What If They're All Wrong About Business Success?
How I discovered the missing link that's making so many entrepreneurs frustrated
Your results may vary
By Simon Payn, Founder, the Feel Better Project
So there I was on a Saturday morning, dealing with some freaking customer service BS.
Someone in Oregon had emailed my company with a complaint at 10pm the night before. And so I felt compelled to solve it, as soon as I saw that pesky notification… while I was still in bed!
After all, happy customers lead to a successful business. And like a good boy, I wanted to nix her moans.
Yet all the time, while I was researching the answer and typing my reply, I was feeling like crap!
Starting a business was supposed to bring freedom, independence, money… fun. I had quit my job to focus on building my own enterprise; pursuing my own dream.
And yet… despite my desire to live a life on my terms… there I was answering a customer service complaint on a beautiful weekend morning.
Even my old boss didn’t make me work at 9am on a Saturday!
So that got me thinking: Surely it doesn’t have to be this way? Do I really need to be so focused, so diligent, so darn hard-working?
Do I really have to be hunkered over my email when I have a customer service manager to do this stuff for me?
What is making me do this? And what is missing from the dream of entrepreneurship?
That realization started me on a path; a journey that would make me question everything I ever learned about running a business.
Indeed, it would make me question everything I ever learned about living a life!
And out the other side, I found myself more relaxed, happier and joyful.
My mind is more peaceful.
I’m a more loving person.
I have a sense of abundance instead of lack.
Instead of a constant need of stimulation and distraction, I get pleasure from feeling the breeze on my face.
I live from a place of inspiration rather than grind.
On top of that, business got better. Profits were double the year before and I got myself out of the day-to-day operations. No more stressing over customer service on a Saturday morning!
Now know this: I’m not perfect at this stuff. Ahead is a lifetime of practice.
But it’s a wonderful journey… and one I want to share with you now.
Why you don't need to wait to feel joy
You see, in today’s world, we are told certain things:
- Success comes only after long hours of work
- Strategy and plans are what get you where you want to be
- Business is all about hustling and pushing
- Procrastination is something we need to wrestle to the ground
- We must live or die by our to-do list and inbox zero
- Our goal is to make everything grow – make more money, get bigger, build more stuff
I’m here to tell you that most of this is a crock of sh*t. It doesn’t have to be this way.
Let me ask you a question: Why did you start your business?
You might say: Because I want to earn lots of money.
Then I would ask you: Why do you want to earn lots of money?
And you might say: Because I want to be able to buy things.
Then I would ask you: Why do you want to be able to buy things?
And you might say: Because I want to give my children the life that I didn’t have.
And so the questions would go on: Why do you want to give your children the life you didn’t have?
…until we finally reach the answer.
Which is: Because I want to be happy!
Happiness is the answer everyone gives, once they dig down enough; once they question their lives.
After all, isn’t that what all of us really want?
The trouble is, we delay our happiness. We say: when I’ve done this, then I’ll be happy.
When I have 1,000 customers, then I’ll be happy.
When my business is making a million dollars, then I’ll be happy.
Or we go for Friday night drinks or an action movie, finding happiness in forgetting the 9-5 grind.
But the truth is, we will never be happy. There’s always another hill in the way.
Unless… we know one thing: That we can be happy right here and right now. We can choose to be happy first.
And here’s the unadvertised bonus: When we refuse to delay our own wellbeing, the other good stuff happens too: we get more customers and we make more money.
From hunched-up effort to joyful flow
Now… it’s not easy.
There’s years of old habits here, and they’re not a cinch to break.
But that’s what I have started to do, thanks to help from my mentor Julie Arora.
Through experience and practice, I discovered there are things you can do that change your brain, so that wellbeing, joy and – yes – happiness can be delivered, almost at will. Not later. But now.
So let’s get to specifics. Here are the principles:
You have your own inner compass
You have so much more wisdom than you realize. Here’s the reality: you have a navigation system already programmed with where you want to go. The trouble is, if you’re like most people, you’re covering it up. You’re not listening to it. You’re letting your “thinking” mind, with all its conditioning and habits, overrule it. But when you start listening to your inner compass, everything becomes easier. If you need to turn left, your compass tells you. If you’re going in the wrong direction, your compass tells you to make a U-turn. I find that if I don’t know the answer to something, I just go quiet and listen to my compass, and it points me where to go.
Your body is your greatest source of wisdom
Did you know there are 100 million neurons in your gut? That’s why when you’re nervous or excited, you feel it in the pit of your stomach. They call it your second brain. Indeed, your body is telling you things all the time. Listen to it and act on what it is telling you. When something doesn’t sit right for me, I feel a sensation deep down in my stomach; when something most definitely is right for me, I feel an expansion in my heart. It works… without fail… every time.
You don’t have to work so hard
We’re told that only hard work gets results, so we get up early, sit in front of your computer for 10 hours and work, work, work. And yet, while we feel like we’re accomplishing something, we’re often not (or at least not very efficiently.) Instead, give yourself a break. I find that by going to a coffee shop and goofing off, if I feel like it, gives me the motivation to come back to the office and get the work done. And then, what would have taken eight hours, takes two. This is inspired action 101.
Procrastination is your best friend
Entrepreneurs are told they have to battle procrastination, as if it’s some kind of disease. But what if procrastination is your inner GPS telling you there’s something not quite right about a situation? What if you were to ease off the gas, take some time, and figure out what is making you procrastinate? I know that if I am procrastinating about a project it’s because some aspect of that project isn’t quite figured out yet, or it doesn’t sit with what my soul desires. Figure that out, change course a little, and the procrastination turns to inspiration.
Put your head back and float
If you’ve ever watched someone learn to swim, you’ll know that the breakthrough comes when they learn to trust the water. Instead, of fighting and splashing and struggling, they discover the water supports them. Here’s a big truth: life supports you too, just like the water. Once you learn to trust life, things just get figured out for you. If I have a technical problem at work, my first response would normally be to stress and panic and get upset. But now, I just wait and take a breath. Either the problem sorts itself out, or I come up with the solution to fix it. Head back and float. The reality is, almost nothing is as bad as your mind thinks it is.
Work only from inspiration
Grinding out the work doesn’t serve anybody; it feels bad and the result turns out like crap because it doesn’t have that spark that is the hallmark only of truly inspired work. So your job is to get to a place of inspiration, to feel so motivated and so excited that the work flows out of you. The good news is, you don’t have to wait to get motivated, you can tap into inspiration, almost at will. You just need to know the steps to get there.
Dream and let go
Do you dare to dream? Or do you shrink away – because the object of your dreams seems impossible to accomplish? If you live from a place of inspiration, dreams become exiting and altogether possible. And at the same time, they stay in that wonderful dream-like, uplifting state. They don’t turn into strategies and action plans and to-do lists. The reality is, if you dream from a feeling of inspiration, that desire stays within you and it gets easier to find the resources and to do the things you need to do. Instead of making yourself a ton of work, your dream becomes a wonderful trail of exiting possibilities.
The journey is the destination
Perhaps the greatest thing I learned though this whole process was that I don’t need to be going somewhere all the time. I was building a bigger business because of what? Because I wanted to be proud of something? Because I wanted more money? But when you think about it, all that effort and struggle was in the hope of discovering something that was already right under my nose: a sense of feeling good, of joy, and of inspiration. That’s what I could create any day – not when I was some business “success”.
All you need is a grain of curiosity
Now, maybe you’re not believing any of this. Maybe you think it’s a bunch of BS. That’s OK. I was skeptical too. After all, so much of what I’ve written goes against everything we’re told, from the first day of school to the latest info in our inboxes.
But if you are just the slightest bit curious… if you are open to learning more… then stay with me.
The only way to really grok all this stuff is by practical example, to see it working in everyday business situations.
- Why going back to bed can help get your to-do list done.
- The weird “vibe” around my desk that tells me if I should be at work. (This sounds like some woo-woo BS, but it’s got sound science behind it.)
- The simple thing I do when a customer is on the phone that can turn a complaint into a sale
- Why red stop lights are perhaps my favorite thing
- The lesson you learned at school that is killing your joy
- An easy one-minute routine at the end of the evening that will transform your life within a month
- The times when being good is bad for you
- A little app in Chrome that helps me make the right decisions… all day long
- Why vision boards and positive thinking are dangerous BS… unless you do it a certain way
- The lesson I remember every time I get on a plane that helps me when I’m feeling down
- Why throwing the f-bomb can be the most powerful thing you ever do
- What the sheep on the mountains of Scotland can teach us about how our minds work
- When sometimes feeling utterly wretched is the best thing for you
- The lesson we learn on a roller-coaster that serves us every day
- Why Aikido beats wrestling when it comes to dealing with business… and life
- The magical thing about trees than can transform how you are feeling
- The funny thing about feeling bad… and why it sometimes feels so good!
- A four-second habit that will turn you from stressed into chilled
- Why it pays to watch the airline safety demonstration (and it’s not for the reason you think)
- How when a problem hits, the ideal thing to do is sometimes to ignore it
- Why the best way to achieve a dream is to forget you ever had it
- What to do when attacked by procrastination
- The day I looked at a dead old twig and transformed my life
- How to use a to-do list without it controlling your life (and why the most important to-do list isn’t even yours!)
- One weird trick that makes me feel better every time I leave a room
- And more…
This is the kind of stuff you’ll learn by reading my free daily emails.
Useful stories. Practical advice. Fun and inspirational tips.
Stories about what’s going on and how I handle it.
I hope you enjoy joining me on this journey.