This week I’ve been reflecting on how many of us are drawn to a life of service. Of course people start businesses for many different reasons, but at the heart of entrepreneurship is a desire to solve a problem, to help others, to serve. This time of year is a time of reflection for many, a chance to take a step back and pause. How do we balance our desire to serve, to make a difference, with our need for achievement, success and self-fulfillment?
“Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.” Muhammad Ali
Are you in business to serve?
According to the dictionary, business is the activity of making one’s living or making money by producing or buying and selling products such as goods or services. And yet I meet so many business owners who are driven by far more than simply the pursuit of profit. The word ‘entrepreneur’ comes from a French verb meaning ‘to undertake’ or ‘to do something’, and for many, the money and success are simply a byproduct of doing what they do.
Mahatma Gandhi famously told us “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” and that sentiment is what drives many successful entrepreneurs.
So what drives you and how do you build a successful business that’s in balance with your purpose? You want to be working on something meaningful, solving problems, being of service. But how do you translate that into something that it profitable, self-sustaining and doesn’t take over your life?
In my bestselling book ‘The REAL Entrepreneur: How to simplify, grow and enjoy your business’, I talk about the Japanese concept of Ikigai, which translates to ‘your reason for being’. It’s the sweet spot between what you love, what you’re good at, what you feel compelled to do and what you can get paid for. Maybe you’re ticking one or more of these ‘boxes’, but how would it feel to tick all four? That’s what we mean when we talk about purpose-driven businesses. That’s what we mean when we talk about being in your FLOW.
Here are my Top 10 Tips on how to maintain balance in business:-
🌟 Be inspired by what you do. If it doesn’t make you want to get out of bed in the morning then find something that does.
🌟 Be aware of what’s going on around you, immerse yourself in your subject, learn and absorb. Then do it your way.
🌟 Taking action is ALWAYS better than procrastinating. You might not get it right every time, but the times you don’t will be far outweighed by the positive impact of moving forward.
🌟 Surround yourself with people who support and lift you up. Running a business can get lonely so you’ll need people to help you keep the faith.
🌟 Share your story. Have a point of view. Engage with people. If you’re pleasing everyone you’re not being authentic.
🌟 Your job is to provide clarity, not to make everyone happy! Focus on defining a clear vision and path ahead and you’ll attract the people you need to help you succeed.
🌟 Spend as much time as you can in your flow, doing what you love and what you’re good at. Ban the word ‘should.
🌟 Share your successes. People love to hear good news. Celebrate the progress you and others make, BEFORE moving onto the next task at hand.
🌟 Fund your growth. Constantly worrying about money is an easy trap to fall into, but consistently taking shortcuts will drain your energy and keep you stressed. If necessary, find people who believe in your vision and are prepared to fund it.
🌟 Trust your gut – most of the time it’ll be telling you to enjoy what you’re doing and keep moving forward.
It’s completely unrealistic to expect yourself to know everything or be able to do everything. Please be kind to yourself and if you’d like to talk through the choices you’re facing or any blockers in your business, let me know.
Lisa Zevi – April 2021