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One business owner client told me recently: “I just want to be the best man I can be. The best husband, the best father, and the best businessman.” I see those with his focus and intention moving their lives, companies, and careers forward from good to fantastic.
Most others just keep doing what they do every day. They stay caught up in whatever part of the success picture they have now. But those that can hit pause for a moment. Those who can step outside and look back in. They can have something more. Those who are ready to decide they want it all – I watch them change their worlds.
What is Success?
When you were starting out and broke, success meant building a company, cash flow, wealth. You wanted something you didn’t have, and knew it wasn’t going to just show up on its own. Wherever you are right now, your driving internal conversations have probably been around that quest for financial success.
Is that the right conversation now? Did that part of the conversation you have been having with yourself… That part about driving hard, proving yourself, and everything else that has so defined, consumed, or shaped your life… Did that part take over? What have you given up that you wish you could have back now?
Is Something Missing?
This is perhaps the first question. Whether you are 50, 60, 30, pick an age. What does “having it all” even mean? If something is missing, where do you start?
I begin with the fundamental premise that we greatly sub-optimize our lives. That includes relationships, internal peace, leadership, performance, business, and financial outcomes. For all that we do so well, we leave a lot on the table. We make it a lot harder than it has to be.
I ask my clients and others I coach to complete a “happiness assessment” on the front end. They are successful already, on many fronts. Most are business owners, executives, or their family members - either high income or high-net-worth. The results show they are on average about 60% happy. If this is a meaningful proxy for what is working in life and business, then 40% isn’t working. Isn’t what they want.
What Sorts of Things?
For successful people who want more out of life, it often involves some combination of the following.
· Business transition
· More peace, less stress and upset
· More time to do the things they want to do
· Personal growth – to be, live, and feel better
· Success for children and loved ones
· Richer relationships
· Health and fitness
· More effective decision-making
· Stronger leadership
· Income and wealth enhancement
· Performance in professional role
Can you create everything you truly want?
The short answer is “yes”. Let’s say you could pick out that 40%, 30%, or whatever in your world that isn’t what you want. You could put all of the components right out on the table. Over some reasonable period of time you could eliminate half of what’s not working. Can you imagine how you might experience life if you could take out chunks of what you don’t want and replace them with more fun, peace, money, energy, or whatever it is you do want?
I get to witness that level of change taking place all the time. I know it is more than possible.
It’s a matter of willingness to change – Change is the operative word. The poet W.H. Auden said:
“We would rather be ruined than changed”. That is a powerful statement, not far off the mark. Make no mistake, creating a higher outcome than what you have now necessarily means you must change.
If you have a $100 million and some slice of your world is not the way you want it, you must change. Not if you are OK with that 30% or whatever that is unhappy, stressed, sub-optimized. If you are OK keeping yourself over-busy, beating yourself up over the past, feeling stress and all of the rest. If you are OK living with those unwanted bedfellows of negative, draining, thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. Well, no, you don’t have to change or do anything differently. But if you want more. If you want it all. Then, you have decisions to make.
Five Steps for Having It All
This will only give you a taste, but it is a place to start. Pull out your note pad and have a new conversation with yourself. Write it down!
1. Dream big – This is where you get to be a little kid again. From wherever you are now, what do you want it to be? Life, job, career, retirement, relationships, health. You can probably come up with 15 or 20 key characteristics of a life so good you can’t stand it. The tricky part is getting out of your own way. This is not about how you get there, or even knowing you can get there. This is getting clear on what you’d like to have and be, if you knew how.
2. Do a gap analysis – The gap between where you are and where you want to go. What stands in the way? What is missing? Here, you have to put your internal psychologist hat on and do a little therapy on yourself. What are the beliefs, emotions, patterns of thought, habits, and other factors that you are going to need to shift? Not how to, but just what are they?
3. Decide – This is where the rubber meets the road. Without clarity and commitment, don’t bother. You have to want that clarity, and want to commit. To be able to feel and taste it. On a scale of 1 to 10, what is your “want” and your commitment? 9s and 10s get done. 5s and 6s are a waste of time.
4. Learn – When I decided I wanted to change the way I was in the world several years ago, I didn’t know how. I could not begin to tell you how happy I am with that decision, but I had to learn. I had to acquire new knowledge and skills. I had to experience so that I could not only know how, but fully believe. What's behind all of that is way more than I can write here.
5. Act – You have to want it, and you have to do it. “The work” does not require massive blocks of time. Rather, it is staying committed. It is opening up to possibility. It is creating a new awareness, and then being eager to act. If you want to learn how to not be upset, for example, you have to be willing to stop and recognize that you are in upset. You have to be ready to have a little conversation with yourself that says “My reaction to the problem is the problem”. You have to change your patterns of thought, habits and beliefs. All very doable. But you have to be diligent. You have to act!
If you don't know what to do with all of this, shoot me an email. I'll suggest something to get you started.
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