Browse through any leading social media platform these days and you’ll inevitably scroll to a sponsored video of a self-help guru who is selling their courses and programs, promising to 10x your business and your life by following their blueprint.
Sure it sounds attractive. Who wouldn’t want to 10x their business and rapidly grow to the point of unbridled success beyond what you may have ever imagined was possible?
But what if our over-focus on “success” and being uber-productive is getting in the way of a deeper level of contentment and fulfillment?
Don’t get me wrong: I value a strong work ethic and the freedom of possibility. I’ve started four businesses and have coached numerous others. I’ve hustled and stayed up long hours. I have also gotten caught up in the money and success game. I have felt the seduction of seeing these influencers who are selling their lifestyles of sunsets, smiles, private jets, and vintage motorcycles inside their top-floor penthouse suite. It’s hard not to compare your life to the images that I see on my social media feed. Yet looking beyond the flash brings up the shadow side of the 10x epidemic.
1) If we are not connected to a deeper purpose or sense of meaning, the 10x chase is empty.
While exponential growth and success are seductive, the problem lies in profit and growth without an inner compass. When we are just trying to grow exponentially, but are completely disconnected from what’s most important to us, our health, how our growth impacts the larger environment, and why we are generating in the first place, we are missing the point on having a deeper relationship with ourselves and life. We don’t pay attention to the warning signs of working long hours, burn-out, and never being satisfied with what we have achieved.
And let’s be honest. In the US, we are addicted to the push. In fact, research shows that when people are seen as busy, they are perceived as more successful and having a higher status than those who appear to have more leisure time. This is the exact opposite from a century ago when more leisure time was an indicator of wealth and success. Working long and hard hours is seen as the greatest track to upward mobility and is reinforced in the media and work environments. This is how workaholics are born. In a culture where being busy is valued, we are encouraged to keep our head down and move on to the next task.
Yet, once you spend time around enough multi-millionaires and billionaires who are still miserable, you realize that exponential growth doesn’t cure all ails.
2) Growth, like everything in life, comes in cycles. Nothing trends upward and to the right, forever. Whether it’s the stock market, natural resources on the planet, or GDP, everything has its natural cycles. What goes up, must come down.
Yet in today’s entrepreneurial landscape, there is an unrealistic pressure that our businesses should be trending upwards every year, and that if we don’t achieve at least 20% growth, let alone 10x our business, we’ve failed.
This puts a lot of undue stress on businesses, leaders, and teams that often feel beholden to shareholders, to produce and squeeze more revenues and profit every year, hand over fist. I’ve worked with business owners who were incredibly hard on themselves for only growing 10% over the past year and literally felt like they should hang up their hat.
Companies that don’t live up to shareholder expectations are seen as failures and stocks plummet. Even if they make gains.
What often doesn’t get taken into consideration is the fact that some years are growth years, while other years might be about stabilization, systemization, or adapting to a changing marketplace. Sometimes downsizing or pruning the hedges is the smartest thing you can do in a certain cycle of your business.
We think business should be one never-ending summer, and we don’t respect the wisdom of listening to the different seasons and cycles of life.
Here are some important steps that help ensure that you are not getting seduced by someone else’s ride or definition of success, and truly creating and honoring your own:
#1 Breathe and Slow Down.
It’s exhausting trying to keep up with everyone else. In a world where we are subjected to nonstop data streams, it takes extra effort to breathe, slow down, and check-in with ourselves.
Creating more mindful moments throughout the day help to stay centered and refocused on what is important. We can use our breathing to self-regulate and not get swept up in the fear of missing out or that we are somehow behind.
Slowing down and getting still allows us to check-in with our internal experience and to make sure that nothing feels “off” or out of place.
#2 Connect with Your WHY
What are your highest values? What is rewarding for you at this stage of your life? How do you spend your time and what energizes you the most? Making the time to reflect on what truly motivates you helps you align your actions with your goals.
When we are in “go-mode” and moving from one task to the next, we can lose track of why we are doing things in the first place and how this aligns to the bigger picture. If we don’t make time to get clear about what the bigger picture is for us in the first-place, then our inner compass will always lack clarity.
We get energy from tapping into our purpose. From here, the desire to work flows naturally and we don’t have to push anything. From here 10x is possible but truly coming from our passion and joy in a way that’s integrated with our highest values.
#3 Engaging Our Intuition to Stay on Path.
In our day-to-day hustle, in can be easy to lose focus on how our everyday tasks connect with the bigger picture of what we are working towards.
Tap into your intuitive intelligence and listen for what brings you the most fulfillment. Our intuition is that little voice inside that guides us toward our deeper purpose, and also lets us know when we are off-track.
It’s that quiet whisper that appears in the decisive moments throughout our day and ultimately, our life. Honoring this relationship aligns us to the people and situations that most support and challenge us toward our growth, or we can ignore it at our own peril.
Before the next round of influencers promote ways to 20x your 10x, take a breath, connect with your why, and stay aligned to your mission. Only you hold- the blueprint, the pacing, and pathway- that’s right for your success and fulfillment.