Originally published in Thought Catalog.
When you think of the word "enlightened," you likely picture a Zen, peaceful yogi in deep meditation. A stark contrast to what comes to mind when you picture an entrepreneur -- a type A, ambitious person likely rocking a power suit and juggling many things at once.
When you put these two words together, it might sound like an oxymoron. But in reality, an enlightened entrepreneur not only exists, but is actually the kind of entrepreneur that will end up succeeding.
Becoming enlightened, or at least raising your self-awareness is key for most people who leave a position as an employee to become his or her own boss.
Here are five reasons why becoming enlightened is essential to being a successful entrepreneur.
1. Becoming an entrepreneur will bring up lots of self-doubts.
Doubts, fears and beliefs about yourself that you never knew you had stirring deep inside you will be brought to the surface during this transition. You'll need to be prepared to fight back against these negative thoughts in order to run your business. Take the time to explore the fears related to beginning a new business venture. Often times, they go far deeper than you might expect. The surface thought may be, What if I don't make enough money? But the underlying belief could be something far more jolting. You may fear that you don't deserve to make enough money, because if you make enough money, you'll be safe, protected and secure -- all symptoms of being loved. But you feel that you're unlovable, and therefore don't deserve that.
Seeing it on paper or hearing it said out loud may seem extreme, but I've found that tends to be the theme of the subconscious thought.
2. There will be activities that you don't enjoy doing.
Of course, the goal is to be able to hire help to run the parts of your business that you don't enjoy doing. But when you're just starting out as an entrepreneur, you'll likely be doing it all. Being able to tap into your inner self, and feel Zen rather than stressed as you're crunching numbers or building a budget will leave you with more energy to cross the rest of the things off of your day's (very long) to-do list.
3. You'll stay focused.
Speaking of that to-do list, it's likely really, really long and ever growing. With so much on your plate, it's easy to get distracted, and once you're off task, there's an opportunity for those negative feelings creep back in. Instead of thinking, "I never remembered to finish that, I'm terrible at this," the enlightened entrepreneur will know that it's just a matter of learning this new groove -- that although there are challenges, he or she can overcome them. Rather than having a meltdown, getting in touch with those positive affirmations will bring the enlightened entrepreneur back to the task at hand.
4. You'll do your absolute best work, because you won't be afraid to fail.
My client Kyle started a small business and was supporting herself, but was unable to earn a profit. When I asked about her obstacles she initially responded with standard, but surface level responses. Then we went a little deeper. I asked her what she thought might happen if she just sat down and did it. Her response: "I may fail. Then there will be proof that I'm not good enough." When she heard herself say that out loud, she began to cry. The awareness of what was really holding her back was where the transformation could truly occur. Once she understood the beliefs that were really stopping her from taking her business up a level, I was able to help her question those beliefs and put more empowering convictions in place.
5. You can tell your true story.
What kind of stories are you telling yourself about how much money you can earn? Should earn? Deserve to earn? Are the stories you are telling yourself true? Are they serving you? As an enlightened entrepreneur, you'll be able to disempower and limit the incorrect, negative stories about your business - the ones that are not serving you. What is creating our experience? Our thoughts. Ergo, your thoughts are running your business, which is why it's essential to be in control of them.
We all have the ability to become aware. Our willingness to be aware -- to be conscious -- determines how we experience life and all its facets, including our work.