How Entrepreneurship Can be the Ultimate Expression of Love
Everyone has heard the advice ‘do what you love and the money will follow,’ right?
Unfortunately that’s not quite true. In fact, I’ve got a $400,000.00 lesson that I’ll share with you later on. However, running your enterprise from the fullest expression of love can and WILL create the meaningful success that matters.
What does the ‘fullest expression of love’ look like?
Like anything and everything it always starts with you. Our responsibility is always on our shoulders first. And looking at the Evolved Enterprise diagram the founder (you) is at the center:
That’s because a business is always a reflection of the leader’s evolution.
The wild thing is even if someone appears to be successful, they still could very well be existing in a slumbering type of half-hearted state. Frankly, I’ve made a lot of money without totally applying myself fully. And that’s not because I don’t care about my ventures or customers. If you get the mechanics around delivering exceptional value correct – you will be rewarded. But I think you can take it to another level. I’ve seen it over and over again with individuals seeming to have a great business but they are not fulfilled at a deeper level. They think business is just business and don’t consider how it could be their art. And that’s why so many people start looking for creative (or sometimes self destructive) outlets to compensate for not being totally engaged. Then that lack of energy carries over to your team, your work, and your customers. Truly everything.
Everything comes at the right time.
We can either resist this ‘cosmic alarm clock’ or lean into and embrace the transition into something bigger and better.
Granted it’s not always a frictionless transformation. But those thoughts you have of ‘there’s something bigger I could be playing at’ or rationalizing work as just work. Those are all indicators that change is coming.
This is where following what you love becomes a huge double-edged sword by simply and blindly following a passion without an established business model. Plus, if you have a pretty much carte blanche checkbook that doesn’t help either because you continue to throw more and more cash into it instead of thinking of creative solutions.
So what happens?
Well you’ll continue getting bonked on the head with increased severity if you don’t figure it out. For me, it took finally selling my Aston Martin to cover payroll in order to make the changes we needed to get profitable. But I’m thankful for those experiences because it forced me to truly decide if the vision for what we were building was worth it or not. And that’s where passion really helps you with perseverance.
One of my favorite questions during this period has been, ‘What would you do even if you knew it would fail?’
I believe I heard this from Brene Brown inside her awesome book Daring Greatly. It makes you think if whatever you’re doing is worth your life’s energy or not?
It’s an even better question than one you may have heard before, ‘What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?’ The refined version forces you to consider putting in your full heart & soul regardless of the outcome. This is something I’ve been practicing more and more after studying it through one of my favorite recent books The Great Work of Your Life: A Guide for the Journey to Your True Calling by Stephen Cope.
Putting in the work (if it’s from a true place of meaning) is enough reward.
Sometimes that concept may be difficult, but if we’re awaiting outside for praise or recognition we’re always beholden to it.
So if you can truly awaken from the autopilot nature of where you are – you can start to stir a deeper sense of direction. And that inner guide has the key to what you can be doing to re-invent or re-work your company or yourself.
And at the highest expression is LOVE.
Loving yourself and honoring yourself shows up in many ways. It takes time and it’s an ongoing process. I’ll recommend my friend, Kamal Ravikant’s book, ‘Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It.
It’s a very personal story Kamal took as CEO of a venture-backed company in Silicon Valley and he went from depressed and blackness to fully engaged and living at an optimal level. You’ll have to challenge yourself to do the exercises in here for significant results.
Aligning With Your Shadow
Part of my journey has also been going deeper and exploring my ‘shadow’. This is a Jungian concept for a part that we want to repress and hold back typically from the light. And many times it comes up in all sorts of ways. It could be road rage and yelling at other people in traffic in front of your kids, it could be sexually acting out, it could be continually beating yourself up for not being good enough. One way you can often recognize a shadow is a behavior you see in others that elicits a charged reaction in you that really bothers you. Many times just bringing awareness to your shadow is a fast step forward to integrating it more fully into who you are.
Personally, one of my shadows was recognizing I was not ever giving 100%.
With my businesses, I’ve always done well and over-delivered but I’ve never given my everything. If I’m being totally honest, it’s probably because that leaves a little room to justify results if they are not what you hoped for.
As I mentioned before, echoing the Great Work of Your Life book – by putting your full essence behind something, you let go of the outcome because your full effort is reward by itself.
Loving yourself is also about taking care of yourself. One of my very astute friends, Richard Rossi, likes to ask ‘How would you treat a million dollar racehorse?’ Would you feed them junk? Would you let them not get enough rest? Would they get training whenever they felt like it? Or instead, would there be consciousness and intentionality in what you do? Of course there would. And you can probably guess where Richard was going with this – you’re the million-dollar racehorse. Actually I’d bet you’re worth significantly more than a mil.
But how are you treating yourself?
The Daily Return Path to Joy, Happiness and Bliss was part of my experiment to see how I can purposely work on making sure I’m the best I can be each day.
Am I perfect? No, not at all but I know I’m consistently evolving and growing.
Loving yourself fully changes the dynamics of how everyone around you reacts to you too. Because if we’re honoring your authentic vision there’s no time to say ‘Yes’ when you really should be saying ‘No’ to things that don’t support this. So many entrepreneurs I know are wired to be giving but they don’t make space for themselves.
I see working on your own evolution as holographic for your business since we know everything really stems from you as the leader. Meaning a change to ‘you’ creates a change in your business too. It really does work that way.
By law, a corporation is its own entity, right? So as an entity (AKA a ‘body’), the analogy would continue that there is a ‘Soul’ inside. It might sound really odd but I think that’s true. Your business can stand for something more and just like we evolve, your business’ purpose can evolve too.
A venture could be created with the purpose of simply maximizing bottom line profit, or it could be upped one level by having a distinctive mission or big ‘Why’. (Though I truly believe they are not mutually exclusive. In the Evolved Enterprise framework your bottom line is actually enhanced by a bigger mission.)
A conscious business is a catalyst to enhance every area of the business starting internally with culture…
Regardless if you set an intentional culture or not, there’s always a culture internally within your company.
Your employees could be showing up just for their paycheck at the lowest level of engagement, coming together for the culture one level up or because they truly believe they’re playing a part in something bigger.
And what if your goal as the leader was to help everyone on your team become the fullest expression of themselves? Same as your personal evolution, right?
Your company becomes the container and catalyst for growth, learning and complete expression of their gifts & talents. Not everyone is wired to do their own thing but when you can give your team a ‘sandbox’ to build their dreams, they win and you win. Zappos is a well-praised poster child (for good reason) lately for taking their culture of happiness seriously. Just one of the perks there is having a ‘dream manager’ who helps their team figure out their dreams (i.e. owning a house, etc.) and making it happen. That’s huge.
On our Team Green we start with strengths testing and then through some trial and error help our team members experiment and move into roles best suited for them.
I’m really proud of this note I got from a Maverick Team Green member just the other day:
“I just want to say thank you for listening to my ideas and giving me the space to grow them. I have never experienced this type of freedom in my job and cannot even begin to express how much it means to me. I am very passionate about working towards positive change in our world. There is nothing I aspire to more than to be in a place where I can really help people. So once again, thank you for giving me the opportunity to realize my dreams. I love Maverick – the team and the members.”
Let’s look at a few other facets…
If I’m just selling something without a bigger meaning, I’m simply selling to sell no matter what. But raising the intention up a level is a consultative sale. But still on a whole different level is falling in love with your prospect. And if you’re in love with them that means you could do what’s in your customer’s true best interest.
If you love your prospect, you would be doing them a disservice to not get them to purchase, right? It’s a subtle but dramatic difference. And if there’s true love with the product or service that also creates a higher-level engagement with your customers/members/clients.
On the lowest level of our triangle people are simply getting a need met. Your product or service is their solution so it’s transactional. At the next level there is a community being built with a true identity tied in. And finally at the highest level of expanded love, your customers see it as their responsibility to actually ‘convert’ others. Yes, almost evangelical.
Don’t get me wrong about everything I’ve just covered. I think business is already a value driver and server or else it would be out of business, but by truly adding a genuine element of love it could be so much more. It can move from transactional, to transformational or even transcending business as usual. It could be an Evolved Enterprise.