Does Starting a Business Bring Significance to our lives.
I always ask most of the people that I come across “Do you remember why you left your comfortable job to start your own business?” “You must have had a good reason, because nobody hops on the entrepreneurial roller coaster for kicks. It’s tough, it’s a grind and it isn’t for the fainthearted.” And based on my own experience after setting up several startups and after working with dozens of other successful entrepreneurs, I’ve found one of the biggest factors why people create a new business, it is because of their need for significance.
Many people have the desire to feel significant to themselves and mainly they want to feel significant to those they love too. They care about what strangers think of them and they want to be looked at as noteworthy.
Yet as always “Significance” is a double-edged sword.
On one hand, Significance is a powerful drive for you to innovate, be creative and do what nobody else will do. It’s a fundamental part of building something great because if you feel significant (and you’re doing something significant), you push the boundaries and have the all in mindset.
Yet, significance also has the power to create great turmoil in your life because if things don’t go according to plan, you would “feel” it. It gets under your skin and you can soon slip into depression because you want to be significant, but you don’t feel you are, especially when the idea or business that you started don’t get the traction and attention that you thought it will.
The truth might be that a lot of what is fashioned as being an entrepreneur is because of our urge to make ourselves feel significant. As your ideas for being entrepreneur is formed and you start formalizing it as products or projects which you are committed to, meanwhile; this doesn’t provide genuine significance to others but rather it helps us feel more significant within.
This is your business centric ego or self-image, and it’s the dark side of significance that prevents you from moving to the next level. The problem is, we cannot escape the importance of significance, because it’s something every human need.
Being Significant is one of the most important human needs of this era
As a human being, we need significance, we need to be recognized and need to feel our significance to this world. Tony Robbins (a global leader in personal coaching) talks about how we want to meet six core needs in order to build a meaningful life of happiness and abundance, here they are:
Certainty: you need assurances to help you avoid pain and other dangers
Uncertainty/Variety: your need for new and fresh challenges
Significance: your need to feel unique, special and important
Connection/Love: your need to feel loved and be part of a community
Growth: your drive to progress and continue to get bigger and better
Contribution: your need to feel like you’re helping other people and contributing to the society
In both business and personal life, the need to cater these six aspects is mainly a reason for anyone to feel happy and content. Whether you agree with all six of these or not, it doesn’t matter as the point is that significance is an important human trait especially in this era. Because of Social media people seek being recognized hoping to have the rush of being significant to the others and feed the need of being noteworthy.
It has the power to drive you toward creating something special. Yet, when you lack it, you can be twisted into a state of depression, hibernation and lose control over what you’re building. This is why it’s a double-edged sword, and why it’s capable of both making and breaking your business.
The key of being significance is that it isn’t about being in control but rather it’s in the process of letting go. In another meaning, many entrepreneurs or businesses leaders have left their jobs to create a new business because they hated the idea of not feeling significant. Their drive toward significance literally drove them towards entrepreneurship, because with their own business they can feel important and in control. Which leads them to end up doing things that 99 percent of the rest of the people are unwilling to do, all of this is because they are desperate to feel significant. Again, this isn’t bad, as this is where the magic begins. But the point isn’t to be or feel in control. In fact, true success and growth happens when you let go.
At a certain point, you need to accept that your business isn’t about feeding your own significance. It’s about having an impact in that world and providing greater significance to those you serve. The true purpose will come out from the need to delegate and let go of a lot of tasks, the need to remove yourself from certain parts of your business and outsource them to much capable individuals, the need to let go of being an entrepreneur and embrace the idea of becoming a CEO, the need to let go of your business and accept that it’s no longer about you.
It will come down to finally understanding that your business isn’t just about you.
Pushing for being recognized and feeling significant often drives the initial success, because in the beginning it’s that drives you to hustle, take risks, push out of your comfort zone and believe in what you’re doing when everyone else thinks you’re insane. But there comes a time when your significance gets in the way of you achieving what you can. You cling to control and refuse to let go, not because other people are unwilling or incapable, but because you’re afraid you’ll no longer feel important, worthy or significant. The thing again is that your business or startup, isn’t about you, and it never was.
Your business is about other people, and the impact you have on them. Recognition still plays a role, but it’s not about how significant you are, rather how significant your business is. You need to move away from it being about you and make it about your audience, your team and your business as a whole.
This is hard. I see it all the time successful businesses stalling because the people behind them are afraid to let go. They cling to their old mindset, instead of embracing the entrepreneurial mindset they need to take their initial success to the next level. They cling to what was, instead of embracing what comes next.
So, if you’re in the middle of starting a new business, this may not apply to you. Whereas if you’re looking to take your business to the next level, you need to let go and upgrade your mindset. Your future success depends on you finding inner significance elsewhere, outside of your business. You need to look in the mirror and feel happy about the person looking back, to know you’re enough as it is.
You are not your business, and your business cannot be you. This is the only way to go from six to seven figures and it’s the only way you will ever lead a truly successful life with a balance between feeling significant and having a real impact in this world.