Everywhere you turn there is some expert telling you what you should do if you want to succeed. This is particularly true if you are a business owner. There is certainly no shortage of guru laden advice in the entrepreneurial space.
Who hasn’t read about some version of the give up everything to toil 24/7 in someone’s garage while living on ramen noodles story of a startup business? Or the version that describes how business owners live with a relentless focus on the business doing whatever it takes to grow (meanwhile allowing health, relationships, and everything else to crumble)?
Those stories are everywhere. The problem is if you actually want to have a life and create meaning from your precious days on the planet, there are some fatal myths out there that get tossed around as gospel.
Let’s dispel them.
Crazy-busy is a good thing
People wear being busy like a badge of honor. Like somehow if you are crazy-busy then you matter as a human being, can feel worthy, and will be a success. Wrong!! Just the opposite! If you are so busy that you can’t pause to disconnect, enjoy the journey, and have moments in every single day that are just for you and the things/people that matter to you, you are losing the game. Meaning is not created from the table scraps after everyone else has gotten a piece of you. Profit is not created accidentally.
You just need to work harder
The whole “nose to the grindstone”, “outwork the competition” baloney is for the birds. It only perpetuates the burned out, exhausted, and miserable among us. Before you think I am getting all airy fairy on you and suggest there’s not actual work involved in running a business, let me make an important distinction. Being successful in business requires a strong work ethic and a lot of hard work. Anyone who tells you differently is either lying or smoking something funky.
However, a work ethic is entirely different than throwing the “I’ll just work harder” mantra out there thinking that somehow by torturing yourself you will magically succeed and your problems will vanish. It won’t. It is simply a socially acceptable form of self-abuse that will keep you on a hamster wheel forever destroying your creativity, happiness, relationships, and profit margins.
Once you reach some goal then you’ll be able to take time off/charge what you’re worth/feel happy
This is the waiting for “Someday” way of living. You are promised nothing in this life except right NOW. Use it wisely. An important distinction: this is not some “live every day as if it is your last” malarkey because I don’t know about you but I don’t find this helpful advice. Does that mean you should spend every day at the beach? Stop exercising? Spend all you money? No it does not.
What it does mean is that enjoying the journey, embracing the process is really all we have. There is no “there” in “once I get there”. It’s a mirage. We are all going to die with things on our to-do list, so get over it. Design your business to support the life you want to live right now. While your business might not be robust enough to support your wildest life dreams at the start, you can and must design it with your heartfelt life plan in mind so the spirit of what you desire is happening now, not a mythical “someday”.
Doing more equates to more success
When is more enough?
With the myriad of things to do as a business owner it can be very easy to fall prey to the idea that you just have to do more, get more done, and push harder. Except this is a death knell because of the law of diminishing returns. There is only so much as a human being that you can do before things break down. Not to mention trying to do, be, or acquire more is an act of desperation. Like trying to fill a cup with a crack in it. Do less with more focus and you will find yourself earning more and living more. A quality life and profitable business has more to do with the things you subtract from it than the things you keep adding in.
The customer is always right
Taking exceptional care of your customers is a top priority. However, thinking they are always right and that their demands always come first is a recipe for disaster. This is not a powerful position of serving, but a sign of poor boundaries and people pleasing at all costs. You need to release some customers and fire some clients. Some customers will never be happy no matter what you do for them or how far you bend. It’s a losing game that can cripple your business and sour the service you give to the other 99% of your customers who are a pleasure to serve.
Ready for a New Way of Doing Things?
It can be challenging to free ourselves from these myths because they are pervasive and almost expected. Not to mention our mind resists and protests when we veer from these norms. If you are ready for a new way of doing things that leads to more profit and meaning, contact me and let’s talk.