How To Lead A Happy, Healthy, Purpose-Driven Life And Business
If you asked me a year ago what keeps me up at night, my answer would match that of most entrepreneurs. Along with the excitement and adventure of running a business, life can feel like a never-ending twenty-four-hour Le Mans car race. You're swept away in a near-daily avalanche of worry, cascading over plans you attempt to make for the future. You spend a lot of time in the unknown as an entrepreneur. It's a future destined for burnout and directionless days that overwhelm. Until you realize there's another way of leading a happy, healthy, purpose-driven life and business.
If you wish to get the most out of the year ahead, there is one central requirement that is more important than any other rule or strategy. Without it, you'll be stuck banging your head against the wall in frustration. What is this requirement? A deep driving desire to learn and grow.
It took me countless hours lost in hypothetical what-ifs to realize that the biggest bottleneck in any business is me (and you). Your business only grows as much as you do. I consumed advice with a ravenous appetite, but I didn't take the equally important time to let it digest. For any entrepreneur or creative, one of the biggest struggles is not finding advice or guidance, but filtering out what’s worth listening to.
Writing a blog is a reminder that I'm not merely trying to acquire information. I'm attempting to form new habits. I'm attempting a new way of life that will require time and persistence and daily application.
What I accomplish in a day is far from what I'm capable of accomplishing in a lifetime. But to spend my days as a fortune teller is a waste of the present. Is your mind in the past, the future or the present?
Thomas Carlyle was considered one of the most important social commentators of his time. His words are timeless and a testament to the odd and complex nature of the human mind. His words shine with a light of clarity. "Our main business is not to see what lies dimly at a distance, but to do what lies clearly at hand."
His words are not meant to be a poetic reflection, read and forgotten. His words are a new way of living. If you desire a happier, healthier, more purpose-driven life and business, his words are a gift.
Those words completely changed the way I plan and carry out my day. I design my days with meaningful progress as the foundation. I identified what fills me up and what projects are important to me. I created a schedule with flex to enjoy the spontaneity of life. I have a clear sense of where I'm going. It propels the momentum to carry me from one day to the next.
Because I have clarity and direction, my energy doesn't deplete, drifting aimlessly at sea, hoping for a glimpse of the shore. I know where I'm going. I have a compass.
I feel confident and in control, because I do what is clearly at hand. The baby steps I take every day compound to near magical results. When I reflect back on what I accomplished over the past year, it wouldn't have been possible without this shift in thinking.
If I didn’t learn and grow from my failures, I would not have a business to write about. I would not be able to take time off without feeling guilty. I would continue to have sleepless nights filled with worry for the future. I'd be burned out and ineffective in my role, resenting the decision to work for myself.
Instead, I've developed a healthy and compassionate relationship with myself and my coaching business. This realization came through the understanding one step is enough for me. I know now that I don't have to fear the future. I know now that I can live one day at a time.
Perhaps the advice an army doctor gave to a man close to physical and mental collapse can help drive this point home.
"I want you to think of your life as an hourglass. You know there are thousands of grains of sand in the top of the hourglass; and they all pass slowly and evenly through the narrow neck in the middle. Nothing you or I could do would make more than one grain of sand pass through this narrow neck without impairing the hourglass. You and I, and everyone else are like this hourglass. When we start in the morning, there are hundreds of tasks which we feel that we must accomplish that day, but if we do not take them one at a time and let them pass through the day slowly and evenly as do the grains of sand passing through the neck of the hourglass, then we are bound to break our own physical or mental structure."
If you are ready to stop worrying and start living, ask yourself these questions and write down your answers. These questions were lovingly borrowed from Dale Carnegie’s classic - How To Stop Worrying And Start Living.
Do I tend to put off living in the present in order to worry about the future, or to yearn for some magical solution over the horizon?
Do I sometimes embitter the present by regretting things that happened in the past that are over and done with?
Do I get up in the morning, determined to "Seize the day" to get the utmost out of these twenty-four hours?
Can I get more out of life by living in day-tight compartments?
When shall I start to do this? Next week? ... Tomorrow? ... Today?