Finding the perfect fit between a gorgeous lifestyle and a flourishing business is the stuff of dreams. There are a few remarkable people who seem to navigate life with such finesse they barely break a sweat, and there’s the rest of us who feel as though we’re standing on shifting sands trying to keep our balance while all around us chaos reigns.
You’re not alone – everyone who strives to build a business and a home life comes face to face with finding their fit at some point in their journey – but there is hope, even when your business demands more time and energy than you think you can spare.
I’ll introduce you to the the first of five principles of finding your business and lifestyle fit. In the interests of full disclosure, you can expect it to be hard at first – if it wasn’t you’d already be doing it, right? Life will happen, you’ll slip, old routines will feel so much more comfortable and inviting and your determination will be tested. With this series under your belt you’ll know how to right yourself again, and in time, though you’ll need to tinker with it occasionally as life evolves, the new habits and routines will take hold and your fit will begin to come naturally.
STEP ONE: DREAM
Wait, shouldn’t we be talking about goals? Well yes. But not yet – that comes later. First you need to create the big picture of what you want and the best way to do that is to dream. Pause for a moment and envisage your dream business and life fit; what does it look and feel like? Create a dream that lights you up and fires your enthusiasm. One that is worthy of commanding your time and attention; a dream that feels so powerful, saying no to others will be made easier by remembering it.
If you’re an overachiever who thrives on rapid movement and results, stopping briefly to dream may well sound like the last thing you need to do, but it’s the first. Your dream gives form to the order and structure you create for your life. The goals you set, the plans that step you toward those goals, the boundaries that allow you to stay focused on reaching them, and the decisions you make about how you spend your time and your energy. Your dream is both the end game and the starting point.
Skipping directly to goal setting shifts your focus solely to the outcome bypassing two vital elements that makes finding the fit easier; emotional connection and an understanding of what motivates you. Understanding why your dream matters allows you to create plans which are grounded in meaning, more targeted and more closely aligned to making your dream a reality.
When I started my business I was setting ballsy financial targets with the same vigor that had always motivated me and proved so successful in my corporate career. Far from motivating me in my new environment it had the opposite effect. Outside of my corporate career different things mattered. I’d chosen to set up my business to help others find and enjoy their leadership and lifestyle fit. Thinking about revenue made that venture seem insincere; a major block to a successful business! I realised no money = no business and no service to anyone! Not to mention, stronger revenue meant the funds to employ others and free myself up to focus on helping people find their fit. Realising what my financial goal would allow me to do forged the emotional connection between where I was and where I wanted to be, creating a pull strong enough to build and sustain my motivation.
Tap into your dream often
A few minutes each day spent dwelling on the thought – and feelings – of your dream coming true has a disproportionately powerful effect. Aside from the immediate emotional, mental and physical boost, your subconscious mind is incapable of discerning a difference between what’s real and what’s imagined, so imagined is as good as done. When there’s a gap between what you’re imagining and what’s happening your subconscious will try to remedy it by widening your view so you begin to notice things you’d overlooked before. As a result, things often happen quicker. Think of the last time you wanted something so badly you began noticing it everywhere. It was always there, your brain was just filtering it out.
Still with me? Let me share a personal example. Several years ago on Christmas day, I sat on a beach, daydreamed what I’d love my life to look like in two years then began writing out my goals. The biggest was to own a family home walking distance to the beach. Newly divorced with a small deposit sitting in an investment property, it seemed unlikely, yet in nine months I was moving into a three bedroom house, seven minutes walk to the beach. How? The goal meant so much to me that I thought – and talked – about it often and as I did people and opportunities abounded. My brother helped me find a buyer for the investment property (which tripled my deposit) then helped me figure out my finances and mortgage parameters. My father helped me find a place I loved and when it came to taking on the mortgage I felt mentally and emotionally prepared. If you look back over your life, you may even see one or two times when a dream of yours became reality quicker through the sheer force of desire!
Create a plan that takes in achievement, enjoyment and learning
Dreaming is the fun part. It’s when you start turning that plan into action that you’ll be tested. Breaking old, long-established habits takes time and is uncomfortable. You’ll question whether the dream is worth all the effort and wonder whether – actually – the status quo isn’t that bad after all. Check back with your dream – if you were to look back in three months, will you be wishing you stuck with the status quo or wishing you’d persevered?
To prevent your dreams from collecting dust, create plans and goals that support it which address achievement, learning and enjoyment. While achievement is absolutely necessary for progress, learning keeps you mentally agile, relevant in your industry and provides business insights that can propel you ahead of the competition. Enjoyment replaces some of the energy you’re investing in the business with energy you generate through positive experiences.
Get comfortable celebrating your success
High achievers and a great many women often struggle with acknowledging their success, yet it’s one of the simplest ways to continue momentum and to build our confidence.
Taking a break to reflect on what you’ve achieved and to celebrate – or simply savour the moment –is essential to sustaining your energy and motivation. Crediting yourself with the part you played, the challenge you’ve overcome or the wins you’ve achieved will build your confidence and optimism, both of which are always sorely needed when running your own business.
The celebration can be as big – or small – as you choose to make it. Book a holiday, get some retail therapy, go somewhere lovely for lunch or just run yourself a relaxing bath. You may simply choose to record your successes in a notebook at the end of the day. If you’re an overachiever by nature, consider what you’d do differently next time then come back to appreciating the distance you’ve covered. Choose what works for you, most importantly, just begin.
1. Dream: understand why what you want matters.
2. Create a plan for your dream that balances achievement with learning and enjoyment.
3. Make a note of the ways you can savour your success. Buy a journal.