When I left recruiting in 2008, I made a conscious effort to change the way I ran my business. I decided to add in creativity, spark and passion. I spent thirteen years operating my executive search business from my "to do" list. There wasn't enough room for inspiration, passion and heart. Wake up, go to the gym, get to the office, get on the phone, find the candidates, schedule the interview, prep the candidate, negotiate the salary, and close the deal. Do it again and again and again. Where is the passion in that?
My business was too much head and too little heart. Of course, I had a heart and felt it when I couldn't help a candidate, or they didn't get the job they wanted. But my day to day was all form and structure. This leaked out into my personal life too, I needed structure there too and quite frankly didn't know how to stop, slow down and relax. I wasn't happy every day!
When I started my sales consulting business in early 2008, I ran it the same way I ran my recruiting business: more form and structure than true creativity. I was doing what I thought I was supposed to be doing. I had imagined somehow I would be happier. I thought I was following my heart.
Maybe I was following my heart, but I wasn't leading with it.
I would work so hard that I would burn out and on those "burn out" days, out of sheer exhaustion, I was forced to relax. I would leave the office and not think about where my next client was coming from. On these days, I was able to reconnect to my core mission. I began to be aware of the contribution I was meant to be making. Something amazing started happening. On these "burn out" days, I would literally attract my best clients. I noticed a pattern. The harder I pushed with my head, the more my clients went running for the hills. The more I focused on what I could do for others, the contribution I could make, the more clients would seek me out.
It was time to reconnect to my passion and my purpose.
I needed to map out a new strategy for myself. I had to figure out what I wanted from my business, where I wanted to be and why. I didn't want to forget the reasons I left recruiting and the contribution I wanted to make. I tapped into my passion and realized that I wasn't moving toward my core mission, because I didn't know what it was. I was still in my old corporate mindset and I wasn't running my business, it was running me.
We hear it over and over: successful entrepreneurs follow their passion. They know what they want to do and why they want to do it. Every action they take is fueled by that drive, that fire in their belly, their reason for doing what they do.
Recently on Facebook, a video of Kevin Spacey from "Inside the Actor's Studio" went viral. Its title: "Kevin Spacey -- Motivational Speech". He says, "The only prize is this one: what you feel and what you want to accomplish... to want and to be ambitious and to want to be successful is not enough; that is just desire... To know what you want and to understand why you are doing it... if you feel you have something to give... worth caring for, then there is nothing you can't achieve".
Kevin Spacey is absolutely right!
Now when I plan my day or my week or even my month, I plan from my heart. I make sure that everything I am doing lines up with my core mission, my beliefs about who I am and how I want to contribute to the world.
For me it was taking a leap of faith. It was about rewiring how I think, how I react and how I run my business. I still have structure, I always will and it is important for a thriving business to have some structure. I know what I want and mostly how I am going to get there, but I am not so inflexible as to close myself off from opportunity.
My strategic plan is all about heart and is based on my core mission. More than ever, my heart leads and my head follows. Opportunities appear to land in my lap with more ease and clients reach out to me more than ever. I am not saying to stop marketing, stop selling, stop accounting and operations. I am just suggesting you lead from a different place. See what changes for you when you are fully connected and operate from this place of remembering your passion and your purpose.
You know what I've discovered? I'm happy every day!