Activation Tuesdays

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Is it a Business Problem or a Belonging Problem?

Sometimes a business problem is more of a belonging problem. Your unconscious fear is about not fitting and not belonging or getting kicked out of the tribe or not having a place in this world. It prevents you from seeing the path forward in business because there is all these fears embedded the path forward.


Sometimes business problems are just business problems, and you need a business solution to address them.

But sometimes a business problem is more of a belonging problem. This is when your unconscious fears about not belonging if you step out get stirred up. 

These include fears about getting kicked out of the tribe and not having a place in this world for being too much – too weird, too out there, too woo, too something…

Or the inverse, not enough – not smart enough, not innovative enough, not special enough, not [fill in the blank] enough.

When these fears are lurking under the surface of your calling and embedded in the path forward, it prevents you from seeing the path forward in your business.

This is especially true when you’re really on your game, growing, and doing what you’re being called to do.

When you’re stretching in your business and on the cutting edge of what’s new and calling you forward…

There’s always a simultaneous stretch around belonging – especially for those of us that are designed to be edge riders and trailblazers, where we’re always being asked to bring something new into the field and into our market via our business.

There are often these unspoken questions that accompany innovation… Will it be accepted? Will it be welcomed? Will it find a place in the market? 

But underneath that?

There’s often a deeper, innately human question: “Will I be accepted?” 

It’s about needing to have a place in this world and finally know your place “in the family of things,” as Mary Oliver says.

Of course, we try to solve what we think is a business problem with business solutions. But if it’s a belonging problem disguised as a business problem, it’s like you’re using a hammer when you need a screwdriver. You work really hard and get nowhere because the problem you think you’re addressing isn’t the problem at all. 

Sure, there may still be business problems that need to be addressed once you handle the belonging issue. And when you address them in that order, you’ll usually see the business problem much more clearly and address it with relative ease. 

So the next time you find yourself hesitating, feeling fuzzy, or stalling out, and you can’t seem to wrap your hands around a solution…

Get more rigorous about asking, “Is this a belonging issue disguised as a business problem?” 

And, if you’re like the rest of us, and find it challenging to see your “stuff” clearly when you’re the Lone Ranger doing your own thing…

Then it’s time to find your own community of belonging where you have other leaders by your side who see you, know you, and can lean in with you when you lose your way.

Because that’s when a space opens up…

It’s a space where you can touch what needs to be touched and open where you’re being asked to open, which allows you to find your own belonging and step out with courage again.

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