Monthly Archives: June 2014

Rediscovering Your Purpose In Work

Imagine a 3-question pop-quiz:

  • (Daily) What are your responsibilities as a business owner: Hah. Many.
  • (Longer-term) What is your responsibility as a business owner: To ensure the success of the business.
  • (Lifetime)What is your main focus as someone living in this time, in this era, in your culture, doing the things you do?

These questions may seem kind of unconnected, first asking about the business then becoming sort of metaphysical, but in light of all that we’ve seen happen when the internet (and the new communication technologies that followed) revolutionized the ways we can talk and share with each other.

We’re always connected, and yet feel disconnected at times.
We share a lot of our lives online, but feel like nobody really knows who we are.
And sometimes we feel there is more for us to do ‘out there’, yet we feel aimless, detached and unmotivated ‘in here’ (points to self).

 

The cost of doing something with intent is becoming lost in it. As paradoxical as it may sound, we often look for Big Things for ourselves: a cause to devote yourself to, something bigger than you. A vocation, a calling, a reason for being. We want to lose ourselves in a grand undertaking–and in doing so find our reason for being here.

We are also afraid of getting lost — which is why we do so much stuff, to prove to ourselves and others that we got things going on. Important things, you know? We’re not aimless drifters. We get stuff done.
We also burn out, or get bogged down. Continue reading Rediscovering Your Purpose In Work

Finding the Right Metrics For Your Success

  • When you find yourself breaking even for the first time since you started your business venture, does that mean you’re doing well?
  • If you receive fewer customer complaints this month than last month, does that mean you can relax?
  • When your click-through rate rises after a new site design, does that mean you can go through with the new marketing scheme and thoroughly overhaul your processes?

When it comes to making anything a success — your business, your work, your projects, yourself, the question itself, “How do you measure success?” just opens the door to an overwhelming number of choices.

Success is a complex event, and is made up of many factors. Focusing on just symbols or thresholds for success, when you’re running a business¬† there are three kinds of markers right off the bat.

  • There are financial markers: I will be successful when I’m making enough money at my side-venture to leave my main job. I will be successful when I’m making $100,000 a year.
  • There are physical markers: I will be successful when I have expanded my operations to 5 new locations within the year.
  • There are emotional markers: I will be successful when I can stop worrying about making this business get off the ground.

In the question itself, “How do you measure success?” the parts “You” and “measure” should be pointed out as critically important.

For you to really feel the success, attaining it should be personal to you: there are too many accounts of people who, after looking back at their ‘successful’ lives and realizing they fulfilled the goals they were expected to have, were left feeling bereft and like personal failures when they realized those goals weren’t really their goals, they just sort of… slid into them.

In this vein, you need to dig deep and find out what matters to you enough that you would freely put in the labor for it, engaging and wrestling with all the details and activities involved in making the work a success. A success stands out because it demands more from you. Continue reading Finding the Right Metrics For Your Success

How to Develop Ideas Productively

The drive to keep things interesting is one core business strength which comes with the goal of providing value.

When you keep looking for new ways to re-tool old concepts and current ideas you keep your brain flexible, your attitudes keen and you keep apace with the changing tides. You can innovate, evolve and thrive. To do this you need to be open to ideas: in receiving them, in connecting them and in generating them. New ideas means new life for a business, and you have to keep them flowing to keep the business going.

The goal here is to produce ideas of real value. Brainstorming can capture a lot of ideas from out of the blue and squeeze them out under pressure, but you have to filter out the viable ones from the non-viable, then the practical from the impractical.

Now think in images with this next part: The general advice it to let ideas flow. Going with that in mind, if you have writer’s block, that means your fountain of creativity may have run dry of ideas, or is stopped up in some way, and the natural flow ideas has been blocked.

Mind-mapping is a wonderful way to jump-start stalled creativity. We are a visual race, and imagery is one of the best ways we can set our imagination running smoothly again. Leave the serious edit-writing afterwards when you want to summarize or clarify what you mind-mapped, but giving yourself permission to draw and use stimulating colors and mediums in the process can slip off the automatic censor that can keep our best ideas from coming to light.

The method here is a very personal disciplined freedom. Think of it as your personal code.

For example, you can use different colors to symbolize different ideas. Depending on what each color means to you, you can connect the colors to particular subjects in a way that is personal (green for money, for example, or orange for pending, purple for creative ideas, etc.) This helps tickle the neurons into making multiple connections. If music helps you think better, set up your playlist before you mind-map. Continue reading How to Develop Ideas Productively