See an updated version of this post here:
“Tell me about your goals.”
“Well… I want a business beyond my wildest dreams… doesn’t everyone?!”
In her voice, I felt a slight tinge of desperation… an unspoken “I refuse be happy until I get there.”
When I first started my business, I was also uber-focused on external success. 6 figure / 7 figure income, million-follower online presence, etc.
And then I burned out, and realized that prioritizing the externals tends to decay the internals… with stress, forever grasping, lack of fulfillment, etc.
Today, I wish to be average in external metrics, and lead from the inner qualities.
In a sea of business coaches and marketing experts, all clamoring for seven-figure incomes and million-follower fame, I now focus on 3 different things…
1. To become more skillful at my craft.
I work consistently to grow my abilities to Teach and Coach, as well as improve my subject-matter expertise of Building an Authentic Business, which include:
- Authentic Content Marketing
- Clarifying Core Message
- Product-Market Fit (what I call Resonant Marketing)
- Paid Advertising (e.g. Facebook Ads)
- Client Generation
- Online Course Creation & Marketing
- Website Marketing
The more skillful I become in these areas, the more my clients and students benefit.
The more they benefit, the more fulfilled I feel, and the more organic word of mouth spreads.
And the more inspired I feel to further improve my craft.
It is a virtuous cycle that helps everyone.
Compare this to my previous set of priorities:
Focusing on money and audience growth creates a vicious cycle of always wanting more, more, more in the external metrics, and always chasing, yet never quite accessing a constant level of deep fulfillment in one’s work.
External ambitions tend to cause desperation, manipulation, disappointment, and disconnection from the still small voice within oneself.
External flaunting of success (the usual way that most influencers market themselves) can create envy in others, and hubris within ourselves.
The more material things you have (or attention you get), the less there is for others. This is a physical law of conservation of energy, not a “limiting belief.” Therefore, I try to have enough money, enough attention, rather than always “more”.
Internal ambitions and “success” in the inner qualities, however, are truly limitless. It inspires others and brings benefit to all who are touched by your life.
2. To grow in the inner qualities.
It’s not just about making money or even making an impact. I see work itself as a stage for personal development.
Every moment of each working day, whether I am writing a blog post like this, or taking care of administrative duties, or talking with a client, all of it is an opportunity to practice:
I “breathe” one of these values into my activities everyday, and as many times throughout the day as I’m consciously aware of it.
If I ever find myself thinking “I just have to get this done!”… I realize I have lost touch with the higher purpose of that activity.
It’s never just about getting something “done”, even if I am cleaning the toilet. It is an opportunity given by Life to practice mindfulness, being mindful of the inner qualities that can be developed (or eroded) in that very moment.
By focusing on the higher purpose of work, I find a deeper fulfillment in anything I do.
3. To improve my balance.
As my business evolves, so does my schedule.
It is always a work in progress, finding of balance between work, rest, and hobbies.
In work, I look for the higher purpose.
In rest, I renew myself for further work.
In hobbies, I stretch my creativity in new directions.
These three core areas of life are true for everyone. (If you have family to take care of, various family duties can fit into the above categories, sometimes work, sometimes rest, sometimes hobbies, done together.)
Life is always giving us new challenges to balance these spheres. Without working on your balance, these can happen:
- Burnout (too much work)
- Financial distress (not enough work / too much rest or hobbies)
- Lack of fulfillment (not enough hobbies or purpose-awareness in work)
- To become more skillful at my craft.
- To grow in the inner qualities.
- To improve my balance between work, rest, and hobbies.
These are the 3 things I am now always aiming for in my business. These are the top priorities. They are often unmeasurable, not the kind of KPI’s (key performance indicators) that most entrepreneurs measure.
In the external and enviable ways (income and fame) I want to be merely average.
As a business coach, I work to pull up everyone around me in these outer metrics, helping them attain at least a livable income, while personally aiming to inspire them with a desire to also grow in the inner qualities.
May you also match your own priorities with what truly, deeply fulfills you.