We live in an age that give us the power to engineer our own lives and careers, where we can be whoever we want to be and live wherever we want to live. Yet, many of us are still living somewhat restrictedly, subscribing to ideals that aren’t ours and getting stuck behind invisible barriers that we didn’t put up. Why do we do that and how can we stop?
More doesn’t always go with “money’’
The traditional business paradigm states that being successful means realizing more revenues, making more profit, accumulating more wealth… While that’s all fine and dandy, it has often led people – employees and entrepreneurs alike – down the rabbit hole. It is easy to subscribe to the perception that we have to work as hard as possible, earn as much as possible and be as good as possible, thereby placing enormous pressure not only on ourselves but on everyone around us: our families, partners, friends, colleagues, suppliers. The idea that humans are capable of achieving great things is, in theory, wonderfully noble; what we often forget is that we have limited awake time, limited energy and limited attention spans. The focus should be, rather, on achieving things slowly and steadily, over time, while also learning along the way and reflecting on our successes and failures. Those who rush to do it all often find themselves on the brink of a mental, physical or relationship breakdown, of which the consequences can be dire and long-lasting. While success in and of itself is a great achievement, it shouldn’t come at the cost of breaking the pillars in your life: your health, sanity, and close relationships.
The only constant is change
The idea that you can be successful all the time is another fallacy of our modern world. We are incessantly inundated with images, videos and stories of the rich, famous and successful on various TV and social media channels. It’s easy to feel inferior in some way, by just browsing through one’s Instagram feed. We all have successful entrepreneur friends who are always working on launching the next great startup idea and cashing in. Or those supermoms who seem to juggle their jobs, children, pets and social lives with the ease of a time-travelling, teleportation-capable magician. In reality, sustaining high levels of anything over long periods of time isn’t sustainable; don’t let social media tell you otherwise.
Give yourself a break and know that nothing is constant in life – successes and failures come and go, and that’s okay. If you’re going through a bad streak, remind yourself that it, too, shall pass. And if you’re having success, enjoy it but also be mindful of the fact that it may not last forever. Prepare a contingent plan and embrace change – the only constant in a world that keeps evolving.
Lately, there has been a sizeable societal fear of change – those who don’t understand or aren’t part of the technological revolution are feeling more left out each day. They often label technology destructive of traditional norms and values and proclaim that humanity will soon be ruled by artificially intelligent beings, who will take over our jobs and who-knows-what-else. Although not surprising, this type of attitude is unlikely to generate positive results. Change is happening, whether we may like it or not – resisting it is futile and counterproductive. Instead of going against the wind of change, everyone can take small steps towards learning more about the new landscape we live in, understanding what it means for the current state of the industry, employment and society, and participating in it rather than getting left behind.
An open mind is a joy forever
Technology aside, we all have high stakes in the natural evolution of our world, in wanting live better. Sometimes technology can help us do that and that’s how we need to look at it, vs. labeling it an evil force. Identifying opportunities for improvement and change is at the core of all successful entrepreneurs – they all managed to find something they could make better.
Keeping your finger on the pulse
Innovation, leading to business success, can only really happen if we foster an open environment for ourselves and those we work with: partners, team members, customers and providers. These stakeholders all have ideas on how things can be improved in business, in processes, in operations – all we have to do is ask. So, next time you are thinking about undertaking expensive market research, take your colleagues or your customers out to lunch instead. Be humble, ask questions and above all – be a good listener.
Do your best to see the world from their eyes, try to figure out what their needs and desires are, and how you can help bridge the gap between the existing and the ideal. Innovative ideas and opportunities to create value are all around us; we just have to look and ask – something we often don’t leave time for. The desire to do more and be more leads to hectic schedules and short-term wins with no breathing time. But it’s the idle time that allows ideas and concepts to further develop in our minds, before they can become actionable items. Do allow yourself and your teams this mental space and time – you’ll be glad you did.
Copywriter: Ina Danova