Success without the Sacrifice

Do you subscribe to the philosophy that it takes sacrifice to grow a successful business?  That you must be willing to give up everything?  Be willing to put in overtime and mortgage the house, get into debt,  eat, breath, and sleep your  business?

It’s what I’d heard most of my life.  In fact it seems that in order to achieve any worthwhile goal this is the approach that many take.    When I take a good honest look at this philosophy it just doesn’t make much sense.  After all, what was the reason you went into business in the first place?  In fact let’s pause for a minute and take a look at your reasons for embarking on your journey as an entrepreneur.

First and foremost you wanted personal freedom.  The idea of being your own boss and calling all the shots appeals to you.  Actually it’s a requirement for you to be happy.  When you worked for someone else you were often frustrated and felt smothered.  You most likely had some great ideas for how you thought the company should be run, but no way to follow through with them because it wasn’t your business – it was someone else’s.  You have a very strong sense that there is more for you then working a J-O-B.

You have a purpose in life.  You might not be completely clear what that is, but you want to live out that purpose and mission in every aspect of your life.  You also are tired of other people telling you what you should do, how you should do it, and how you should act, look and feel.  You want to be real.  You want to be YOU.  You are still discovering who you are, but you’ve learned so much and you want to be free to continue to learn and grow.

So what are you willing to sacrifice for this dream of yours?  I’ll admit there are some adjustments that you might need to make to achieve your dream. You might need to tighten your belt a bit for a while and eat in instead of going out to dinner every other night.  You’ll probably want to look at all your household and business expenses and see where you can trim down and free up some cash as well.  A biggie for me was giving up long phone chats with my girlfriends, or at least cutting back a bit.  That is a sacrifice for me because I LOVE my ‘girlfriend’ time.  So there ARE some things that you might chose to sacrifice for the sake of growing your business if you look closely enough at your lifestyle.  I am willing to give up eating sushi out as often and lengthy phone calls, but I am absolutely, positively not willing to sacrifice myself and my family!  But, I confess, I have, and I bet you have too. We’ve done this without even being aware of it.  Like when I choose to work late on the computer instead of spending time with the kids; when I said, “I’m busy” when my son or daughter came to talk about something; when I worked through breakfast and lunch and ended up grumpy and drained at the end of the day, or I skipped a morning walk so I could get right to work after hopping out of bed.  I did this all because I was not honoring myself and my high priority values.

It really is amazing what we do give up for the sake of success. But what is success really?  When I looked up success in the dictionary I found the following definitions: 1. Achievement of intention; 2. Attainment of fame, wealth, or power; 3. Something that turns out well.

How do you define success? Is it the flexibility to grab the opportunity for a chat with your daughter or son when the opportunity arises?  Or perhaps you define success as the lines between play and work being blurred.  Maybe it’s discovering the work that you are so passionate about and seeing how it makes a difference for others.

In my Holy Groundwork Process one of the first steps is to create what I call your VIP Visual.   Your Vision, Inspiration and Purpose comes from and through you.  It is an expression of you in the most real and divine sense.  One of the components of a Conscious Business according to my coach, Christine Kloser is “A Conscious Business calls me to be more of who I am.”  Your Conscious Business is an expression of YOU and your most divine purpose and mission.

So why would you sacrifice YOU, and what you say are your highest priorities and deepest desires? You wouldn’t!  At least consciously you wouldn’t, but subconsciously yes, we’ve determined you (and I) will.

So it’s wake up time.  Let’s consciously move forward from here by being clear about what you are willing to sacrifice in order to realize your vision, and what is absolutely non-negotiable.

Again, reflect on your VIP; your true vision for your life and business, what inspires you and brings you joy, and what is your sense of your purpose at this point in your life.   In your journal write down your definition of success.  Be specific about what you really want from your life and business.

Here’s an exercise  to help you become clearer about your definition of success.  Draw a line down the center of a clean page.  On the left, list what you are willing to give up (at least for now) in order to realize true success or achieve your next goal.  On the right of the chart list what you will absolutely NOT sacrifice for the sake of success.  In fact these are a requirement in order for you to realize true success the way you define it!

This blog post is adapted from my book I AM, Inc.  Conscious Business Success Through Self Discovery.