Take a quick moment to ask yourself this… as an entrepreneur; what is the one key thing to the success of my business? Is it marketing, customer relations or maybe the product you sell? Okay, so that’s kind of a trick question. It’s almost guaranteed that there are just as many answers to that question as there are entrepreneurs. Here’s Richard Branson’s (founder of Virgin) answer to that question,
“Many assume my business success has brought me happiness. But the way I see it, I am successful because I am happy.”
Wait… when did we land in that strange world?
We’re supposed to work endlessly day in and day out, claw and grab for every inch and dollar, and then when the business is finally successful that’s when we can be happy right?
Let’s take a minute to look at this struggle theory.
The very foundation of it relies on basically being miserable for days and days (probably even years) on end with the hope that one day you’ll reap the rewards of a successful business. Is this life really why you got into business? Gut instinct says that 99.9% of people that start a business did it because they see an opportunity to help the world, to add value to the lives of others in one way or another. Sure there are those few that are in it solely for financial gain, but (gut instinct kicking in again) most of those people won’t see the financial benefits they were hoping for because they won’t have the patience or perseverance to see things through.
So if our true motivation as entrepreneurs is the hope of being of benefit to society, it begs the question… how is being miserable for days, months or years on end in any way good for the world? Even the impact of newest groundbreaking technology that could change the world doesn’t truly justify being in a state of misery and the effect it has on you or the others around you. Not when there’s always a way to create the same thing peacefully.
This also brings another question to light, why do we have to wait to be happy and of benefit to society? In the case of building a business, can’t we have our cake and eat it too? There’s no reason why we can’t build a business and be happy and fulfilled at the same time. The more people that are happy in their lives, the happier society becomes as a whole. Happy people are infectious; they inspire, encourage and lift others up. So isn’t being happy and fulfilled the greatest benefit you can give to society anyway?
What does this all mean? It means that there’s really only one answer to the question that started this whole conversation. What is the most important thing to the success of your business? YOU! You being at your best so that the others around you can be at their best. The business will just take care of itself because people will be inspired to do their best work. I’d be willing to bet using this “upside down” model will actually see goals being achieved faster and better than even imagined!
What does taking care of you look like? Everyone’s going to have a slightly different picture of what it looks like, but it’s all about taking care of your mind and body. For one person that might mean going hiking or skydiving, for another it might mean learning to meditate or play guitar. It’s whatever brings a spark of joy, peace and wonder into your life. The secret is to then share a little of your spark with others so that their spirit get ignited too. That’s true success!