I will be the first to admit that I despise acting as an authority on anything. Anyone who knows enough knows they don’t know it all and therefore necessarily balks at giving advice. But I have learned a thing or two about living mindfully, being present, and incorporating deep gratitude and appreciation into my everyday activities. And I have some nuggets to dispense whether you like it or not.
Over the last few years I have struggled to expand my business. This has been both demoralizing in the long-term and heartbreaking in the short. Whether this is due to the pressure I put on myself, familial pressure, or societal pressure, doesn’t much matter. It gnaws at me nonetheless. But each day you pick yourself up and take a few steps back and realize you are doing your best and that’s okay. One of the benefits of living as an entrepreneur is not having to rely on other people to create your life goals, to define the boundaries of upward mobility, the lengths of employment, and potential for growth both personally and professionally. It is also one of the inherent downsides. Oh how I long for the days when money was magically deposited in my bank account on a regular 2 week cycle. That was nice. The daily grind can result in a time sucking black hole so large you struggle to see beyond it, creating roadblocks to forming larger concepts for your brand’s immediate needs and long-term goals.
I see similar frustrations in my friends who do not own their own businesses. In the struggle to secure any long-term employment prospects, create a savings, maintain fulfilling relationships, carve out some personal time, and live up to their parent’s expectations, long-term goal setting becomes damn near impossible. Maybe it’s a generational thing. Wouldn’t that be nice? Blame it on too many choices. Blame it on the economy. Blame it on your parents! Maybe it’s that simple and maybe it’s not but here’s what I do to keep myself on track when I’m feeling limited in my resources whether they be time, money, access, ideas… ask yourself these three very simple questions…
WHAT DO I KNOW?
WHAT DO I DO?
WHAT DO I LOVE?
What do you know that no one taught you? In other words what is your natural specialty? What are you good at and maybe you don’t know why?
What do you do that no one made you? What would you do if no one paid you? What do you do with your time off from your daily grind?
What do you love without knowing why? What activity or endeavor brings you the most joy? What about your life makes you feel fulfilled?
Think of each question as a point on a graph. Maybe you’re farther along in one area of your life than another. For example, you’re in a successful relationship but unemployed. Or you love your job but see no upward mobility. In order to create movement toward your goals concentrate on moving the points closer to each other until they form a line. When you get there you’ll know you’re moving in the right direction.
I’m not talking about creating balance. Balance implies an ongoing, active struggle to focus an all things with the same intensity which is not possible and also not advisable. What I’m talking about is asking yourself how daily decisions and behaviors align which your core ideals (what do I know), your goals (what do I do), and your passions (what do I love). Weigh every decision against bringing these things in line.