My mission as a business consultant is simple: I want you to love your business. Many of the business owners I talk to every day don’t want to focus on making more money for the sake of having money, they want to focus on bringing joy to their lives with their business. That joy might be a tropical vacation (which requires money) or having more time to spend with the kids (without worrying about how to make enough money to pay the bills), or it might be the joy found in giving back to your community and making a difference in the world. However you define your joy in life, I want you to find that joy with your business.
Finding your joy is also a part of the mindfulness movement as it trains you to focus on the good things happening in the moment, big or small. Finding joy in mindfulness is also about cultivating joy; intending to create joy rather than wait for it to fall in your lap. And this is why mindfulness has a place in business, too. Owning your own business requires intention and a sharp awareness of what is happening in the moment.
So how can you use mindfulness in your business?
1. Know what gives you joy and set goals to get there.
Spend a few minutes each morning before you start your work to think about what gives you joy. Some people really like having a dream board to fill with photos of what gives them joy. If you want to think about this in a smaller, bite-sized scale, start with what you enjoy doing the most when you have a day off and make plans to do it on the next weekend, and then plan backwards with what you need from your business to get you there. So if you like going to the beach with your family, think about what that might cost and create the intention for yourself to earn enough money to get you there. If you like doing charity work, think about planning a work-week with an extra day-off built in so that you still get through all of those emails and phone calls but have room to volunteer at the local soup kitchen every Tuesday or plan to earn enough money in addition to covering your financial floor to sponsor a meal for a senior citizen each week.
2. Define your purpose through your business.
I already shared my mission with you. This is something that I care about that goes beyond taking care of myself with my business. This is how you find your joy within your business that makes every day worth doing and doing right. Some businesses have an obvious mission for joy, like non-profits, but if you do something more ‘routine’ like repair appliances, it may not be so obvious. Ask yourself why you love repairing appliances? Is it to help families have dependable machines in their home that they can rely on to keep them healthy, warm, and safe? The actions of your business make an impact in the world around you and you want to be intentional about what that impact is. This also feeds into your Unique Selling Position. For the appliance repair example, if you find joy in helping families, you might find your target audience is women with young children. They would be open to different marketing tactics than empty-nesters.
3. Prioritize for your needs.
Business owners often feel like their to-do list is never ending: emails, ordering stock or supplies, reconciling accounts, social media, loan paperwork… and this is all on top of your household list of getting the groceries and vacuuming the floor. It helps to write down the things you feel like you must do, just to get them out of your head, and this is actually the best way to start prioritizing your life and business goals, too. I like the “have to,” “need to,” and “want to” strategy. List all of the things you “must” get done and rank them as one of these three choices. For example, if you make a product to sell, you have to buy the supplies you need and you have to make your product if you’re going to have anything to sell. But you don’t have to do your social media today, that’s really more of a need to do task because it is beneficial if you do it, but your business won’t come to a screeching halt if you miss it. The want to tasks are often things that align with your vision for your business, like wanting to take your kids to the park after school. This is something that you would enjoy and maybe you are trying to have your own business to make more time for your kids, so this want to task helps boost your joy in life and in your business. Many mindfulness guides suggest taking one thing off of your want to task list and doing it every day. My suggestion is to finish your have to tasks first, then give yourself a break with a want to, and follow up with a need to task to finish out your day. And remember, not all of your have to tasks are things you have to do yourself. I have to get groceries because I have to eat at some point, but I don’t have to go to the store for this task now that we have things like online grocery ordering. So if your list of tasks that have to get done in a day seems daunting, see what you can hand off to someone else or which items are really more of a need to and not a have to task.
Still wondering how you will make money by using mindfulness in your business?
Focusing on what your purpose is in life and letting that guide your tasks for the day will keep you focused on what really matters in your business. This leads to better productivity and fewer opportunities to go down a rabbit hole without ever getting done the things you have to get done. Sure, yoga and meditation practices from mindfulness can help boost productivity, too, but for me, it’s all about knowing what you want and letting everything else fall away so that you stay focused on what really matters to you.