“Every block of stone has a statue inside it, and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.”
What do I need to do today to move my business forward?
I ask this question to myself often. Running a business, among many things, is a practice of focus. To have an outcome in mind for your business is important, but reaching this outcome requires setting attainable goals. There are a lot of coaches out there talking about goal setting. One thing that is common among successful people is to have specific goals that they write down and think about all the time and believe that they will achieve.
I still operate mostly from my Google Calendar and that is where I put daily and weekly goals. I spend time annually on bigger goals and hang up images and words that help me to stay focused. I also have quarterly goals, which are mostly things that must happen to progress toward the annual goals. I have vision goals that I know by faith are going to happen, but I am not sure when. My vision goal is that I want to take teams of experts and resources around the world to places where there are people who already have a great idea to transform their own lives and communities, but they are just praying for someone to help, bringing experts and resources. I want to be the answer to those prayers. As I plan my annual, quarterly, weekly, daily goals that vision goal is always in front of my mind. Leaving time to do research and networking related to my vision goal is a priority as I plan all of my other goals.
When you get to know yourself better, you can achieve a deeper sense of direction in your business. Silver points this out in the text of Evolved Enterprise that by knowing yourself you can put your whole essence behind something and in this case it is running a business.
Silver presents a way of evaluating yourself and your business in the form of R&D (Research & Development). A lot of companies have R&D departments, but for entrepreneurs this is doing research and development on yourself and thus gaining a more precise focus on your business. Research and Development is done throughout the everyday operations of your business. Past failures should not be seen as a sign of weakness but rather embraced as learning opportunities. Failure in business can mean a number of things, from the larger scale like declaring bankruptcy to small things like missing an appointment.
For me one of my greatest learning experiences through failure is the importance of listening to your gut. Never ignore what your gut is telling you, especially when it comes to choosing who to work with—whether it be a client or a team member. Each time I have made that mistake it has cost me money, sleep and time.
Business owners need to think about not only how they are treating their businesses, but also themselves. We need to love ourselves and take care of ourselves. Some of the ways I practice loving myself include prayer, meditation and exercise and avoiding foods that make me feel crappy. Since it continues to be a challenge for me to sit still, I count walking in nature as a form of meditation. A form of loving myself that I added last year is working with a personal trainer at the gym. It is more of tough love, but I am stronger than I was a year ago, so it is totally worth it!
Giving is another practice that takes care of both the giver and the receiver. Studies like this one from The Cleveland Clinic point out that giving back can have benefits for both those who receive and those who give. Giving can boost the physical and mental health of the giver. The article calls it a “giver’s high,” similar to the “high” achieved by runners after a good workout.
Intertwined with working towards my next goal in business and working on my R&D, I spend time in gratitude. When I talk about focusing more on gratitude, I don’t mean just being thankful for the successes I’ve worked for so far at this point, but moreover a gratefulness for simply being.
Writing down what you are grateful for can be powerful and super helpful to look back on during moments when gratitude is hard to hold onto. We have a gratitude jar where we write on little pieces of paper each night something we were grateful for that day. Each New Year’s Eve or Day we read them all. It’s a nice way to celebrate the year. I used to keep a journal with my sons and we would write 10 positive things from the day in it. Doing a free flow of gratitude can shift and lift my mood. Writing of any sort can be a release for some people and when you take the time to be grateful and write this down, the effects can reach a biological level. In a study cited in an article by the Chicago Sun-Times, researchers showed that patients with asymptomatic heart failure who kept a gratitude journal for two months showed improvements in heart health, heart rate variability and reductions in circulating levels of biomarkers.