What would you think if I told you that the life and business you’ve barely allowed yourself to dream about was absolutely within your reach? I’m sure your first thought is somewhere along the lines of “Yeah right” or “What dumb product are you trying to sell me?”
I get it. I’ve been there, thinking that the 9-to-5 life was the only option out there, that at some point I would have to let go of childish dreams and accept reality: get up, battle an outrageously long commute to a job that hopefully pays well (but doesn’t feed my soul or challenge me to grow), battle that same commute home, eat take-out on the couch in front of the TV, and then go to sleep dreaming of ways I could get out of work the next day. Maybe your life doesn’t look quite like this, but is it your dream life? Have you built your career and business around your life, or are you trying to fit your life in the increasingly small moments of freedom from your career or business?
I’m here to tell you that you have some pretty incredible power to create the life and business of your dreams. I am going to dig into how you can use three hacks to start building a life and business that you love instead of just accepting what is in front of you.
Get Good at One Thing
This first hack is especially important if you are planning on stepping out of the corporate world, but can be applied across all careers. Something I struggled with for a long time was feeling like I had to be great (and highly qualified) at everything under the sun to deserve to get hired by the companies I loved and wanted to work with or to dare step out and charge clients as a business owner.
My life started to change drastically when I stopped chasing credentials and picked one thing to get laser-focused on. When I looked around at other business owners, I realized many of them were trying to be and do everything in their business – CEO, marketing, bookkeeping, admin, facilities, production… and often they were exhausted and not reaping the profits they expected from all of the hard work they were putting in. Then, I started looking at truly successful people and noticed that instead of doing everything, they were exceptional at a few things, one of which was often delegating and outsourcing tasks they had no interest in or were not good at. They became experts at one thing rather than trying (and often failing) to juggle everything.
Are you stuck feeling unqualified and overwhelmed because you are trying to do everything? Pick the one thing that you are really interested in and get really good at that. Once you’re feeling good about one thing you can confidently market that skill, build a business around something you really love and choose to learn new skills strategically rather than casting a giant net that brings very little back to you and leaves you feeling overwhelmed.
Question the Stories You Believe
This hack is probably the most important and has the highest potential for a dramatic effect on your life and business. If you’ve never intentionally stepped back to question the stories you believe, I am about to rock your world. We collect stories and beliefs from our individual experiences, families of origin, communities, cultures, and society as a whole. And this is a process that happens in the background. We aren’t consciously aware of the stories we’ve been collecting because once we’ve latched on to them, they feel like the truth. And you can’t argue the truth, right?
But what happens if we start recognizing these beliefs as stories being told and we start to examine them? We turn them around, look under every nook and cranny, and really start to understand where they’ve come from and what they’re telling us about ourselves and the world around us. What if we realize that we get to decide which beliefs are serving us and which beliefs are actually holding us back.
So what does this look like in practice? Let’s dig into one that many of us have been told and accepted for most of our lives: time and money are related. The first paycheck most of us receive was based on an hourly wage. And maybe we eventually moved on to a yearly salary, but this is still connected to a measure of time.
So what happens if we start to question this story? What about passive income streams, systems and products that we put work into one time and then earn money on continuously? What if we start to realize that tying our earning potential to time punishes us for becoming efficient and skilled in our work?
Questioning our stories gives us the power to build our professional and personal lives around beliefs and ideas that actually help us reach our full potential rather than passively accepting the limits someone else placed on themselves or us.
Have More Fun
This last hack might seem frivolous, but having fun in our business and our lives can have a direct impact on concrete measurables. Now don’t get me wrong here: having more fun does not mean we don’t take our work seriously. In fact, creating intentional outlets for fun helps us to focus and dig in when we need to because fun allows us to tap into our creative and vulnerable selves.
When we are having fun, we are able to connect with our passion. When we are passionate about our work, we are infusing our work with emotion and authenticity – and these things are felt deeply by our audience. The more people feel they know us and the more emotions we can illicit in them, the more they are likely to spend. And this is because they trust us and what we are providing them.
Focusing on one thing to get good at, taking time to question the stories you believe, and making space for more fun can help you build a life and business you are passionate about.