If I’ve learned anything over my journey thus far, it’s that there are two questions that are central to everything in our businesses, relationships, and lives. And yet, few of us take the time to ask them.
1. What do you want?
As business people, we’re doers. We’re quick to jump into new ideas, to try the new marketing techniques, and to work our asses off to make this thing work. But we rarely slow down enough to define what we want the end result to be.
Oh sure, we set goals. “I want to make $100,000 this year.” “I want 3 new clients every month.” But those are just indicators that you might be headed in the right direction. What’s the finish line?
Before you can set worthy business goals, you have to set worthy life goals. Because your business should help you achieve your desired lifestyle—not the other way around.
What does your desired life look like? Do you want to take Fridays off? Have enough profit to take your family on a cruise? Finally pay off your debt?
Define what success looks like for you. Be specific. Otherwise, you’re going to reach success and never realize that it’s time to slow down. That’s how burnout happens.
Which brings us to the second question:
2. Why, why, why do you want what you want?
Sometimes, we want things that sound good… but they won’t actually bring us joy. To avoid wasting your efforts on pointless endeavors, you have to examine the underlying beliefs behind each desire.
For example: For a long time, I had a goal of making enough money to fly business class regularly. Why? It sounded awesome. (It still does.)
But there were deeper why’s. Why did it sound awesome? Because I saw other business owners doing it, and I wanted to be like them. Why was that important? Because it seemed like a marker of success. Why do I need that kind of success? If I could fly business class, it would mean I’m as successful as the badass bosses I admire.
(Oh God. My romantic travel fantasies were just a classic case of keeping up with the Joneses.)
Then I asked “Why?” again. That’s when I hit on the base belief: I think having a high-status lifestyle will make me feel fulfilled.
And that’s when I have to laugh. Because if you knew me in real life, you’d know that I get uncomfortable at just the thought of getting special treatment. I’d much rather blend in with the crowd.
That’s the power of asking “Why”… and asking it again, and again. Not to get you to give up on your dreams, but to ensure the dreams you commit to are worthy of your time.
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