Running Your Business in a State of Interior Conflict

Part of the challenge of running your own business is that it’s your business. You have skin in the game. That can lead to you being a little too focused on your own abilities and weaknesses, and this can create conflict within you, which flows onto the business.

Interior conflict? In a way, that’s the human condition. We are too worried about ourselves and what people think, and that feeling of inadequacy can be a self-fulfilling prophecy.

How interior conflict affects business

But when you run your own business, this interior conflict can have a knock-on effect in your business in a few different ways.

For example,

  • you’re a natural giver. You’re a helper, and that can make it hard for you to receive from others. This creates conflict because business is never a solo affair, even if you’re working on your own. You still need customers.

  • you so feel empathy for the client that you may feel bad charging for your work. Or, if you do charge for it, you severely undercharge.

  • you like to be confident about what you do. Maybe you’re a perfectionist. So the work you do is going to be never good enough in your mind…especially if the work is something new to you or something you haven’t been paid to do before.

  • If you’re working from home, you feel called to look after household duties or family demands. These are more urgent or perhaps more fulfilling than your work, once again creating conflict.

A business owner in a state of interior conflict isn’t going to do good work. And you certainly won’t have a profitable business.

How to resolve interior conflict

Remember, you’re in a battle within yourself.

And here’s another potential point of conflict: if the problem is within you, then it has to be resolved by you.

Conflict (non-)solutions

Here are some of the ways people try to resolve these interior conflicts:

  • denial or avoidance of the issue

  • Trying shiny new tools or marketing channels

  • Creating services without any idea if there’s a market for them

  • Trying to gather more information and never implementing what they already know

That interior conflict affects your business profoundly.

  • It destroys your capacity to sell.

  • It undermines your ability to price adequately.

And that all has a knock-on effect on your confidence, on your finances, on your emotional life, on your family life. It’s like a cancer that you carry with you.

Is there a quick fix to interior conflict?

The very nature of this conflict is that it leaves you wanting to keep doors closed that you really should open, but you don’t want to. That’s why you avoid the very people/services/solutions/thoughts that are going to get you out of it .

And advice from well wishers who say things like “believe in yourself!” or “Just do it!” really doesn’t help .

So, what will help?

The very first step is acknowledgement. That usually means recognising that the one thing you are avoiding is the one thing you need to work on. That’s painful, but nowhere near as painful as the ongoing conflict within you.

Acknowledgement is the first step, but the second one is to face facts.

By “facing facts”, I mean working out where, exactly, you stand. How much debt are you in? How much profit do you need? What’s the breakeven point?

How many clients do you need? How many are one-off clients? How many recurring?

When you’re working on interior conflict, you want every weapon you can lay your hands on. But most of all, you want to know what you should be fighting first. Otherwise, you just get overwhelmed, which increases the conflict, drains you of energy and continues the downward cycle again.

Calling in Support

There’s a point where you really need to get someone in to help. The problem is that you’re probably afraid, because it’s going to hurt. So, far from having someone tell you to step out of your comfort zone, you may just need an anaethstesiologist who is going to help dull some of the pain.

Choose wisely. It could be a friend, a coach, a colleague or even a stranger, but choose someone who is going to coax you ever so gently out of your interior conflict, and show you the root cause, too.

Conflict and Courage

In reality, conflict is a pretty normal part of business. The good news, though, is that with some courage, you can align the work you do with your big purpose in life. Then the conflict can resolve itself almost imperceptibly. It’s a beautiful thing to watch, or be part of.

Anthony English