Many business owners, like you, work their asses off getting their business to a sustainable place. Once it’s actually working, you’d think they’d be over the moon and feel nothing but celebratory and ecstatic, right? Why then, do so many actually feel blah, down, or even depressed?
It is counterintuitive, right? You would think that once you get your business sustainably bringing in revenue, you’d feel pumped up, excited, and relieved. And, it’s true… there is some of that. However, underneath the relief, celebration, or sense of accomplishment, I often witness a few other challenging things going on too.
After working for months and years to get your business working, there is almost always tiredness and a deep need for rest. It's like a runner finishing a marathon. Yes, they celebrate crossing that finish line, but then they need to recover.Getting your business to a sustainable place is no easy task. The work is real and the toll it takes on you emotionally, physically, mentally, and spiritually is real. A period of deep rest is often what's needed - a bit of a break, some mental, physical, emotional rest from the stresses of growing a business. And, if you've done a good job of setting up your business in a smart way - it'll be able to sustain itself without you pushing so hard for a short while.
You may experience a sense of sadness, grief, or even a mild depression which is fed by and exacerbated by the tiredness. However, these experiences also occur because getting your business to a point where it provides consistent revenue isn't a point of arrival (as it is often depicted in business growth circles and communities). When you reach one stage of business success, it's not the end game... it's just one step on the path which is briefly visited before going on to the next stage of building. The first few times I see business owners reach these peaks in their business growth, there is a grief process involved with learning that the business cycle continues. And this can be a struggle for some (many?) business owners because what they want is to build their business so that it's working well, and then have it "just work." This is exactly what I observed in the last company I worked for. The owner was so disheartened because they kept having to work to keep their business growing and they thought they could grow it to a certain point, and then have it just run with a minimum investment of time and money from them. It was challenging to hear the truth that this is not how it generally works.This reminds me of the scene in the original Jurassic Park when Dennis Nedry said, "You can run this whole park from this room with minimal staff for up to three days. You think that kind of automation is easy, or cheap? You know anyone else who can network eight connection machines and debug two million lines of code for what I get paid for this job? Because if they can I’d love to see them try." Many business owners wish that all the work they put in to get to where they are today would allow them to get the rest they crave, or pursue pleasure more full time, while their business runs automatically. But, just like in Jurassic Park, it doesn't usually end very well when they try. Eventually, at a certain scale, with certain business models, this can happen, but it's typically in much larger scaled businesses, those priced at a premium, or a combo of both using traditional manipulative marketing techniques - and almost never in service based businesses. It's notable that, even in situations where a business scales to a point that the owner can rest and has way more free time, that the reality of running the business doesn't change, it's just different people doing all the hard work.
Another piece of this phenomenon is that by the time the business success is achieved, the vision has become dated and is no longer deeply motivating or meaningful. As with mountain climbers... once they reach the top, while they may feel some exhilaration, their gaze often turns towards the next peak to climb. With business owners, there often isn't a lot of clarity about what that next business peak to climb actually is. This is why I think it's so important to have a much larger, and more grand vision of what you are wanting to accomplish in the world, or who you want to be, and connect your business strides with that larger vision. For me, I do this annually in a variety of ways, and there's no way to achieve the vision I have, nor is there a way to fail achieving it. It's simply too grand... but holy hot sauce, it's fun to grow towards. It's compelling to my heart, pulls me forward every day, and I align all my actions to this vision. While I do have business intentions (goals), these are more process oriented, vs. outcome oriented. I'm not working on getting my business to a certain point of arrival - I'm always focused on a much broader vision, of which my business is only a part. So as the years pass, and my business continues to morph, I'm always working towards something quite grand (to my heart). My business could get bigger or get smaller and still be completely aligned with my grander vision... it's not on a linear continuum of the traditional cycle of growth.
So, my question to you, Bere is: What is your much grander vision for yourself within which you align all the elements of your life, including your business?
So, my questions to you are these:• What is the much grander vision you have for yourself and your business?• What are your expectations about the cycle of business growth? Are you preparing your heart now to keep growing, even after you've achieved your current view of success?• How are you taking care of yourself day in and day out so that when you reach a level of success you feel good about, you're not so beaten down or burnt out that you have to take months off?
I’d love to hear how this lands for you.
In the meantime, may you experience more love, not less – all-ways. SM 💜