“Tell me about your goals.”
“Well… I want a business beyond my wildest dreams… doesn’t everyone?!”
In her voice, a slight tinge of desperation… an unspoken “I refuse be happy until I get there.”
When I started my business, I was also uber-focused on external success. Becoming a millionaire, having a guru online presence, etc.
And then I burned out. I came to see that prioritizing the externals tends to decay the internals… bringing stress, forever grasping, lack of deep fulfillment, etc.
Today, I wish to be average in external metrics, yet lead from the inner qualities.
In a sea of business coaches and marketing experts who all clamor for seven-figure incomes and million-follower fame, I now focus on 3 different things…
1. To become more skillful at my craft.
I work consistently to grow my abilities to Teach and Coach, as well as improve my subject-matter expertise of Building an Authentic Business, which include:
The more skillful I become in these areas, the more my clients and students benefit.
The more they benefit, the more fulfilled I feel, and the more organic word of mouth spreads. And, the more inspired I feel to further improve my craft.
It is a virtuous cycle that helps everyone.
Compare this to my previous set of priorities:
Focusing on money and audience growth creates a vicious cycle of always wanting more and more in the external metrics, and always chasing, yet never quite accessing a reliable level of deep fulfillment in one’s work.
External ambitions tend to cause desperation... manipulation... disappointment... and worst of all, a disconnection from that still small voice within oneself.
External flaunting of success (the usual way that most influencers market themselves) can also create envy in others, and hubris within ourselves.
Fact: the more material things you have (or attention you get), the less there is for others. This is a physical law of conservation of energy, not a “limiting belief.”
Therefore, I try to have enough money, enough attention, rather than always “more”.
On the other hand, do you know what's truly limitless? Internal ambitions and “success” in the inner qualities. It inspires others and brings benefit to all who are touched by your life.
2. To grow in the inner qualities.
It’s not just about making money, or even making an impact. I see work itself as a stage for personal development.
Every moment of each working day, whether I am writing a blog post like this, or taking care of administrative duties, or talking with a client, all of it is an opportunity to practice virtues such as:
I “breathe” one of these values into my activities each day... as many times throughout the day as I’m consciously aware of it.
If I ever find myself thinking “I just have to get this done!”… I realize I have lost touch with the higher purpose of that activity.
It’s never just about "getting something done”, even if I am cleaning the toilet. It is an opportunity given to me by Life to practice mindfulness, being mindful of the inner qualities that can be developed (or eroded) in that very moment.
By focusing on the higher purpose of work, I find a deeper fulfillment in anything I do.
3. To improve my balance.
As my business evolves, so does my schedule.
It is always a work in progress, finding balance between work, rest, and hobbies.
In work, I look for the higher purpose.
In rest, I renew myself for further work.
In hobbies, I stretch my creativity in new directions.
These three core areas of life are true for everyone. (If you have family to take care of, various duties can fit into the above categories, sometimes work, sometimes rest, sometimes hobbies, and some can be done together as a family.)
Life is always giving us new challenges to balance these spheres. Without working on your balance, these can happen:
...are the 3 things I am now aiming for in my business. These are the top priorities.
They are often unmeasurable, not the kind of KPI’s (key performance indicators) that most entrepreneurs measure.
In the external and enviable ways (income and attention) I wish to be merely average. As a business coach, I work to pull up everyone else around me in these outer metrics, helping them attain a sustainable income, while hoping to also inspire them with a desire to grow in the inner qualities as well.
May you also match your own priorities with what truly, deeply fulfills you.
George Kao is a Marketing Coach for small business owners, especially solopreneurs such as Coaches and Mentors. He focuses on ethical & effective ways to grow one's platform and build true livelihood.
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