Success Is How You Shape It: Finding Personal Fulfilment in Your Business

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Fulfilment plays a big part in how you approach your work.

When you do not derive any personal fulfilment from your business, work becomes a chore that’s soul-crushing over time. In that struggle, you can lose your sense of purpose and feel like you’re not channelling your energy towards anything meaningful.

It’s hard enough when that happens in your career, but even worse if this is your own business. In my experience, I don’t think there was a single moment where I knew I’d “made it” in business, the path to fulfilment looks like a different picture for everyone, but you absolutely know when you are heading in the right direction.

For me, there are multiple factors of fulfilment based on my personal values and initial business goals. Basically for me, I know I’ve got it made when:

  • I’m making money and I’ve got the capacity to get out of the office whenever I want. I don’t always work Friday afternoons. I can go on a holiday most of the time, whenever I want. I’m well on the way to fulfilment because I don’t have to work a 40 hour week.
  • There’s enough freedom to build my own work hours. While I can’t pick and choose every aspect of when I work, I have far more choice than I would in a nine-to-five. I can travel a lot more, and work from wherever I want, so I’m pretty close to having that freedom.
  • I’m helping my clients and I’m getting the results that affect others. It’s probably only been the last 12 months that I’ve truly felt my offer is real, and generating impact for others and my business.

No matter what your personal reasons are for owning and growing a business, you need to be continually working to achieve your initial purpose and reach to keep you and your team inspired and energised to stay with it.

What does fulfilment mean?

Fulfilment is defined as the achievement of something desired, promised or predicted. For business owners, it’s about having a positive impact rather than more profit.

Just to be clear, this isn’t all about hard work, it’s about having a positive mindset. When your personal goals are aligned with your business goals, you naturally feel like you are doing something that matters to you and your future. This fulfilment creates the sustainable and renewable energy and motivation you need for the hard work to come.

Motivation alone isn’t going to get you there. You’ll need a plan to back it up or all that energy will be scattered and you’ll lose impact and direction. Make sure you build a strategy that works towards fulfilling your goals in bite-size steps. When the goals you’re working toward are concrete and achievable, you can measure your results and feel satisfaction in your progress.

Your business growth needs to cover multiple areas, not just your profits. Make sure your strategy also includes ways to continually grow and reach further from a brand, sales and marketing perspective too. It doesn’t need to be in leaps and bounds, improving these aspects gradually over time, along with the work you do, will be enough to see great results and is far more realistic and achievable than expecting drastic changes overnight.

3 ways to find personal fulfilment in your business

Personal fulfilment looks different for everyone, there’s no template or one-size-fits-all method.

For some it is empowering a team, for others, it means working three days a week to spend the other four with family. It’s important to remember you don’t need to compare your fulfilment with another person’s, what you desire for your work and lifestyle is perfect for you, not for someone else.

No matter what your big picture goals look like, they can be achieved with the right planning and guidance.

Here are three ways you can help make it happen:

  1. Maintain your boundaries 

Having a life outside work can seem impossible when you own your own business, but it’s essential if you are going to go the distance and see long term success with your business. Make sure you set aside time and put the same level of effort and energy into life outside of work and keep these two areas separate.

If you’re working from home, separate your living areas from your designated workspace. Make sure your home office is away from members of your family or other individuals who may disrupt your flow. If at all possible, have a closed door between work and home, and keep it closed when you are not in the office.

While mobile phones are part of life and business, you can separate the two by having a separate phone and dedicated number for business. That way you can turn off your personal mobile when you are at work. The same clear boundary-setting works for your time after you clock out. When you’re out spending time with people you care about, you can leave your work (and work phone) at your desk.

Being able to draw effective boundaries between your professional and personal spaces boils down to being wholly present and “in the moment”. That way you can focus your energy on your current experience and get full satisfaction with your input and results.

It is important to know your worth and to be able to set boundaries between your professional and personal life. This will help you to be more productive and to enjoy your life outside of work.

When you stick to your boundaries you elevate your mood, minimise anxiety and decrease the risk of burnout in the long run, enabling you to achieve success and fulfilment in business.

Step back from your daily routine and reconsider how you do things. You are only ever overworked because you choose to be. The way you have your workday structured might very well be what’s leaving you feeling overworked and stressed.

Consider your set-up:

  • Are you scheduling meetings one after the other?
  • Are you getting out of the office for a lunch break?
  • Are you providing space and time to talk to other professionals about your ideas and gaining new perspectives?

The solution is to put in the effort to revise your systems and processes in a smart way so you are only working on the aspects of your business that are necessary for you to do, everything else can be delegated and outsourced to get top quality results without draining your time.

Instead of revisiting systems and implementing a solid structure, most business owners fall into the trap of getting bogged down in the frazzled feeling and leave faulty systems firmly in place.

  1. Celebrate the small wins

There’s no point in having the things you want in life if you don’t stop and appreciate just how amazing they are. Gratitude seems like a small and sentimental thing but actually, this is what makes everything worthwhile. Stopping for a moment and really being thankful for what you have and how much you have learned switches your mentality from all the things that haven’t happened, to all the things that have.

Gratitude is a great way to practise switching from focussing on problems and stressors to focussing on solutions and achievements, putting you in the right frame of mind to see more opportunities for growth.

Take the time regularly to consider, acknowledge and express gratitude for what you have in the present. A simple way to practise this is to write a postcard or a note in a visible spot in your office listing five wins from the past week or month.

  1. Surround yourself with people who build you up

Building and piloting your business can be a lonely and isolating experience, especially if you have no one to discuss your business ideas with or relate to on a professional level.

It’s important to find a network in business to gain support from people who understand the struggles you are facing and can offer meaningful solutions through their own experiences. Even if you are from different industries, fellow founders and small business owners face similar  obstacles and may be able to provide a solution you would never have thought of alone.

As well as people who are on the same journey as you, also look for mentors who have surpassed your current point as they will be in the best position to suggest ways forward based on their business success.

A healthy professional network needs to exist within your team as well. You can achieve this by encouraging differences to create a supportive workplace culture, as well as looking to hire  people who have complementary skills and insights. Staff with a positive outlook and an attitude open to collaboration can boost your confidence, provide additional input on decisions that affect the business and keep you on track to your goals.

A feeling of fulfilment is a personal thing, even so, you can benefit from additional guidance from a business coach. An experienced coach can help uncover what fulfilment means to you and show you how to take steps towards achieving your purpose.

If you feel like you’re only “going through the motions” in your business, getting back to your original goal and finding fulfilment could be the key to revitalising your motivation and passion for work.

If you have lost your way, or maybe forgotten why you do what you do, you can start your journey to personal fulfilment by:

  • Maintaining boundaries between work and play
  • Celebrating wins (big and small)
  • Surrounding yourself with people who build you up

The right support and mindset will help keep you on task and push your business to long-term success to have you loving what you do.

Get in touch with Evolve To Grow business coaches about how we can work with you to take your business to the next level.