Overwhelmed. Tired. Depressed. Stressed. This is how I felt having created a business that was a reflection of me without really knowing who I was and what I wanted from my life. I was tired, unhappy, in chaos and felt like my world was coming down around me. The world was in recession and I was caught in the eye of the storm. The business I’d put seven years of hard work and energy into—sacrificing several other parts of my life and relationships—was on the brink of collapse.
All this said I had a strategy to survive. Want to know what it was? Check my emails at 10:49 p.m.
I felt pretty happy with myself as I’d found a way to cradle my newborn son and check emails by wedging his milk bottle under my neck to see notifications that were “far more important” than this special moment. And to think, back then, this felt normal to me. Told you I was lost.
It had taken my wife and I a few years to have a child, with heartbreak and painful memories along the way, but finally, we had a beautiful and healthy son—and here I was checking emails.
I was seriously overwhelmed.
Why? Because I had no ‘why’.
I realized there must be a better way to live. That’s when I chose to get some professional help. All the books I’d read, the blogs, webinars, they made me feel better for a day or so, gave me hope, but none of it solved the root cause of my problems.
I became an EMyth Coaching Client and the very first ‘business development’ process was called Values, Passion and Purpose. You begin the process by answering questions about why you do what you do. What are your core values? How do you want to be remembered? What do you want out of your life?
Hang on a second, I thought, I’m paying you to help me create a successful business and this process has nothing to do with business. Are you serious?
I’d spent years as a business owner battling with the profit and loss of my organization, thinking that it was all just about money when there actually was a bigger piece of the puzzle missing: I needed to create a values-led business that would give me MORE life. It started with Values, Passion and Purpose.
Values, Passion and Purpose is, for me, one of the most powerful pieces of life and business development work you’ll ever undertake. If you go ‘all in’ to get clear about what you want for your life, you’ll start to see the bigger picture and be able to take steps to create a business that truly serves you and reflects your core values. This process underpins creating a healthy, nourishing, and sustainable business that means something to you on a deep level. This may sound a little woo-woo, but trust me, I speak from experience, this process is a game-changer no matter how lost you may feel.
Here’s how to start:
- Get away from the office
- Be transparent with yourself
- Go outside your comfort zone
Now, ask yourself:
- What DON’T you want in your life?
Write down everything that’s frustrating, causing stress, anger or overall dissatisfaction. It doesn’t matter if it’s directly because of your business or not. When you’re frustrated with your business, it’s easy to express that frustration in other parts of your life as well. The same is said in reverse. But if you know what’s bothering you, you can work to find a solution.
- What DO you want in your life?
Understanding what you want for your life, will help you build a business that supports it. Say you want more time with your family like I did, what could you change in your business that would allow you to have more time at home?
- What are your priorities and what’s in your way?
Owning a business can be frustrating. It can be tough. And if your situation sounds similar to what mine was you’re probably feeling overwhelmed and always trying to catch up. But, for a second, start small. Maybe the solution is hiring more employees, but right now, that’s not within your budget. Write that down anyway. It’s a goal you can expand upon later, and even if it doesn’t seem tangible now, you’ll know what you need, and can start working to get there.
Values, Passion and Purpose will bring far more clarity about who you are and what it is you want from your life, so you can start living with more intention. This is all about taking back your life. We’re only here once, so why not make the most of it?
I realized that a lot of the challenging situations I’d had in my life were because I wasn’t clear about my vision, my core values, and my purpose. I made lots of changes inside and outside of myself. I chose to use my experience to do something I love, coaching and training, something that had always been inside me but had gradually been buried underneath all the stuff that got in the way. I chose to spend time with my children. I wanted to enjoy the ups and the downs with them. I realized I didn’t want to be looking back over my life at 80 years old, wishing I’d seen more of them as they grew up.
The “life-changing” email you’ve been waiting for at 10:49 p.m. won’t arrive. It didn’t for me. Instead, I had an epiphany. I put my phone down and vowed to wake up and take advantage of everything life has to offer, rather than to keep chasing an ill-judged and vacant dream of being the next Richard Branson. I chose life and there’s a visceral feeling that comes along with that that money can’t buy. Choose yourself, everyone else is taken.