Here’s what they don’t tell you in business school: the most important thing about your business is the relationship you have with it.
Does this sound familiar?
“I resent my business – no one does it right but me”
“Marketing is a nightmare – we serve too many types of clients”
“I’m stretched too thin with staff – we’re doing too many different kinds of things”
“I have no cash flow. I can’t scale – billing by the hour AFTER services are delivered isn’t working”
“I don’t know what is and is not working – I can’t accurately predict or plan”
“I have to do everything myself – I have NO time”
I get it. When I first started my business, I loved it. It was exciting to wake up every day with new ideas and jump out of bed ready to test them. The business grew, and at first, it was amazing! It was what I thought I wanted. But as it grew, it was not the dream I had expected. It took on a life of its own, requiring more from me–more hours, more energy, more stress. Every day, I worked harder and harder, thinking if I could just hire the right COO, give a better speech, create the right marketing campaign, and hit the next financial milestone, then I would have the fabulous entrepreneur’s life I dreamed of.
But no matter how hard I worked, it was never enough. I felt trapped, exhausted, and overwhelmed. And then the 2008 crisis hit! My business nearly went under and I had to temporarily move the office into my home. I needed to get the company back on track financially, but I knew that wasn’t the only problem. I wanted my LIFE back. I knew that business consultants and books weren’t going to get me there–instead I hired a coach. She told me the simple truth that allowed me to change everything else: I had to love my business again.
Once I learned how to manage my mind and leverage my brain, the business scaled much faster. Instead of feeling frustrated and exhausted, I felt energized and fulfilled. I was able to skip the stress, the frustration, and the drama and move directly into creating the life that I really wanted. And it’s not because I’m a unicorn! It’s because love feels GOOD and loving my business meant loving myself, my team, and my life.
This isn’t some new flavor of “woo.” It’s the key to unlocking yourself from the trap you’ve created. When you love your business, it makes it easy to take action. Business owners are high achievers by nature. As achievers, we value hard work and persistence and believe we can always improve. We’re wired to do whatever it takes to succeed. We don’t give up when confronted with obstacles; we work harder. But without the fuel of positive emotion, eventually working harder stops working.
Annie Dillard once said: “The way we spend our days is how we spend our lives.” When I felt trapped by my business, I spent every day feeling dissatisfied and fighting dread. Instead of creative problem solving, I was in react mode–my life became an exercise in putting out fires. There was no space for joy and LOVE was not a word that was even tangentially related to how I felt about my business. I was working for my business, but it was not working for me.
I had to decide ON PURPOSE to love my business no matter what. Feeling connection, appreciation, and desire for your business isn’t just the fastest way to freedom. It’s the fastest way to SAVE YOUR LIFE. Because what kind of life are you living right now? In this moment in history, we all have to realize our responsibility to love–to love ourselves, our businesses, our neighbors, and our communities. It’s how we make progress.