The New Year is among us, and it represents a perfect opportunity to set some goals and leverage the cultural momentum of “starting fresh.” So what if your goal for 2021 was to flourish as an entrepreneur rather than survive?
There’s quite a big difference between flourishing through something and merely surviving as an entrepreneur.
Flourishing is a kind of living where one’s well-being is improved. You’re flourishing through a given project when that project (and whatever else you’re involved in) is contributing to your well-being, not detracting from it.
Surviving, on the other hand, is the kind of living where one’s well-being is being drained without it being replenished. Generally, when we’re in survival mode, resources are slim and dwindling.
Most folks survive in entrepreneurship. But what if it were possible to flourish through it?
What if there were things you could do, strategies you could employ that, even when material resources were on the downward trajectory (also usually accompanied by growing demands), your overall well-being was on the up and up?
Perhaps somewhat controversially, we think this is possible. And in the spirit of helping you move from survival mode to flourishing for 2021 as quickly as possible, we intend to keep our tips to flourish as an entrepreneur instead survive short and to the point.
Here they are, in order of importance.
1. To flourish as an entrepreneur: Set A Work Schedule and Actually Stick To It
The research is fairly decisive: the longer we work, the more unproductive we become. We’ve been learning this for years now, and we still insist that longer hours will result in better outcomes.
There are certainly outliers, but in general efficiency is improved by a constrained work schedule.
Ohio University has suggested through their research on the American work week that the average worker is only productive for less than three hours of their standard eight-hour work day.
America is among the top in first world countries for longest work weeks, with 18% of workers clocking in 60+ hours a week.
If I had to guess, entrepreneurs likely make up a significant portion of this 18%.
The conclusion for flourish as entrepreneurs instead survive, then? Work less, break more, set a schedule, and stick to it.
Applying these ideas, however, requires a fundamental orientation in the way entrepreneurs (and business owners more generally) conceptualize what it means to flourish. Tip number two, then.
2. Flourish as an entrepreneur: Financial Returns Come Second To Overall Life Returns
What the Ohio University research didn’t make a claim about was the fundamental cause of the long work week for Americans.
In my estimation, it seems centered around financial returns. America, for all of its pros and cons, has had (and continues to have) an undeniably robust economy. And it didn’t get to where it is from nothing.
It took long, arduous, regular work weeks from those determined enough to keep going.
If your drive for financial returns comes at the cost of, say, quality of family life, friendships and relationships, then it seems difficult to say that you’re still flourishing nevertheless.
So, ask yourself what it means for you to flourish.
Which relationships need to be prioritized and in order?
What improvements are you looking to make in your life?
How much sleep would you like to get?
How often do you want to enjoy your closest friends?
Chances are that flourishing as an entrepreneur will be a matter of making good on the answers you give to the above questions.
If your trajectory is set toward ending up rich in cash but poor in relationships, your orientation may need some adjusting.
Keeping track of orientation isn’t easy, though. So, here’s tip number three.
3. Keep A Daily Journal, Even If You Only Write A Sentence A Day
With any goal, the key to achieving it will be tracking its progress (or lack there of).
We know this and do it diligently with our revenue, marketing, and sales efforts. So why not with our personal development goals?
Whether it be a spiral notebook, a fancy five-year journal (hoping to get one of these for myself this Christmas), or a binder with sticky notes, write down each day how you’re doing, what you’re doing, and how it’s all contributing to your version of flourishing.
Check in each quarter or bi-annually to note your progress by reading notes or journal entries from the past months.
The way to flourish as an entrepreneur in 2021 rather than merely survive it will be in resetting your work week, adjusting your fundamental orientation, and recording it all in a journal.
Entrepreneurship is tough work and is not for the faint of heart, but there’s no reason us entrepreneurs can’t shift our reputation from the hardest working group of individuals in the world to the smartest working group of individuals in the world.
We are innovators, after all.