I called it Intentional Alignment, but you likely have another word for it. You may have even heard others encourage you to “get your priorities straight”.
Intentional Alignment means that I am crystal clear about where I am going, it certainly means that my priorities are correct, but it also means that I have an understanding of my value sets and make a full commitment to acting congruently with those values each and every day.
Most basically, I measure my life in three areas: Health, Wealth and Relationships.
All too often entrepreneurs get sucked in to the Wealth building part, which is you see a lot of fat single people in this space because they forgot what really matters and let the rest of their priorities go. The questions are simple, did you feed each of those areas today? Do you have a plan to?
Intention- Attention- Energy.
If you have absolutely no intention of working out today, I can almost guarantee that you won't sporadically hop off the couch and bang out 50 push ups or run a mile. If you do have an intention to do that, did you block some time for it, did you move your attention towards it?
A deeper understanding of what it means to be intentionally aligned breaks the categories even further.
Health- Physical, Spiritual, Mental
Wealth- Personal, Entrepreneurial, Generational
Relationships- Emotional, Social, Behavioral
If you are the type of person who gets to the end of each day and feels like you didn’t get everything done, or didn’t make giant steps towards your goal, then this is likely the message you need to be seeing and you are in exactly the right place.
As you move towards Intentional Alignment, here are three steps you can take to begin making more money, having more time to enjoy it, and having more impact.
1. Values Based Decisions. What are your values? Are those reflected in your daily and weekly plan? In order to live with full alignment you must have an understanding and massive amounts of clarity surrounding your values. Do you value time with your children more than money? If so, then your plan to win each week should resemble that.
2. Set up Micro Wins. Allow yourself to win every single day- even multiple times. Set your three highest priorities for each day, then do those things in your block of highest productivity.
3. Celebrate Success. Give yourself celebration time and the opportunity to share your wins with others. Schedule date nights or trips to the park. It doesn’t always have to be Disney World vacations.
The last part is the most important. All too often as entrepreneurs we delay gratification. That’s like planning an awesome vacation but never putting the date on the calendar and we all know that tomorrow never comes.
What can you do today to give yourself micro wins and celebrate your own successes?
Have you ever noticed how many entrepreneurs go through life chasing the next milestone, delaying gratification until they can just sneak out “one more”? It could be one more client, one more employee, one more month of cash in the bank.
That’s like hopping on a train and professing you’ll get off at the next station, only to stay on this infinite train and never arrive at the desired station- or any station for that matter!
The problem is that “one more”, no matter what it is, will never be enough. Instead we get to the end of the day feeling like we have never done enough, the emails are piling up, and the list of things we could have done and should have done likely has that “one more” thing on it. At some point we have to just let enough be enough, just like a surgeon, the work has to be done and the sutures have to be sewn.
Have you ever taken a look at someone in your industry that you consider to be doing it right? I don’t mean the ones that are false advertising on social media about their stress free life- bouncing between Aspen and Los Angeles. I mean someone who is making the big money you want and also taking the time to enjoy it- and doing it daily or weekly or monthly? What do you think they do differently than you do right now?
As entrepreneurs, We live in this perpetual state of anxiety manifest by the continuous pressure and amplified by the disappointment associated with never feeling like we meet our own expectations- much less our spouse, much less our friends, much less our parents.
This concept of never feeling enough is driven further ahead by the slide rule that we use to measure our success- displacing good enough to somewhere in the future. The problem is simply that is it continuous and if we know what thing to be absolutely true in life- tomorrow never comes. If we continue to work day in and day out, telling ourselves we are chasing the dream, the chance is the consequences will look like a life full of missed opportunities.
In being honest with yourself, looking back on the last year do you think you should have worked more or spent more time with your family and friends?
Becoming content in our business is simple in theory, harder in practicality. Everyday we have to choose when we have done enough. In my own life, in my own business, and in my own prioritization I choose to live with Intentional Alignment. That simply means that I change the grading criteria for myself.
Instead of focusing solely on how well the financials of my business are doing, I instead focus on three things:
1. Do I have the money and resources I need to live the life I want today.
2. Is my body in peak physical condition to enjoy those things.
3. Am I surrounded by people I want to enjoy those things with.
Being fully and Intentionally Aligned means that I focus on three pillars- Health, Wealth and Relationships. If money is only a tool you use so that you can live a better life, what is your version of being Intentionally Aligned?
Scale of 1-10: How fulfilled are you as an entrepreneur?
Listen, I haven’t wanted to quit one time, I’ve wanted to quit dozens of times- or even dozens of times per year! I don’t have to tell you, being an entrepreneur is not for the faint of heart.
What makes it even more trying is looking around and seeing people that you used to consider to be peers doing things that you want to be doing- perhaps even creating a tinge of jealousy how they just don’t seem to stress about much.
There was a very distinct time in my life where one of these “I’m ready to quit” moments became more realistic than the others. When I took inventory of my life I looked in the mirror and saw a version of myself I never wanted .
There are really only 2 reasons (and maybe a 3rd) we choose entrepreneurship as our life’s journey:
1. More money
2. More time
(3. More impact)
I can look around my environment and see the fruits of my labor: beautiful home, nice cars, awesome vacations, but there is still often this desire to be able to just turn my mind off at the end of the day and sink in to the circle of comfort.
Being an airline pilot was that for me. You could very easily turn the engines off and head to the parking lot, foregoing any responsibility until you showed back up to work the next time- and you could even make decent money doing it. I get threatened by that all the time.
My former peer group are all airline pilots and often tout the lifestyle they are living. It’s this push back into the circle of comfort that is so tempting. It’s like a magnet, trying to suck you back into the lifestyle of average- with no impact, no time, and no money
Playing this entrepreneur game means a constant commitment to becoming a better version of yourself.