I meet a lot of small business owners who have lost their zest for life and unfortunately it really shows in their business. In fact I spend most of my time trying to reignite this passion because I know that if they don’t find it, none of the more technical suggestions I make to improve their business will work.
Business success or failure happens in the heart. In my opinion there is no way a burnt out, depressed, bored, unhappy person can have a successful business. But if by some miracle they do manage to achieve some level of success, the saddest part is that they get no joy out of their success.
So I have eight key recommendations for reclaiming the passion in your life so that you can reclaim the passion in your business.
1. Have a holiday.
I can normally tell within a minute or two what the issue is with a business owner, and more often than not they are simply exhausted and in need of a good break. The more reasons you can rattle off for not having a holiday right now (no money, no time, no staff, it’s the busy season) the more important it is that you have one. You simply cannot be passionate and excited about anything when you are exhausted. Take a break and do whatever it is that recharges your batteries.
2. Think about what your business gives you.
We tend to find a lot of fault in our business, mostly through the perceived negative. These are things like how many hours we have to work, the amount of money we have tied up, the stress, the staff issues and a host of other problems. But how often do we sit and make a list of all the wonderful things that our business gives us? The autonomy, the satisfaction, the challenge, the freedom, the financial reward and so on.
Spend some time coming up with your list of the things your business gives you and you may find it interesting to see how your perspective changes.
Further to this, the grass is not always greener. Many of us think every other business is better than ours. They are easier to run, make piles more money, they only take up half the time and with half the headaches. Well I hate to burst your bubble, but every single business has its own issues and challenges, accept this and yours doesn’t look quite so bad any more.
3. Get uncomfortable.
We all need a pea put under our cushion every once in a while and getting uncomfortable is certainly one way to “wake” ourselves up and renew our zest for life. Those people who are constantly challenging themselves, either intellectually or physically rarely seem to be depressed or negative. In fact they are quite the opposite.
The question is how can you challenge yourself and get out of your comfort zone right now? This is a take action right now recommendation, not something for next years resolution list.
4. Do more of the things you really love to do.
Running a business certainly can become all consuming. We often stop doing the things that we really love doing, simply because of the pressure we feel coming at us from all directions. In my workshops I ask people to write down the things that they love to do and next to each one, I ask them to write down when was the last time they did it.
Interestingly enough, lots of people put down a hobby like fishing and the last time they did it was ten years ago. This is not a hobby any more it’s a memory. We need to remember the things we love to do and we absolutely must make it a priority to do them often.
5. Outsource the parts of your business that wear you down.
Too many business owners waste time and energy doing the things in their business that they really hate. Of course these happen to be the things they do badly. You will be stunned at how your outlook on life changes when you outsource or delegate all of the jobs you really can’t stand doing. Make up your own list and commit to getting other people to do things you don’t want to do anymore. You might find yourself wondering why you didn’t do this a long time ago.
6. Surround yourself with awesome people.
And I say “awesome” here for a reason, because surrounding yourself with “good” people is just not setting the bar high enough. Typically when I encounter people who are struggling in life, they don’t have positive and energetic people around them. In fact they have the opposite – negative, low energy people who bring everyone down.
If you haven’t got awesome people around you, go out and find some.
7. Contribute to the community where you run your business.
If you want to feel better about your life, spend time with someone whose life is really, really bad. Commit to helping out at a homeless shelter once a week and you will soon see just how wonderful your own life actually is. This is kind of like shock treatment and it works every time. I have literally dragged clients to the local homeless shelter, got them involved and gave them a reality check to help break them out of their own “poor me” state of mind.
8. Lighten up, its only business.
Sometimes I think we simply take ourselves far too seriously in business and in life. The more we learn to lighten up, laugh out loud and accept that our business is just a part of our lives, not the whole picture, the easier it is enjoy everything! As humans we have to face the fact that there will be times when we run out of juice.
The real key is to do something about it before we completely burn out. My suggestions here will really help, but they all focus around one central theme and that is having enough self respect to put yourself first every once in a while. Self worth is far more important than net worth.