How often have you heard phrases like this throughout your life:
- "Hard work is the key to success…"
- "Work hard and you can do anything…"
- "If something isn't hard – it's not worth it in the long run…"
- "No pain no gain…"
- "Sometimes you need to endure suffering so you can be happy in the long run…"
If you're like me, probably a lot. In fact, I've lived most of my life with these ideals as a guide. Everywhere I've turned I've seen reminders of them… In books… movies… seminars… audio tapes… conversations… TV shows… etc., etc., etc.
"Wake up at 5am and get to work! Then work until sun down! If you want to be successful – this is what it takes."
Can I tell you something though?
Lately my life has flipped upside down and backwards. See, these ideals simply stopped working for me. I recently got to a point in my business where no matter how much hard work I put into it… no matter how much time and energy I put into it…
It was sinking faster than the Titanic (post-iceberg-collision)…
I went to networking meeting after networking meeting… I went to seminars… I sent out letters… I called old clients asking if they had any new work for us… I asked past clients for referrals… Every day I spent hours planning, and executing. I followed those ideals to the T. But we just couldn't get any new clients! Our funds were draining, but it seemed there was nothing we could do.
In fact, I felt like each of these actions pushed my success further and further away. I knew it was happening – I just didn't know what to do about it. Every business and self-help book I've ever read talks about hard work being the antidote for any problem in your business.
None of them talk about what to do when hard work isn't cutting it.
But everything changed when I did one simple thing:
I literally. Just. Stopped. I gave up.
I didn't try to get clients. I didn't try to get referrals. I didn't try to design new marketing plans that would bring in new business. In fact, I didn't even work. I went with my life partner (and biz partner) Louise to a beautiful lake near our house, where we sat everyday, just enjoying the surroundings.
We did this for a few days – or maybe it was a week – I don't quite remember.
And that's when it happened…
That's when our phone started ringing. Instantly, we got 2 big jobs. Then, a past client called with more work than we could even handle. We launched a product within 1 month of that time – and it's bringing us recurring income for very little work.
In fact, work isn't feeling like work at all. Every day I wake up, enjoy my life, and work when I'm inspired.
Now don't forget! This happened after MONTHS of trying to force things – of trying to do everything "in the book" to get clients.
Since then, three things have happened:
- I enjoy my work much more. The pressure is gone. The fun, excitement, and adventure is back.
- I always get my work to my clients on time.
- Our income is rising constantly.
Now, number 2 is a big deal. When I dove into this lifestyle, I was afraid that I would never get any work done. I thought I'd just laze around… or take hikes and play on my computer all day…
And I did that stuff.
But I found that very naturally – there were times that I had a strong desire to work. I felt inspired to go do research and write copy on projects. And when I worked inside of these bursts of inspiration…
I worked faster, funner, and more efficiently. I got my work done 10x faster – and without any stress or worry.
In fact, whenever I start to feel stress or worried about a project, I simply stop and go do something else. Then, once the feelings disappear, and my relaxed state is back – I get back to work.
So this is my plea to you…
If you too have run in circles chasing your tail… TRYING, TRYING, TRYING to make things work. Forcing them with all your might. Pushing them like some giant boulder through your life… And it's not working… And you feel yourself getting more and more drained…
Just stop. Take a deep breath, and spend a day following your spirit. Enjoy your life. Let things happen naturally.
Aftrer all, the tallest tree in the world never spent one second "forcing" its way to get there. It simply planted its roots, and allowed the sun and the rain to come and help it grow.
Leave me your thoughts in a comment. I'd love to hear them.
To happy lives,