To be successful in business you need to have systems in place, a strong operational foundation and know your numbers. Most business is dominated by the logical side of our brain. But with anything in life we need balance. February 14th is Valentine’s Day and for anyone who has ever been in love it has nothing to do with logic. It is a feeling, a knowing, that leads us. Like many of you, I have always made decisions based on the Pro’s and Con’s so that I keep emotion out of the decision. But I have learned that my best decisions came about because of following my heart and listening to my intuition.  I hope the following tips give you permission to follow your heart when weighing decisions.

  1. Follow Your Heart

What does it mean to follow your heart and why do we suppress it as something bad, flaky, or irrelevant in business? Heart is what gives meaning to our lives. It is integral to our WHY in life and business. We suppress our heart’s desire because at times it is contrary to our logical side. Logic is efficient, measurable, and repeatable, but leading with heart can be messy, and illogical. I am sure you know someone who became an accountant or attorney only to hate it and really wanted to be a teacher or small business owner. I worked with an exceptional English teacher in Japan who shared with me he hated being a teacher…but he was so good at it!  He wanted to be a shoe salesman. Go figure. It made me sad that he was living a life that he hated. He wasn’t being true to himself. He became a teacher because that is what his parent’s wanted for him.

So how does this show up in our business? The logical side strategizes, plans, and implements but the heart is the dream, the desire. It is where the passion and drive originate. It is the thing we don’t tell everyone because it is precious to us, and we don’t want someone to squash our dream or idea.

Starting a business is a desire and dream. It may not make sense to others at the time.  Why would you leave a steady job with a good salary to start something that could fail? Starting a business is risky, long hours, maybe you will make less money, no retirement plan, etc.  But what if you were successful? What if you made more money than ever imagined? What if you could retire early or help your parents in their golden years live a more comfortable life? What if…  Our heart is the center of our emotions. If we follow our heart, it will lead us to where we are supposed to be in business and in life. It gives us purpose. Find your happiness, dreams, desires, and WHY by following your heart.

  1. Listen to Your Intuition

Intuition is the internal voice that speaks to you. A feeling that is pointing you towards or warning you away from something. I believe our ancestors listened to their intuition more than we do today where we follow logic, the algorithm of life.

Intuition is powerful. To me it is the universe (or something outside of me) guiding me on my path. It is the feeling of knowing deep down that the direction you are going or what you want is attainable and will present itself. You don’t know how, or when, you just know.  I think all of us have experienced this sense of knowing. I learned the power of my intuition when living overseas. When you are in a new environment, you can’t assess your surroundings the same way as at home; you find that you start listening to your internal voice that helps you make sense of your surroundings. My intuition never failed me. It is like the wind in your sail. You can’t see the wind, but it fills your sails and sends you in a direction where you don’t necessarily know where you will end up but once you get there it is exactly what you want, and where you wanted to be. You just didn’t know it yet.

Intuition in property management has alerted me to not take a client, to not approve an applicant, to check on the property, to close out an owner, to expand my business and to hire my best employee ever.  I was interviewing for an administrative position, and I had turned down quite a few candidates, but one person kept coming back to me. My intuition, my internal voice, kept saying to interview her again but this time outside of the office.  I did and I hired her. That hire changed my company over night. She allowed me to scale, and step back from the day-to-day business. She is still with the company today five years after I sold it.

Many of my business decisions involved my intuition guiding me with new services, products, marketing, increasing my fees, etc. At times I would run ideas by my team or other property managers and get push back or advice to not do it. This is where with intuition your feeling of knowing and the confidence to trust it will set you apart. Others won’t understand but that is ok. You are following your own path not theirs so it makes sense that they can’t comprehend your knowing. When you hear your internal voice, stop, and listen. Then follow it. I am confident you will find you are making better decisions, avoiding problems, and your business won’t feel so hard to navigate.

  1. Be Your Authentic Self

Early in my career at a Silicon Valley software company my manager said, “be true to yourself.” I had no idea what she was talking about or what it meant.  I am a direct and honest person with a strong work ethic. My nickname in the company was WYSIWYG (what you see, is what you get).  I felt like I was an open book. I didn’t play politics or games at work and got along with everyone. My performance reviews were always positive, and I hit my benchmarks.  So, what did she mean by the statement?  Fast forward a few decades and I now understand. Although I was very competent in my position, I wasn’t happy and wasn’t being authentic to myself or being my true self. I wasn’t utilizing my talents. I was conforming to my job description.

My department was downsized which was the push I needed to dig deep and make a change. My heart’s desire was to live and work overseas. My intuition was getting stronger telling me that now was the time to go for it. So, I did my research and applied for international positions. I landed in Japan and was there for three years.  I was living my authentic life and being true to myself. I felt in the flow daily and clearly remember one day stepping off the train at the end of the workday thinking, “I can’t believe I get paid to do this job. I would do it for free!” I had no idea I would end up in Japan, but I was so thankful that I followed my heart and listened to my intuition.

Listening to my intuition and knowing it had never failed me along with doing the logical research gave me the confidence to buy a property management business and make it my own. Others around me questioned my decision but I knew it was right. I could feel it. Everything fell into place. The stars aligned and I am eternally grateful that I took that leap of faith and listened to my intuition speaking to me. I wouldn’t do property management for free, but it has given me a full and rewarding life on so many levels. Learning to be vulnerable was and is the most challenging part of being authentic and true to myself, but time and again it has proven to be a very powerful lever in my business and life.

When you show up as your authentic self you will attract the exact type of client you want to have in your portfolio. You will attract likeminded clients that value who you are and how you do business. Being who you are is what differentiates you from the competition. It is what makes you unique. We all do property management but how we do it and how we serve our clients is unique. So, be confident and step into your own and don’t copy someone else’s business, someone else’s dream. Create your own unique business that fulfills your life.

If you follow your heart, listen to your intuition and be your authentic self you will have an extremely successful, profitable, and rewarding business that supports you and the life you want. The details of establishing and running a business are essential but to take your business to the next level it must have heart which only you can bring to the table. Here’s to following your heart.