I think it’s time to redefine the way we view success, especially in light of this past year. Let me explain.
The entrepreneurs I know typically set their happiness bar at an extremely high level. Few kick back and enjoy an ocean view without the company of their work phone and computer. Take them on vacation and say, “Leave the laptop at home, and you are likely to cause a nervous breakdown.”
They love to watch motivation videos, read countless books on the latest marketing trends, and believe they can do it all and have it all—if only they work hard enough. So, they work like crazy to make money to fund whatever they believe will be a fabulous life.
Time Traps Leave You Empty!
The trouble is: when they achieve all they hope to achieve, they still have a searching emptiness inside. This is often when I get a call and hear them talk about purchasing their second or third home, expanding their business, or wildly chasing the next dream.
Dreams are excellent! If we stop dreaming, we’ll die inside. So, dream but look for ways to be balanced in your quests. This is what I teach my financial Alphavest clients to do along with my Perfect Day followers.
I built the platform for Perfect Day on the foundation that says, “Perfect Days are really imperfect.” It is what we do with them that counts. The key to success is not found in a story-book existence but in learning to live fully now. That’s good advice for each one of us, who have felt the impact of the Coronavirus in some way.
If there’s not balance in your life, you end up hitting a wall of disappointment. Or you may find yourself overworking to the point that it costs you the very things that contain the most value—your family, your network of friends, your team at work, and your real life values. You compromise and you lose.
Do You Set Goals for Your Personal Life?
People who are highly motivated usually are great at setting goals for their businesses, but my question is: “Have you ever set and kept meaningful goals in your personal life?”
Do you start your business year by planning and calculating how much time you will spend with your spouse and children? Do you ask how to nourish yourself properly, physically and spiritually, or do you push past all the warning signs and focus only on business growth.
Many of you have spent the last few months at home with limited access to your office. I hope that you can say with me that you have rediscovered the things that are the most important—the things that money cannot purchase!
I’m a financial adviser along with being a Perfect Day engineer, and I know the value of taking time to be with my daughters even when work is pulling on me. I also have learned the positive things that come from sitting and listening to my husband and not allowing my mind to wander to far-away places.
Sure, I understand what it feels like when you get caught between office and loved ones. And yes, I have heard the voice inside my head trying to convince me that if I switch and begin to focus on my life from within, then I’ll lose money, or my business will suffer.
This is when I stop the chatter and ask: “What if I spend too much time on my business? How will that be detrimental to my personal life—to my health, relationships, and even my weight!
Would you change your approach if you knew you would win at being a parent and also an entrepreneur?
What if you adopted a “you-centric” way of living instead of the “business-centric” approach that may “gross” you a solid income but net you a meager emotional life?
My caution is: Don’t confuse the means for the end! Everyone is working for money, but ask yourself: “What is the money for?” Some people are purely in the wrong profession, but they stay for the money! I’m here to tell you that it is true: life is much more than a paycheck! Money in the bank is a good thing but unless you have joy and happiness, you are running at a deficit.
Money Does Solve Everything
People mistakenly believe that money—lots of it—is the end result. In reality, it is just a means to what you really want, which is a feeling. So, what’s the feeling?
The feeling that you are successful. The irony is that you could have that feeling right now if you just took a look at your life and saw just how much you already have accomplished.
Let’s make something clear: You need money to survive! I’m a financial advisor, so I’m the last one to denigrate the importance of money in life. What I’m saying is that when you place so much emphasis is on money, you’re going to end up with way too much stress and not enough money!
The fact is when you are on your deathbed, you won’t look up at those who are there and say, “I wish I had spent more time working.” So, why would you say that now by the way you structure your days and life?
Your resume virtues have to do with your titles, your credentials, and income. Your epitaph virtues have to do with the love you share with the people around you, the service you provide to your community, and the contributions you make.
Do What You Love and Love What You Do
As the expression goes: “What you take with you is what you leave behind!” Believe it or not, right now is an excellent time to turn your life around. 2020 has been a year of losses and difficulty. So—
• Lift up your head from your laptop, put down your cell phone, and think about the epitaph virtues that you would like to be remembered for. Start your life with the end of your life in mind! This will teach you to live better each day beginning right now.
• Stop looking for every day to be perfect. I have seen people work way into the night and not leave the office for fear that something was left undone. Change your epitaph and change your success story!
• Set goals that may seem a little out of step for you—not just for your business but for your personal life. Put happiness first. Then begin to put the energy and intentionality to see personal goals take shape.
Sir Richard Branson is one of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs—not just because of his wealth but by how much he gives back. He has a letter that is posted on his website entitled
“Dear Stranger.” I’m convinced that regardless of his lifestyle, he has tapped into what makes him the happiest:
“Dear Stranger, I know I’m fortunate to live an extraordinary life, and that most people would assume my business success, and the wealth that comes with it, have brought me happiness. But they haven’t; in fact, it’s the reverse. I am successful, wealthy, and connected because I’m happy.”
• Do what you love and love what you do! Own your own success story. Entrepreneurs believe you have to “work on” their business rather than in their companies. They think every minute needs to be spent doing tasks—tasks that could be delegated. When every task has to pass over your desk first, there is less time for planning, strategy, and personal growth. Let go of what is strangling you to the point of exhaustion.
Chances are, whatever you want to do—within reason—is attainable within the next 12 months. It’s not about finding the money; it is about finding the commitment. Hard-driven entrepreneurs who see life almost entirely in financial terms believe that you can solve pretty much any problem by throwing money at it.
That’s not true. If you think you can throw a lot of money at your spouse now, just wait and see how much money you are throwing when the divorce decree becomes final. If you think you’re spending a lot of money on your kids, compensating them out of guilt for the lack of time and attention you’re able to give to them, wait until you get the therapy bill a few years down the line.
My advice for 2021 is this: figure out what you really want. Budget the time to make it happen. Then, and only then, figure out how you’ll achieve it. I believe if you want to live life to the fullest, you must first put your energy, your time, and your money into your own life. Meet the needs of yourself and your loved ones first. Then allow your business to grow around these vital priorities—instead of dominating your life.
Either you mold your business around your lifestyle, or your lifestyle becomes consumed by the eternal quest of returning the next email or answering the next phone call. If business always comes first, your life becomes . . . well, just leftovers.
I work with entrepreneurs and executives to solve the problems that are preventing them from enjoying life and success. Perfect Days are possible, with the right priorities in place!
Most of you are familiar with my Perfect Day approach but if you need a “checkup” or you have never heard how easy it is to have more perfect days, please sign up for a free consultation with me or catch my free Perfect Day webinar! Regardless, let me hear how I can work alongside you!