One of the megatrends of this New Millennium is home based small businesses. Millions are finding new levels of independence and freedom from being their own boss. Unfortunately, many new business owners also are finding that working for themselves isn’t always as rewarding or fulfilling as it could be. Here’s one proven technique for bringing more fun, focus and fulfillment to your work. By the way, it also works if you’re employed by someone else.
Have your values and vision shape your business.
All too often, entrepreneurs are pulled into a new business venture because of the promise or opportunity of large profits. Now, don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing wrong with making money from your business. After all, most businesses are known as “for profit enterprises.” I’m only suggesting that many people find having profit be the primary force shaping their business isn’t as fun or fulfilling as having their values and vision shape their enterprise.
I realize this isn’t new. It’s been said dozens of different ways, including, “Do what you love and the money will follow.” It dates back at least to the time of Confucius who said, “Choose a job you love and you will never work a day in your life.” But, it’s worth repeating. As the new minister replied when his congregation asked why he was repeating the same sermon over and over. “Well, as soon as you start living this first message, we’ll go on to the next one.” Many people are still allowing the “almighty dollar” to shape their businesses, and then wondering why they aren’t happy or satisfied with their work.
The secret to creating a business or career that is both nurturing to the soul as well as to the pocket book is, as theologian Frederick Buechner said, to find where “your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” There you will find a job, a career, a business, and a life worth living.
How do you go about finding that place? Start with some a little reflection. The following simple process will get you started in “Priming the Passion Pump:”
1. What do you love to do? Look at times in your life when you were most alive, excited, in love with life. What were you doing during those moments? Who were you with? Ask people who know you when they’ve noticed you most alive and enthusiastic.
2. What kind of people do you love to be with? Answer this both specifically (as in the specific people you love to be with) and in general (as in the types of people you enjoy). What are some of the things you could do in your life that would give you the opportunity to spend more time with these people?
3. If money, time, energy, and talent were unlimited, what would you do with your life and who would you be? (Notice if it’s difficult to imagine any particular one of these being unlimited, and if this happens, see if you can let go of that judgement).
4. What values are most important to you? It’s important to distinguish between the values that you think you should feel are important, and the ones you choose of your own free will.
This will get you started on finding the “deep gladness” inside you that will bring much more fun, focus and fulfillment to any venture you take on, business or otherwise.