Motivations for going into business include making better money, flexibility of time for yourself, and a sense of passion and belief in what you do. Going without time for yourself can be tolerated whilst the passion for the business is present, but once that becomes tarnished so does the desire to work.
When passion for work becomes lost a sense of discontent can grow, increasing into unhappiness over time.
When discontent has grown to that level there are only three options:
1. Entrust parts of the business you no longer enjoy to someone else, allowing you to return to what you were passionate about in the beginning.
2. Work fewer hours and rediscover passion outside of the workplace.
3. Exit the business completely.
Often the right decision can be unclear, which means no action is taken and the unhappy state remains.
If passion has been lost then it is absolutely vital that time for yourself is created. This will almost certainly involve working fewer hours. For many people this can be a very uncomfortable thought and they may not feel able to make that change without first clearing the beliefs and emotions around it.
For example a belief that ‘you have to work hard in this life’ can create a sense of guilt when we don’t. If everyone else seems to be working longer and harder and we are cutting back and relaxing there may be the fear of being perceived as ‘unable to cope’.
Some people have worked so hard for so long they have no idea of what they would do if they had time for themselves. Often their sense of identity is tied up in what they do.
If there hasn’t been time for hobbies or interests in the past it can seem daunting to suddenly try and find something they would enjoy doing if they had time on their hands.
If passion is no longer present in the workplace it is important to find this passion elsewhere in life, perhaps through activities such as playing a musical instrument, through art such as painting, through sport such as golf or hiking amongst nature, or simply through spending quality time with the children or grandchildren.
Many people harbor an inner passion for starting a new business or a way of earning an income that they have not yet acted on. Often it is something so different from what they do professionally now that it seems impossible to seriously consider it.
Blocks such as fear of failure, or worry that others would think they were foolish can obscure that inner passion. If the passion or ‘inner knowing’ about the new path is strong then happiness is unlikely to re-emerge until that path is taken.
The decision about whether to remain in the business whilst working fewer hours or to leave it completely can be easily clarified in the hands of a professional. If seeking to self-analyze however, one question to ask yourself might be “If I won the lottery would I continue in this business?”
If you had enough money would you use it to create time for yourself whilst still having some involvement in the business, or would you use it to do something completely different?
For either answer a professional coach might then ask “what is stopping you from making that change now?”
Take your time to answer that question when in a relaxed and self examining state. As the answer comes, look deeper underneath it to find the emotion or belief connected to it. Although money may be the first answer that comes to mind, it is very rarely the real reason.
Donald Trump once said “without passion you don’t have energy and without energy you have nothing”. Find a way to love what you do. If it is not possible to put your heart into, it then take yourself out of it.
Underlying that will be deeper issues such as the sense of worth that money can give us, perceived status, or fear that our family will be unhappy with the change. Blocks around quitting the business may involve a sense of loyalty towards the employees or other directors. Although this sounds altruistic, in reality it is putting the needs or feelings of others before your own.
It can seem impossible to make a change when the path forward is unclear. However, even though it seems unclear, it is often because our ‘inner knowing’ is obscured by the emotions around the situation. When these are cleared change seems not only possible but exciting.
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