In life, we face all kinds of decisions, especially if we choose to create a business for ourselves. Should I do this……………? What about this………………? Is this………… a good idea? What to do in each case and question can be stressful and costly for us. If we’re not careful, we can find ourselves in what Benson Shapiro calls “tactical hell,” where we only see what’s immediately ahead or under our feet and lose sight of any more extensive plan for our lives.
In my consulting business, which has involved me with many organizations and individuals over the years, I’ve found three critical decisions that, if taken early, can eliminate a lot of this anxiety. If you follow them, they can prepare you to be a successful person and put you in a position to enjoy that success. These three options can change your work life.
The two main criteria for anyone making choices about how to manage their life and work are:
1) What will bring you money?
2) What makes you the happiest?
1. Choose “Why.”
Deciding to do something for money is a bad idea. Money isn’t bad, but if your goal is money, it will be like putting you on a treadmill and walking on it. Or, for example, someone who sells drugs to pay for his treatment or the treatment of one of his children. Over time, you will have more money. But then you will face the choice that many people face and find it challenging to make the opposite decision: Should I turn off the money machine? If you have acquaintances or relationships with characters who rush to get money in various ways, you will find that many cases of them end in miserable lives!
This is why you need to know why you do what you do. Otherwise, you will give in to powerful forces that you would not have expected. Simon Sinek talks about this in his most famous TED Talk; of course, if you’ve heard it before, you’ll feel like it’s an old idea. Everyone needs a reason to exist. A reason why I am. A sense in which the purpose is declared and clear. So you will find in some companies that have succeeded after going through a lot of frustration and mistakes, they always stop for a moment and think about the fate of their work and their lives: Why the hell are we doing this? From those discussions, the answer is clear:
* We want to work with clients we are proud of.
* We want to do work that gives us the freedom to pursue our individual creative projects.
That’s it. What to do, who to work with, whom to hire to work with us, how much money we will pay for it, how much to expand the business,…. and other things. We will not even talk to clients who are likely to conflict with these reasons. We will regularly reject all kinds of opportunities that would look great but aren’t what we do inside our companies. On the contrary, if you have accepted everything or every job that has been offered to you in terms of work – you are not as free, independent, or in control, as you think.
Decide who you are and what you are not, i.e., what should and should not be done and accepted. It will make you better at what you do – it will focus your energy and strength on a unique object of your production and allow you to excel in it in the future like many companies that have excelled globally.
A note on money:
You may have noticed that it’s part of the “why” we’re looking for (otherwise, without money, what we’re doing wouldn’t be a business), but money is context-bound. Money is, of course, necessary, but it is not the most essential thing in life. It is a tool that God has harnessed for us. As Viktor Frankl said in his book Yes to Life: Despite everything, “The possession of money should mean that one is in a good financial position in which one can control it, not the other way around. And man’s preoccupation should not be to collect money, but rather the aim of work and life is the pursuit of ends—those ends that money should serve.”
2. Decide how you want to live
Your work and life will be intertwined. You work to live and support yourself and those around you, and for some of us, you live to fulfill your desire to succeed. But this raises the crucial question: How would you like your life to be? What is the life that will make you happy? Although you may ignore these questions for some time, you will eventually find that they cannot be ignored.
When I provide consultancy to companies and talk with some successful people and companies founders, sometimes the talk comes about money. What the founder and the business owner can use his money for something other than raising his company’s capital or putting the money into the bank account directly? You find a number of successful people who tell you that their personal needs are few, or you find an answer: I don’t really use it; my personal needs are less. However, there is always the desire to start a company and think primarily about money…even though it is not an essential part of their personal lives.
What is important? For us, the answer is taking some thought, but it turns out that most successful people are looking for time to get creative. About time to read. A time for life amidst beautiful experiences. Or the freedom to set their own schedule to do what they love. Or the ability to live in peace of mind. Or not being told what to do.
The sad truth is that many people will tell you about the companies they built, designed themselves, or employees who looked for specific jobs to go with and made them their main concern even if they joined after several years of toil, making them miserable. It’s as if they had never thought of transcending accomplishments and never thought about the kind of life they hoped would help them live. Turns out they wanted to do all these other things with their lives, and instead of getting close to it, their new job kept them away from it. “We work a lot and deprive ourselves of free time so that we can finally have free time, and we get into wars so that we can be at peace.” This is unreasonable!
Do a quick review of the most fun and fulfilling day of your life. Now make sure you are working towards this, not far from it.
If you don’t want an office, don’t establish an office. Several companies run their businesses remotely. If you enjoy working a lot, and it makes you feel good, you probably need something with many responsibilities and demands. If you want to influence more than financial success, be sure to choose something that allows you to do so. If you are a calm person, you need a lifestyle that enables you to calm down and not force you to always be yourself. If you thrive on caring for those around you and collaborating with others, choose accordingly. If you want to live in the same place for a long time, buy a house. If you don’t want to, please don’t buy. Over and over again, think about your life and your decisions.
It is said about Alexander the Great: that he hoped to conquer one of the regions, so in order to avoid the conquest of Alexander, the people of the region offered him part of the region as a concession to him. Alexander replied by saying that he did not go all the way to Asia to accept what they were willing to offer. They can keep what he left them. Likewise, we must tell everyone who tries to distract us from our lives or our business that we have no time to accept the rest of your time to spend with me or waste your time and distract me away.
3. Decide to be okay with what others are doing
You may have noticed that the first two options are basically to walk away from what most people do, to walk away from things that aren’t important to you and might be necessary to someone else (so you can focus on what’s important to you). But finding the cause and designing your life around it ultimately means making one of the most complex decisions of all:
Deciding not to care about what other people do
But look at that; he got a weather deal than me! But look at that; he will get abroad to work with a better offer! Look at the car he’s driving, look at his house! Well, are you willing to share everything you have now to be that person with your flaws and advantages? The answer is permanent, no? So abstinence is better. If you decide to go your own unique way, you cannot compare yourself against the people who go their own ways (or worse, follow a path that many people walk in and do not understand but blindly follow). We have to stick to the course that we choose for ourselves.
For your business, your decision may have meant turning away a lot of money. This means not doing a lot of the things that traditional marketing companies do. That’s fine as long as these options make you and your staff happy. But those things that other companies have a particular interest in are prestige, media, hype, etc. Perhaps if you compare yourself to them, you will feel a little queasy or tight, so you must determine your path.
Not only do people envy those who work with them in the same field or industry or even live the same way of life, but many times you find some rich people envy the educated, and some celebrities envy the rich, and so the circles go. Despite all this envy, they do not show themselves a problem and annoyance.
In fact, there is nothing more futile in life than choosing a specific strategy and waiting for different results. So don’t make yourself feel inferior for not having something you deliberately chose not to pursue.
Now, what if your friend was making a lot of money, or if a company got a lot of media attention for something they did? What if they work with this client or that? Or if they just signed a deal with so-and-so? You have clarified your purpose; you have purified your life priorities.
In the end, things will work out for you the way you choose them, but again, only if they are put in their own context.
People do not compare two different things. Nobody compares the sales volume of an opera singer with the sales of a pop singer. No one compares an individual player such as a weightlifter to a sports team that plays soccer. So why bother about what some people bragging about on social networks like Facebook?
This does not mean that you should not push yourself forward and not develop yourself.
Life and work are not a race.
We have to run, speed up and achieve. But don’t be deceived by the race and the cheerleaders; focus on being the runner; you have to run as hard as you can. At the same time, ignore the other people running next to you in the paths of life and work, each using a different clock, a different distance, and a different route from yours.
Be happy with the life you choose for yourself, and live it to the fullest. Leave the lives of others to them, whether they are happy or unhappy.
These options are not easy, but they are essential, so:
Make it for yourself. Don’t run away from them. Otherwise, you will face it in the future, and your pain will be much worse than any initial discomfort you may feel now.