Not so long ago, I was asked what my parting words of wisdom would be if the end was near. Actually, the example given to me was that we were on a plane that was going down.
In all honesty, I would have been thinking of a strategy to get off the plane in one piece. Nonetheless, the question got me thinking about how to sum up over twenty years of experience into a succinct answer.
This wasn’t so easy at first. So I have a few sub-headings below where I want to elaborate and really make clear what I have learned, and what I mean to pass on.
But, if I could summarise it in a sentence? I would have to say that my parting advice is this...
Live your life, and build a business of no regrets.
A nice, quotable sentence, don’t you think? But I want to break this down a little and make it more practical for you. So join me on a journey through purpose, passion and lifestyle: these are, I believe, essential ingredients for any happy and fulfilling life.
But often entrepreneurs overlook some, if not all of these important factors.
Firstly – Really Know Your Purpose
I really, truly believe that having your purpose at the core of everything you do is the ‘secret sauce’ to fulfillment – if there ever was such a thing!
I am not saying I believe in magic. In fact, if you’ve ever met me or heard me speak, then you know I’m one of the first to warn people that the ‘business fairies’ don’t exist.
But can we make our own ‘magic’? In a sense, I think we can. We can certainly find our way to being happy, fulfilled and ‘on purpose’ as entrepreneurs. But as you know, it’s not all fun and games, and it is certainly not glamorous either.
You have to be prepared to work, push past fears and let go of making excuses.
When you have your purpose at the core of everything you do, then everything will feel worthwhile. The truth is that purpose is the key factor in building the right business for you. I have met very wealthy business owners who are just so bored with what they are doing that they cannot wait to get away from it.
I have also worked with very poor business owners who were absolutely on fire about what they were building.
My experiences have shown me that, although money is very important, and indeed without it you don’t really have business, it is not the only thing that matters. To ‘get it right’ in business, you need to be following your purpose.
Secondly – Ask Yourself Regularly, Is This Your Passion?
A lot of people come into entrepreneurship as an escape route from a job, thinking they are going to suddenly gain their freedom. Little do they realize at the time that business is really tough and comes with a whole heap of stress too.
If you come into business chasing money, freedom and status, you could easily end up building the wrong thing: your focus will be in the wrong place. And I’ve made this mistake too, more than once. It actually wasn’t until my 5th business that I got it right.
So what does ‘getting it right’ actually look like? You will know if you are building the right business by the way you feel first thing in the morning. If you are led by a genuine passion for the product or service you bring to the world, you will want to get straight to it every day.
And what if you are building the ‘wrong thing’ for you? I am sure you have guessed it by now: you will have energy for it in the early days mostly due to the sheer terror at the responsibility you now have hanging over you!
But as time wears on, your enthusiasm will wain. In short, you will feel as uninspired as you did waking up for that job – you know, that one you escaped from by building a business.
If we don’t truly love what we are doing, then a business can feel just as much of a trap as a job.
But now you have the added pressure of being the boss.
The only way to get out of bed and work everyday without feeling trapped is to love what we do. It’s about passion – that’s what gets us through.
And Thirdly – Keep Your Work/Life Balance In Check
I know that social media is full of motivation quotes and images, telling you to ‘hustle harder’, or ‘go hard or go home’. You know what? Sometimes you should go home! It may not be said often enough in the small business space, but I’m willing to say it.
Family is important, LIFE outside of business is important. And time out is absolutely critical for your stamina.
You can keep going and going if you want to. But then when you finally burn yourself out, you will not only stop progressing, but you will actually slip backwards and undo years of good work too. So be smart about this!
So, the plane is going down…
In a nutshell, here it is. Plan your downtime; plan some fun, family time and adventures too.
Whether your primary motivator is wealth, freedom, or something else – none of these things can be taken with you when you are gone. So give some real thought to the legacy you are leaving behind; not just money, but memories too.
Build a life and a business of no regrets, and be remembered as someone who lived and worked ‘on purpose’.