It's awesome to be proud of what you're doing and HOW you're doing it!
We've all fallen in love with businesses that are doing things really, really well. We know who they are and we want to know they're story. Part of the reason we fall in love with those business is not what they're doing, but how they're doing it. We admire the way these businesses stick to their values no matter what.
When you base your business practices on what you believe and what you value, you can be proud of what you're doing and you can be proud of of how you're doing it. You won't tire of working hard because you know the outcome is something that is in line with your beliefs and values.
Everyone admires the person who stands by their values no matter what is thrown at them.
I've seen those business that start out with the best of intentions. They want to give their employees their best: great pay, vacation time, a sense of community. They want to focus on great customer service. They want to create great products with sustainable resources. And they do that for a while, and it's awesome, and they grow.
But as a business grows, as things get busier and money becomes more important, those things seem to fall by the wayside. Those businesses that once valued their employees are no longer focusing on creating a sense of community, but on getting the most out of each person without paying attention to the needs of the individual. As long as they're bringing in the money, as long as they're selling their product, it doesn't seem to matter. They concentrate on customer service until they realize that it's hard to give the customer what they want all the time. They start making the customer work really hard to get what they need from the business. Companies start out with great, sustainable business practices and products, but as they grow it becomes harder to find sustainable resources.
The problem with this is that even though those businesses may be making a profit and may look good from the outside, inside they are dying. We watch businesses die because the owners are no longer basing what they do on what they believe and value. They let that slip away and then wonder why they're no longer happy. They come into work and work hard and accomplish things and make a profit, but they're no longer fulfilled at the end of the day. They don't have any joy in what they do because they can't be proud of the way they're doing it.
It's easy to have a great idea. It's harder to follow through on it.
It's easy to get excited about starting a business. You have a great idea. You have a great vision for what the future holds. And you start out with the best of intentions, saying "I really want to help this person accomplish this thing. I have done this in my own life and I'm super passionate about helping others get on track. I want to make sure I serve my customer to the best of my ability. And I want to do it in a way that I can be proud of." You start out doing that and you feel great. I mean, really great. You're stoked by the way your business is growing and the responses you're receiving. You're proud of what you're doing, even if you're not reaching a ton of people. You come back to whatever you're doing: your products, your services, your blog, your writing and you can look at it say say, "Even if I'm not reaching a ton of people, the people I am reaching, I really helping." You may only get a few emails from readers or clients, but those emails are so positive because they really see that you are following what you believe.
But then, as things get busier, you start trying to write more posts per week, coach your clients, design your website, create new products, get noticed on social media (everything you're told comes with being in business), you let your values fall away.
You're no longer putting out posts that not just useful, but encouraging. You're not checking in with your values to make sure you're on track with where you want to be going. We all do it. We get so caught up in the little things: the to-do list, the things you have to check off everyday in order to be successful. When you concentrate on those little things every day, you lose the bigger picture of why you're doing it at all. If you're saying, "I have to post on Twitter six times a day because that's what everybody says to do in order to build a bigger following," you're losing the purpose for sharing any of your content. That purpose is to help your audience, to reach people. You're doing what you think you should do, but you're not doing it the WAY you should be doing it.
If you lose the WHY, you're going to lose the HOW.
This is going to look different for everyone. Some people may really value getting back to nature or eating healthy and loving your body. Some people may value really serving a certain type of customer. But they get caught up in all the things that say 'you have to do this thing this way in order to be successful.' And who doesn't want to be successful? Who doesn't want to be able to turn their business into something they can sustain and keep doing for a long time?
There are days when I'm not feeling it. When I write a post that I don't believe in or think will help my audience, but I write it anyway. Then no one has anything positive to say about it. I probably shouldn't have written it in the first place. I should have taken a break. I should have gotten out and really thought about WHY I'm doing this. I'm doing this to sustain creativity in my own life. I'm doing this to encourage the people that I reach, so if what I'm doing isn't encouraging those people, what's the point?
Unless you're checking back in with your values, your business can become something you dread.
It's not about making money or getting more followers. Those things aren't bad (we all need to make money), they just aren't your values. Those are goals, those are outcomes, but if that's all you concentrate on, you're never going to love what you're doing. You can have a million dollars, but still be unsatisfied with your life if you didn't get there in a way that satisfying to the soul.
You can't claim to believe something, but do something else in your business.
If you have a belief system, you need to incorporate that in your business. It's not sustainable to go against your beliefs while you're working and try to follow them when you aren't. You can't separate your life into pieces.
If you've read my blog, you know that I'm passionate about sharing how to live intentionally, and how that intention leads to building a life of faith. If I write a ton of blog posts about how to grow your business, but I'm not going back to a life of faith, then I'm not following through on my values. I'm not saying what I need to be saying.
If someone is trying to go in a completely different direction, you aren't going to be able to help them get there.
You can't be afraid to put your belief and values out there. You have to do it even if you're afraid of chasing people away because the people who are going to be put off by your values are not the people you need to be reaching. You need to find people you can serve who have similar values and beliefs. If you don't, it's going to be draining. It's great when you find someone in your life that you can help, who may be a couple steps behind where you are, who is paying attention to the same things, who wants to go in the same direction. If someone is trying to go in a completely different direction, you aren't going to be able to help them get there.
It surprises me sometimes the people I get emails from. They may not share my beliefs, but they respect that I'm willing to put my beliefs out there and create useful content at the same time. You have to be open with what you value and believe, but you also have to put out really great products, or services, or content. If you don't, then no one is going to get anything out of what you do. It's a balancing act between business and beliefs. The most important part of business (in my opinion) is that you can be proud of not only what you're doing, what you're putting out there, but also of how you're doing it. When you combine the how, the why, and the what, you get really, really great moments when the people you are reaching are as passionate about what you do as you are. They can see that what you're doing is something that you really love and are super passionate about.
If you have a passion for something, you can't hide it.
And if you aren't passionate about something, it's obvious. You can be the best writer in the world, but if you're not passionate about a subject, it's going to come across as boring because it's boring to you. You can't make something sound fun, interesting, and wonderful if you don't think that it is. It's so important to make your beliefs and your values a part of your business and a part of your life.