3 Reasons Why You Should Only Have One Goal The Rest of Your Life

If you don’t have a vision for your own life, you’ll become part of someone else’s vision for theirs.

There is a lot of discussion about being intentional about living a life of purpose. Most of us are only intentional about working hard and making money, but when it comes to the big picture of a life well-lived, we just hope it all works out. Random hope is not a strategy. To have a life of purpose, we have to live on purpose. Here are three reasons why you should take the bull by the horns and make life happen for you, not to you.

Making Money is Not An Empowering Vision
My first book was titled Making Money Is Killing Your Business because people who focus on making a lot of money as their main business goal, rarely make a lot of it, but people who have a reason to be in business that is much bigger than just making money, are more likely to make a lot of it.

Making money is not motivating by itself, simply because money is only a resource, a means to an end, not the end itself. The Industrial Age Factory System taught us the lie that if you just made a bucket load of money, you should be happy. But chasing money is not motivating by itself. We need something much bigger to keep us going, especially during those times where making money is not happening.

A Goal Realized is No Longer Motivating
The dirty little secret in life is that the joy is not in the acquisition, but in the pursuit. When you got your first stereo in high school, you were immediately looking for the next, bigger, better one. The same goes for cars, houses, and stuff in general. Once we have it, we want something else. Some luxury sports cars have an average ownership of under four months—once people have them, they are no longer alluring.

As human beings, we are most motivated by the process of building a great life, not by acquiring stuff. The bumper sticker from the 80’s—“He who dies with the most toys, wins”, proved to not be motivating. Researchers say happiness is not about having money, but having a good reason to have it. Happiness is very closely related to having something that gets us out of bed every morning that is bigger than making money.

We Are Made to Do and to Be Something Significant
I don’t mean we’re all supposed to solve world hunger, but we’re all motivated by being able to look back and say, “This was a life well-lived.” To do that, we need to focus on the few things we value that we can actually impact, and build a story around putting our hand to that, not just paying our mortgage and surviving.

Something You Can Never Check Off As Complete
If making money is not an empowering vision, and a goal realized is no longer motivating, we need something long-term that will motivate us to make even more money and never be completed. We call this your Lifetime Goal, or The Big Why. The one thing that separates a Big Why from any other type of goal you have ever set, is that it can never be checked off as completed.

Being a great parent, working with disadvantaged kids, helping single moms, building a non-profit, encouraging veterans, or yes, solving world hunger; none of these can ever be checked off. And all of them give making money a new meaning. Now you have to make money because it will be one of the resources (along with time and energy) that help you realize your Big Why. It’s not really about a Giant Why (solving world hunger), but about a Continuous Why (something that motivates you that you can never complete). Remember, the joy is in the pursuit, not in the acquisition.

Years ago Alan Wyngarden came to me and said, “I know I have my Big Why.” I asked him how he knew that, “Because it has me. And I know it has me because now that I’m clear about the big things I want to do in life that I can never check off, I shoot out of bed in the mornings, and every single decision I make is passed through the question, “Will that help me get to my Big Why?”

Alan went on to convert all other short-term goals (business and personal goals for the year or quarter) to “waypoints”. Sailors only have one goal—the destination, and all the X’s on the map are just points along the way. When you finally articulate your Big Why, all the reachable objectives that you used to call goals now simply exist to get you to that one goal that can never be checked off as completed. Instead of focusing on getting the next bigger house, you are asking yourself how that house will serve you in living out your Big Why. Making money is now a means to an end, not the empty end all by itself.

People with Big Whys have a reason to make a lot more money, and ensure that they have the Time and Energy to live them out. You already have a Big Why, you just need to take the time to bring it to the surface and write it down. And when you do, you will run through Survival, right past material Success, and straight to a life of Significance.

You get what you intend, not what you hope for. Find your Big Why and live it out!

Article as seen on Inc.com

Time Away From Business Is As Important As Time Working In It

Surveys show 76% of CEOs, owners and founders don’t take time away from the business. The sad irony is that nothing will hurt their ability to grow a successful business more than working in the trenches every day.

My wife and I just spent a month in Tuscany, an amazing part of the world. Our three businesses are built to run when we’re not there. For founders, CEOs and owners of every business of every size, time away from the office should not be an after thought, but a major, regular, and very intentional part of your schedule.

Get Out of The Way, And Get Away
Ricardo Semler owns a billion dollar business and is actively involved, but never in the day2day decision-making. Lyric Turner built three great local businesses specifically because, and only after, she got out of the day2day and moved 2,000 miles away. I’ve built 10 businesses from the ground up. In the first five, I thought I was a Business Owner, but later I realized I was only an Income Producer, because I was too necessary to get away.

Owning vs. Being Owned
The ability to get away regularly is a big part of building a business, not just an income. An Income Producer thinks they own a business, but in reality it owns them. When they look in the mirror and ask the boss for time off, they just get back a blank stare.

In my sixth business I was determined to be intentional about building that business to run when I was not there. I adopted the mindset that I would not call myself a Business Owner until the time when my business didn’t own me. I decided I would identify myself only as an Income Producer until it produced time right along with money.

The 50% Rule
Most of us only get money from our businesses, if that, because we assume a business can only produce money. In my sixth business, I learned every business can, and should, also produce time. I work with business leaders around the world and I now regularly challenge them to have at least 50% of their time a) unscheduled (that’s the easy one), and b) unavailable to solve crises (that’s the hard one). That’s real leadership. Every business leader should strive for this as a minimum.

It could take three to seven years or more to get fully there from startup, but you should be seeing incremental progress every year. The first year of my sixth business I worked almost seven days a week. The second year was six days a week, but by the third year I was getting Fridays off here and there. By the sixth year, I had every Monday and Friday, the last week of the month, and a month a year to get up in the morning and say, “What should I do today?” That’s 72% of the work year that I’m no longer managing, so I could focus on leading—very different things.

“Time In The Margins”? Really?
I hear business leaders talk about “getting time in the margins”. The use of the word “margins” shows that we don’t think time away from the day2day is a central feature of owning or running a business, but something you only get when nothing important is going on. We shouldn’t get “time in the margins”, we need it as a core principle of leading a business. It’s necessary for being great leaders and for having the energy to push our companies forward.

The Business Owner’s Game
Stop hoping you’ll get time and put it in your business plan right along with making money. The key practice is learning to play The Business Owner’s Game teaches you to do only the things you should do, and nothing else. It’s the simplest, most powerful thing you can do to become a leader.

I take as much vacation as I feel I need to stay fresh and productive, which, for me, isn’t a lot. When you are a business owner and your business is producing both time and money, you get to decide how you will use that time. The difference is choice. Do you get to choose what to do with your time? If not, you might want to call yourself an Income Producer until you get there.

You get what you intend, not what you hope for. Intend to become a true Business Owner and get control of your schedule so you can have the Freedom to lead.

Tuscany was great, by the way.

Article as seen on Inc.com