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3 Ways to Feel More Fulfilled in Business

3 Ways to Feel More Fulfilled in Business


    A few nights ago, my husband handed me a book he thought I might be interested in reading. It was a book that even just three years ago, I would’ve loved to dig into. An autobiography of one of the great businessmen of this century, a look into how the greats got it done.

    Who would ever want to pass that up?

    Well, I passed it up in a heartbeat.

    A couple of years ago, I read a couple of those biographical business books, and I loved them all. Learning the business lingo was exhilarating, but the best part was always learning about the person’s personal life.

    Wow, they had a childhood, too! They really started as a janitor? They struggled as common-folk?

    It was all very enlightening — it even made me feel like I had a chance at doing something great in this world. If they could do it, why couldn’t I?

    Except I always was sorely disappointed when the details of the same great businessmen’s personal lives turned more shoddy than I expected. Divorces, cheating, inflated egos, ridiculous promo sponsorships, and more.

    As my husband handed me the book, I read the front cover.

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    I turned to him and said,

    “Isn’t it awesome that businesspeople nowadays are programmed differently? They’re following passion, not necessarily a quick buck. Maybe it’s their purpose that has made them inherently better people? Maybe its more transparency in a digital world?”

    I handed the book right back. It’s great to learn from the greats and our elders, but for some reason, I’ve decided to spend more time learning how its done now — by people who have made it in this new world of users over money.

    Leaders have changed. No matter the reason, it is awesome.

    Maybe you agree with me or not. Maybe you know some really money-hungry businesspeople.

    I think we all know that kind of person. The great thing is — we don’t want to be like them.

    I actually believe that. And there may be absolutely no hard evidence to prove that purpose-driven business people today are better human beings than the fortune-seekers of yore, but I believe it.

    I believe it because I’m living it.

    I know a lot of people out there making gazillions of dollars, sitting in their gold-laden high-rise apartments and drinking substances that cost more than what I make in a month.

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    Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating. 

    But I also know tons of people sitting in coffee shops, working hard, developing their killer ideas, and loving every minute of it. Even if they make less than any corporate job would afford them.

    Sure, some passion-fueled entrepreneurs make great money — but that isn’t a bad thing. Passion and money don’t have to be completely separate. In my opinion, combining them is more the goal, no?

    What does this mean for the world?

    Whether you believe it or not, things in the world are a-changin’. What I read in a recent New York Times article struck a chord. It said that kids nowadays are being born with a more clear view of what is essential.

    I bet kids don’t think big board rooms and expense accounts are “essential”. I think they never did.

    What’s changing is that kids are maintaining their view of what is essential. As we all grow up, we are taking our priorities with us.

    No way I’d take an expense account over the freedom and flexibility to spend Mother’s Day with my mommy (which I did this year).

    But we’re clear on the fact that, in order to keep a lifestyle that is flexible and fun, our work has to be sustainable, as well. If our priorities are straight, it’s not about racking up the beans — it’s about having enough beans to continue doing what we love how we love to do it.

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    How do we make passion sustainable?

    In my case, I love to write. My goal is to make my writing sustainable — to make enough money through my writing to allow myself to write more and more every day. If I make my passion sustainable, I can dedicate more time to it — without going hungry, of course.

    Here are some tips that have led me along my path to sustainability, and made me feel more fulfilled in business in the process:

    1. Write down what makes you curious and excited.

    Being aware of yourself and your emotions sounds corny and trite, but we all have something more to learn about ourselves. Do the world a favor, and take note of what truly drives you most.

    When you think back to the last few months, which experiences stand out the most? What was the last thing you did that made you throw your arms up in the air with accomplishment? What activities feel exhilarating and fun?

    More importantly, when you have free time, what is the first thing you turn to —the computer, a notebook, videos, music, friends, family, etc?

    2. Be as useful as possible.

    Passion and curiosity is important, but so is making your work useful. Without being useful, there’s little chance people will want to, well, pay you for it.

    You’re useful to people as long as you are one step ahead of them. If you know one tiny bit more than they do on what they need, you’re useful and can make that help sustainable.

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    3. Make sure everyone knows it.

    Once you know what you love to do and once you have made yourself useful to them, they have to know you exist. The best way to do that is to analyze this:

    When people think of your industry or your niche, are you among the top 10 people they think of?

    Becoming top of mind is the most important. Keep yourself aiming for that goal, and you won’t falter.

    I haven’t yet found my way to becoming this kind of sustainable new business person, but I am trying. Every unconventional step I take gets me one inch closer to sustainability, to success, to inspiring others along the way.

    It’s hard, but it’s been exhilarating and so worth it.

    While business will always deal with money, new types of leaders are emerging that put meaning and passion over just paying the bills. What’s your take on this new type of business leader? Do you recognize them around you, in your workplaces and in your social circles?

    If you aren’t one already, would you like to be?

    (Photo credit: Thumbs up via Shutterstock)

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    Last Updated on October 18, 2018

    10 Key Characteristics of a Highly Successful Entrepreneur

    10 Key Characteristics of a Highly Successful Entrepreneur

    When it comes to starting your own business and pursuing your dream of becoming an entrepreneur, it can be advantageous to go all in and embrace the flexibility of finally quitting your day job.

    Keep in mind, though, that it takes a special kind of person to take the business world by storm: a person who has cultivated the key characteristics of entrepreneurial success.

    People with these characteristics are likely to succeed, whereas people without them have difficulty moving forward with even the most brilliant business ideas.

    These characteristics of an entrepreneur are so important that I’ve decided to cover all 10 of them in detail so that you can start your business with your best foot forward.

    1. Successful Entrepreneurs Practice Discipline

    Plenty of business experts claim that you can’t get anywhere as an entrepreneur without vision or creativity, but that’s simply not the truth. Instead, the one quality that no entrepreneur can be successful without is discipline.

    To build an idea into a business, you have to have the discipline to spend time slogging through the least fun parts of running a business (like the bookkeeping), rather than taking that time to do something fun.

    Andrew Carnegie, one of the most financially successful Americans of all time, grew up working dull and difficult jobs in factories. Despite going to bed hungry some nights, he continued doing his best work. He was eventually hired by a railroad company and continued to move up the ladder until starting his own successful businesses. Carnegie is a fine example of an entrepreneur dedicated to discipline and hard work. He truly earned his dreams of prosperity and success.

    When you’re the boss, there’s no one to keep you at work except yourself — and there’s no short-term consequences for skipping out early.

    Sure, if an entrepreneur plays hooky enough he knows that the business just won’t happen, but it’s very hard to convince someone that ‘just this once’ won’t hurt (and to keep ‘just this once’ from becoming a daily occurrence).

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    2. Successful Entrepreneurs Keep Calm

    Things go wrong when you run your own business.

    Most entrepreneurs go through crises with their businesses — and more than a few wind up with outright failures on their hands. But when you’re responsible for a business, you have to be able to keep calm in any situation. Any other reaction — whether you lose your temper or get flustered — compounds the problem.

    Instead, a good entrepreneur must have the ability to keep his cool in an emergency or crisis. It may not make the problem easier to solve, but it certainly won’t make it harder.

    Honestly, losing your calm is a quick path to becoming the kind of person who gives up in the face of adversity. Instead giving in to frustration, remember classic entrepreneur Benjamin Franklin.

    Franklin kept his calm as he experimented and tweaked his inventions again and again in pursuit of success. He didn’t give up during his many failures – he chose to innovate. You can choose innovation, too.

    If an entrepreneur can handle failure without frustration or anger, s/he can move past it to find success.

    3. Successful Entrepreneurs Pay Attention to Details

    Restricting your attention to the big picture can be even more problematic than ‘sweating the small stuff.’

    As an entrepreneur, unless venture capital has magically dropped out of the sky, a small expense can be a killer. It’s attention to detail that can make a small business successful when it has competition and it’s attention to detail that can keep costs down.

    Attention to detail can be difficult to maintain — going over ledgers can be tedious even when you aren’t trying to pay close attention — but keeping your eye on a long-term vision is just asking for a problem to sneak in under a radar.

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    After a business grows, an entrepreneur might be able to hire someone to worry about the details. In the beginning, though, only one person can take responsibility for the details.

    Skeptical about the importance of details? Look no further than Howard Schultz, who grew a small coffee shop called Starbucks into one of the most globally successful coffee businesses in the world through his extreme attention to detail.

    He is famous for taking all aspects of growing a business into account, paying attention not only to financially smart business decisions, but also focusing on socially responsible business decisions. Details can take you far.

    4. Successful Entrepreneurs Embrace Risks

    No entrepreneur has a sure thing, no matter how much money s/he stands to earn on a given product. Even if a product tests well, the market can change, the warehouse can burn down and a whole slew of other misfortune can befall a small business.

    It’s absolutely risky to run a business of your own and while you can get some insurance, it’s not like most investment options. Even worse, if something does go wrong, it’s the entrepreneur’s responsibility — no matter the actual cause. In order to deal with all of that without developing an ulcer, you have to have a good tolerance for risk.

    You don’t need to channel your inner frat boy and take on absolutely stupid risks, but you need to know just how much you can afford to risk — and get a good idea of how likely you are to lose it. If the numbers make you uncomfortable, the risk is too great.

    Embracing risks is essential for growth and additional success, as well. Walt Disney, for example, could have stayed comfortable with his advances in the film and animation industries, but decided to expand his brand with a new dream: a theme park that soared above the competition. Without taking this risk, the incredibly successful Disney theme park empire would never have come about.

    An entrepreneur has to be willing to accept pretty big risks, with some level of comfort.

    5. Successful Entrepreneurs are Balanced

    You can take any characteristic too far. There’s a point at which attention to detail can become obsession or calm can become unemotional response.

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    As an entrepreneur, you have to be able to balance your characteristics, getting the most of them without going over the edge. But balance for an entrepreneur goes far beyond keeping your characteristics in check, though.

    Just as an entrepreneur doesn’t have a boss to keep them at work when necessary, they don’t have one to send them home when they’re done. If you are working for yourself, you have to decide how to balance your work and home life — and if you have a day job to add into the equation, balance just gets more complicated.

    Oprah Winfrey, one of the most successful and influential entrepreneurs out there, understands the importance of balance. Winfrey has a lot going on; she runs her own media kingdom, acts, produces films, publishes print, and more. In an interview with Fast Company,[1] she talks about her efforts to balance priorities and self care, saying that she must ask herself what is truly important in each limited day.

    You may or may not have as much on your plate as Oprah, but learning how to balance whatever you have going on in life will certainly help you farther along down the road as you learn to be a great entrepreneur.

    6. Successful Entrepreneurs are Passionate and Motivated

    In order to develop any of the above characteristics, you must have a foundation of passion. Staying disciplined day after day during the building of your business takes unrivaled motivation.

    Before you start any business, ask yourself if you can sustain true excitement about your idea during even the darkest days ahead of you. If the answer is yes, then good for you! Nurture your natural motivation by taking these action steps throughout your business journey:

    • Commit to making short and long-term goals. Check in with them often to stay on task.
    • Have a plan in place for the inevitable days when you feel discouraged. Make a list of things that will help keep you motivated and focused.
    • Share your ideas with trusted individuals who are just as excited as you are. They will help keep your enthusiasm rolling even when you are feeling down.

    By being prepared for apathetic days and holding fast to your authentic passion, you can actually enjoy your journey to success.

    7. Successful Entrepreneurs Adapt

    Remember this one word: flexibility. Seasoned entrepreneurs know that change is not only a part of life, but also a part of the business world. Expect change and choose to adapt.

    As a new entrepreneur, it will be tempting to cling to your original business plan with no exceptions, even if you notice it isn’t working. Good entrepreneurs know that it’s okay to make smart, informed changes in order to ensure efficiency.

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    8. Successful Entrepreneurs are Marketing and Sales Experts

    No matter what kind of business you are starting, a knowledge of marketing and sales will save you many headaches. A passion for creating a beautiful handmade lifestyle product is not enough to run a successful lifestyle brand; it is critical that you understand key business principles in addition to your natural skills or great product line.

    Not sure how to start? Taking business courses is a great idea, but you can also easily brush up on sales and marketing through free online resources. Check out these 10 Sales Skills Everyone Should Master To Be Successful to begin now.

    9. Successful Entrepreneurs Have Strong Money Management

    Along with sales and marketing skills, money management is a very useful tool in the box of the entrepreneur. Understanding how to best manage your money can be the difference between early success and early failure in the business world.

    If money management isn’t your strongest skill, prepare to hire a financial expert to help you with any tricky business that comes up. Financial guidance and knowledge is never a bad idea.

    10. Successful Entrepreneurs Ask Questions and Continually Improve

    Pride is a natural human quality, but it’s important to humbly conduct some constructive criticism every now and again on both yourself as a leader and your new business as a whole.

    Assess how things are going and be willing to make positive changes if necessary. Here’re 15 ways to cultivate lifelong learning.

    If you are always improving, then how can you ultimately fail?

    The Bottom Line

    Let me remind you of one important fact: the qualities of an entrepreneur listed here are not exclusively available to some people and elusive to others.

    Although some people may have natural strengths and weaknesses, these qualities can be learned by anyone interested in taking up the entrepreneurial challenge. It might not be easy to change old habits, but it is absolutely possible to cultivate these characteristics in yourself.

    Whether you’re a business owner or an aspiring entrepreneur, with hard work, you can train yourself to develop the qualities that truly determine the entrepreneurial spirit and future success.

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

    Reference

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