How to stay sane, focused & fulfilled while building your business
If you’re like most business owners, you probably began your business with aspirations of wealth, freedom and fulfilment. But the reality isn’t so easy, right?
So let’s take a deeper look at what it takes to live a meaningful, fulfilling life.
The problem: Life in business
The demands of running your own business are intense. Unlike employees, who can often just clock-in, do their job and then clock out, the job of a business owner never truly ends.
You carry your business with you, always. If you’re not negotiating prices, influencing customers, managing staff, chasing cash-flow or doing one of the other myriad of tasks necessary to keep the business operating, you’re thinking about the business, about solutions, about opportunities or threats. So much for a balanced lifestyle!
Thankfully, our brains and systems are wired to cope with a certain amount of stress. You know the famous analogy about the line you see on the ICU monitor that constantly jumps up and down? It’s a good sign — you don’t want a static flat line!
But there’s a limit. Unless you have a way to manage the stressors, challenges and disappointments that life will throw at you, you stop being a good owner and manager. Running the business becomes onerous, and eventually life becomes unfulfilling. And when that happens, many owners give up or fight on until their bodies give up.
The truth of the matter is that business owners choose to live in a frantic world. Your clients want immediate responses, your staff need guidance, your suppliers demand payment, and all the while you need to provide for your family. And naturally, all this places incredible stress on you and robs you of the ability to remain calm and focused, let alone fulfilled.
So what can you do? Are business owned doomed to live stressful, unfulfilling lives?
The mindful living system: 5 key practices
Thankfully, there are practices that can empower you to stay sane, focused and fulfilled while building a successful business.
At their core, these practices are about living more mindfully — that is, becoming more aware, more conscious, of how you react to events, and then choosing more deliberately and intentionally how you’ll respond.
There are 5 key practices that comprise a mindful living system:
- Inspiration: Your first step is to identify your ‘core purpose’. Your core purpose is an expression of what’s really important to you in life — your values — and especially the values that relate to the impact you want to have on others. Crystalising those values into a clear purpose statement can inspire and motivate you to live up to that purpose, infusing your life with more meaning and fulfillment.
- Application: There’s a wide chasm between coming up with a purpose statement and living that purpose day to day. That’s why your second step is to apply your high-level purpose across the various domains of your life: from your home right through to your work. That means identifying clear goals for each domain as well as practical ‘actions plans’ to bring those goals to life.
- Interpretation: What happens when you’re faced with challenges and setbacks that threaten to knock you and your well-laid plans off course? Running a business is full of challenges, stressors and disappointments, which is why you’ll need to stay balanced and resilient even when the going gets tough. And that’s where the skill of reframing come in. Reframing is about interpreting challenges deliberately, not just reactively, and then reframing those challenges in terms of opportunities to growth and learn.
- Reflection: What if what’s holding you back from achieving your purpose — and the success you’re after — is not some external setback or challenge? What if it’s you? What if you’ve made a mistake? And what if you’re not entirely sure what you should learn from it or what you should do differently in the future? This is where you’ll need to build skills for reflecting on and learning from unsuccessful experiences, even where the lessons are not obvious, so you continue to grow — personally and in your business.
- Integration: How do you ensure that these practices become integrated into your daily life? It’s one thing to learn about these ideas or try to them out once or twice. But it’s another thing entirely to make them a habit, a part your life, such that they affect you and help you in a lasting, ongoing way. That’s why you’ll need to integrate these practices into a step-by-step mindful living system that you apply regularly — not unlike a fitness regime — with a way to hold you accountable for staying on track.
If you can learn and implement those 5 practices, you’ll increase your sense of balance, focus and fulfillment, even in the face of challenges. And if you’d like more guidance on how to apply these practices to your life, grab our new book, The Mindful Entrepreneur. You can even get the first 2 chapters FREE right here.
All the best,
Originally published at mindfulentrepreneur.co on September 20, 2016.