Why did you go into business for yourself?
Can you remember the first thing that made you decide you wanted to own and run your own business?
And why do you run a business instead of having a job?
Even with all the hassles and dramas and stress of running your business, why do you keep going?
Stop for a minute and think about the above questions and really seriously honestly answer these questions…
You might get some new enlightenment that you haven’t seen before, or you might just realise you made the wrong decision…
You see, if you’re a business owner, you’re special (and I mean in a positive way).
The vast majority of adults in this country are way too scared to give up the security of a job and go full-on into business ownership, with all its uncertainties, highs and lows.
Getting paid for 40 hours a week, holiday pay and sick leave, even maternity leave – there ARE some big advantages of being an employee.
OK, so maybe the pay isn’t as much as you’d like and maybe the job is boring, but at least you don’t have to worry about finding new clients, managing the money, ensuring staff are properly supervised and actually working hard for the money you pay them.
The security of a job is a HUGE component of why most people will never give up a job for self-employment.
Yet, I suspect – like me – you probably don’t think quite the same about “job security”, do you?
For most entrepreneurs and business owners, being self-employed is more about risk – reward (maybe we’re all just closet gamblers?), and the excitement and challenge of striving for success.
Beating your own best record…
Winning against fear and apathy…
Proving you’re stronger, faster, smarter, better than the non-entrepreneurs out there…
Or, maybe you’re just trying to prove a doubter wrong – that you CAN be a successful business person, not a failure like they thought you were.
Or, maybe you just have a higher calling in life and owning a successful business is your vehicle to achieving that calling.
Remember Bill Gates? The geeky guy who started Microsoft and became a billionaire (way to go, shrinking down that massively significant journey to 6 words!)
He has it all – fame, money, power & opportunities galore…
Yet now that he’s not so actively involved in the running of Microsoft, he’s become a philanthropist and is working with his wife Melinda to make the world a better place.
Gates tells the story about mega-wealthy investor Warren Buffett who once gave them some great advice about philanthropy: “Don’t just go for safe projects,” he said. “Take on the really tough problems.”
THAT’S a higher calling people.
Gates was always a super-tough competitor in business (some would say a brutal competitor), but now that he’s aged a bit, (hopefully) gained some wisdom and taken his focus off Microsoft, he was able to find something bigger than himself and his business ambitions to shoot for.
Gates says: “Our foundation is teaming up with partners around the world to take on some tough challenges: extreme poverty and poor health in developing countries, and the failures of America’s education system. We focus on only a few issues because we think that’s the best way to have great impact, and we focus on these issues in particular because we think they are the biggest barriers that prevent people from making the most of their lives.”
Guess what. Microsoft was Bill & Melinda Gates’ vehicle to a higher calling. Without it, they probably never would have been in a position to do what they do now.
So, what is your higher calling?
Do you have something you strive for more than just making money?
Do you want to actually make a difference somewhere in the world?
Is that what keeps you going as a business owner, even when times get tough?
If so, be proud of yourself, because it’s the rare individuals like you who will make a difference to the world you live in.
Now, stepping back a little back, let’s talk about what you REALLY want from your business a bit more.
Funnily enough, my mother (who is visiting from the country) was briefly leaning over my shoulder when I started writing this article and read that headline.
Her instant response was “Make lots of money!” 🙂
I suspect a lot of business owners would also answer exactly the same thing if I asked them that question.
And you know what, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to make a lot of money, but I really want you to think deeper than that.
You see, money is NOT the answer to every problem in your life, even though we often think it is.
Unlimited money is not likely to find a cure for a life threatening disease like cancer or Alzheimer’s – at least not in the short term.
Money can’t buy everlasting happiness, peace of mind or ensure you never have to face another problem, challenge or unexpected disaster ever again.
So, when it comes down to it, money is only a means to an end, and in most cases, that end is actually something really simple like a desire to be loved and wanted, or respected or fulfilled and happy.
I doubt I’m much different from the rest of you reading this. In the early days, money was all about filling a gap in my head & heart – making me feel wanted and loved.
These days, that’s matured slightly 😉 I’m at least aware that those deep seated desires and needs are what drove me into business and entrepreneurship.
Mind you, I’m not saying I’ve got it all sorted and have all the answers. But at least awareness is a great first step to breaking the ties that bind us when it comes to money.
We all have “head stuff” going on, and it’s an exceedingly rare individual who has dealt with all of theirs (maybe 1 in a billion?), but life goes on, and it’s ultimately what you make of it.
So, I guess what I’m trying to say is “Don’t just focus on the money – there’s a lot more in life to enjoy, value and appreciate than JUST cashola.”
Build a life that – on your deathbed – you can be proud of. Build a life that touches other people in a positive way. Build a life that fulfils YOU!
Honestly, I’d rather 100 fabulous friends, colleagues and family members attending my funeral with their hearts filled with joy for having had me in their lives, than $1 Million in cash!
Use your business as a vehicle to achieve higher things, go beyond what you thought was possible, and leave the world a better place for you having been in it.
THAT’S a legacy you can be proud to leave your children…
(Photo credit: Thanks to http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/)