build the sales funnel, the manufacturing infrastructure, to social and connections and either one of two things happens.
Either it flops because it’s technically brilliant and aesthetically awful or it just feels kind of soulless, like people aren’t connecting to it, or, the business does well, they start making a lot of money, reach their goals and they realize that it all feels hollow, vacant and empty. They’re looking for the inner aspect.
Here are a few keys to remember:
- This framework – like all duality based frameworks – define each other. The inner eventually moves towards the outer and the outer eventually moves towards the inner in ever widening spirals on the evolutionary path. Start with your strengths and reach towards building the other.
- Stop hiring mentors that don’t understanding you. I’ve spends hundreds of thousands from people who were good at what I was bad at and it felt horrible that I never implemented I learned because I had to push through so much pain to do it. I don’t mind pushing through pain but it’s simply unsustainable if you’re not leveraging your strengths.
- Hire mentors who really fucking get you (ESPECIALLY if you’re an inner). Inners tend to be focused on understanding everyone else, everyone around them, which means they have a hard time seeing themselves and really understanding what’s happening inside them and their business. Their blind spots are amplified because they’re too close. Work with a consultant, coach, mentor, healer who really gets what’s going on.
Running a business from the wrong type is basically like running backwards with your hands tied behind your back. The entrepreneurial landscape is hard enough without that. This is an invitation and permission slip to operate from your strengths and get help with the rest. You got this, we believe in you.