The joy of the experience

One of my closest friends took me to task recently. She said I’d got too wrapped up in my earnings and measurable results and that I was losing sight of the big picture.

And she was right.

See, I’ve been having a great year, earnings-wise. But I kept pushing that bar higher and higher.

And so I just never felt like I was as good as I could be.

I kept changing my definition of success, in my pursuit of achievement. Whatever I said was good enough last week, suddenly wasn’t good enough this week. I needed to do more.

Well, if there’s anything to appreciate, it’s a good friend. And my friend told me point blank that I was being ridiculous. And she’s right.

I’d become so focused on growing my business and measuring myself by that yardstick that I lost sight of all the amazing things going on outside my bank account. (And, as I’ve noted, it isn’t like my bank account is a problem right now.)

And so, all week, I’ve been thinking about all the amazing things I’m doing right now. I revised my goals for the next two quarters, so that they focus more on where I’m going and less on what numbers I need to achieve. I’m going to focus more on doing and less on measuring.

This is a hard thing. I mean, I’ve been having an amazing year with my business. So looking at the numbers must be the solution, right?

Well, I’m not going to focus on the numbers for the next while. I’m going to look to my dreams and my hopes and my passions.

That’s because I didn’t leap into self-employment with the aim of making as much money as I could. I did it because I wanted to take control of my life, have flexibility, call my own shots….I did it for the experience and the quality of life. And, frankly, there’s no way to measure that. Being acquisitive with my revenues isn’t going to show all the great things I’ve done with my life — even though this has been a great year in terms of finances. Because it’s not about the money. It’s about the spectacular family, friends, lifestyle, balance and joy I have. And I wouldn’t give that up, no matter how high my revenues soared.

When I look back when I’m 90, I won’t say, "Gee, wasn’t 2008 a great revenue year?" No, I hope I’ll say, "Wow, wasn’t 2008 the year I took amazing personal risks? Wasn’t that the year my boys were both still so little and I got to spend so much time with them? Wasn’t that an amazing year?" It will never be about the numbers, even if the numbers were fantastic. They aren’t the point.

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