What a difference a decade makes!
The older I get, and the more experience I have under my belt, the more I appreciate the perspective both provide.
In my twenties and thirties, the main focus of my career was to support my family financially.
Yes, I wanted to enjoy my work since I spent every day doing it, but it was just work. While I’ve always been driven, back then I was pretty good about leaving my work at the office and coming home and enjoying my life and my family.
When I started my first business, my goal was to be home with my children more.
While making money was important—the business needed to be profitable for me to continue working from home—I only worked about 30 hours a week. I did what I needed to do to support my clients and the business, but it was far from all-consuming.
In 2003 everything changed.
Although I wouldn’t realize it for years.
In 2003, I was introduced to the world of personal development—the “success” industry if you will.
Once I began going to seminars, my focus began shifting from “working to create a life I could enjoy” to “becoming financially free.” I spent years chasing financial freedom and higher and higher levels of success (which I share in my book). It became all-consuming. I didn’t realize until 2009 that I had lost sight of the reason I got into business in the first place.
Yes, I gained some valuable knowledge at all those conferences. But they also changed me.
After having stepped away from it all, I have a new perspective.
While the industry’s intentions may be good, I believe it tends to make people focus too much on themselves. Too much on finding their purpose, as if that’s the most important thing in life. Too much on becoming financially free, as if you can’t have a great life unless you are. Too much on making more money and serving more clients, as if your worth is measured on how successful your business is. Too much on serving yourself, your needs, and your desires—although many of the messages are made to sound less me-focused by saying “the more money you make the more people you’re helping.” Sounds good. Not sure I buy its authenticity given the primary message almost always seems to be “let me teach you how to make all this money and live the life of your dreams.”
I’m not saying you shouldn’t take care of yourself or you shouldn’t make money. Both are necessary. However, it can’t be all about you. It’s not healthy. It’s not good for your relationships. It’s not good for our world.
I’d argue this self-centered focus will actually prevent you from finding money, success, and happiness.
Because whenever you’re so focused on something, you become myopic—blind to the rest of the world around you. And you miss out on so much. Including opportunities that might actually help you achieve your dreams, that you may never have thought of on your own.
In the last year, since I wrote Breaking the Spell, I have stopped constantly focusing on what I need to do to make my business more successful.
Instead, I am focusing on what shows up.
And while I’ve not been focusing on business, business opportunities that are exactly in line with the work I love to do have come to me. Instead of me trying to figure out what I should be doing or how to make it happen, my purpose seems to be finding me. And surprising me, too!
How about you?
If you’re all-consumed by your business and your quest to get more clients, make more money, and be more successful, I’d encourage you to step back and make sure you’re not chasing it all too hard. It’s scary how easily it can grab a hold of you and throw your whole perspective and life out of whack.
Instead, be open to what is showing up. Be willing to take action on inspired ideas. Follow where you’re being called instead of always feeling like you have to be in the driver’s seat. Trust your heart, even if in the moment it doesn’t make sense, or is difficult. If it feels right, do it. And see what happens.
You just may be surprised by the results. I have been.