Becoming an entrepreneur is one of the most fulfilling things you can do in your life – but only if you have the right strategy and mindset.
Too often, entrepreneurs end up sacrificing their mental health and quality of life to build their businesses. And while hard work is certainly necessary to create a successful company, you need to learn how to navigate entrepreneurship and set yourself up for success in both business AND life.
To help you accomplish this, we caught up with Mike Zeller, a business architect who helps entrepreneurs align their purpose with both their business and life.
Mike helps business owners get unstuck and shake off limiting beliefs, so they can truly live up to their potential. In this Q&A, Mike shares key insights to help business owners live a life of balance and fulfilment.
Let’s get started.
What's the first step entrepreneurs should take to build a fulfilling business and life?
According to Mike, one of the initial steps you should take as an entrepreneur is to develop a keen sense of self, so you can put yourself in the right position to succeed.
“Most of life comes down to putting yourself in the right position, which means you've got to have deep self-awareness,” he says.
Mike cites a quote from Dee Hock, the founder of Visa, who said that the very best leaders in the world focus more than 50% of their time leading themselves.
“You’ve got to do the deep work so you can have greater awareness around who you are. And if you put yourself in the right position, things become easier and more fun. You’ll find that running a business becomes more fulfilling and more impactful, while requiring less hustle and grind.”
How do you gain more self-awareness? Mike recommends the following:
1. Discover your unique abilities and proclivities. The first step is to figure out your unique skills and areas that you gravitate towards. There are a number of tests that can help you do this. Personality quizzes like StrenghtsFinger, Myers-Briggs, and DISC assessments can "give you clues" into your abilities and proclivities. Of course, they don’t give you the whole picture, which is why you need to take other steps to get a better understanding of who you are.
2. Look at your relationships. The next thing you should do is take inventory of your relationships. Mike recommends asking questions like, “Who are all the key relationships in my life that are unique? This will help shed light on the spaces or communities in which you belong, which provides another clue into who you are.
3. Look at your life experiences. “Thirdly, examine your unique life experiences,” says Mike. Doing so will give you insights into what makes you unique.
4. Examine your values and passions. Asking questions like “What do I care about?” and “What will I not tolerate” lets you gain clarity into your values, which again leads to clues that will allow you to understand yourself even more.
Looking at all these areas and putting the clues together, says Mike, will enable you to have a deeper self-awareness, which will ultimately lead to better business and life decisions.
How can entrepreneurs prevent burnout from too much hustle and grind?
“Business owners and entrepreneurs can prevent the hustle and grind by focusing on where they're most desperately needed,” remarks Mike.
“There are so many things to do at the beginning of a venture, but if you do everything, it's a surefire recipe for failure and a surefire recipe for being tired, because you're not going to be good at everything, and you're not going to be able to do everything.”
His advice? Prioritize the different to-dos in your business. Apply the 80/20 principle and figure out the 20% of activities that impact 80% of your results.
“If you're continually evaluating the most important things that are the biggest levers in your business, something great happens,” he adds.
Mike says that one of the biggest mistakes he sees entrepreneurs make is when they don’t form “healthy rhythms” in their lives.
According to him, healthy rhythms are necessary because they “make your energy sustainable and renewable.”
“Working nonstop often destroys your creativity. Being energized and getting your creative juices flowing requires you to be in a space of rest and renewal.
He says that when he himself made this realization and shifted his thinking, he became more engaged, energized, and enthused with his work.
What are the biggest limiting beliefs entrepreneurs have?
In terms of limiting beliefs, Mike has found that many entrepreneurs limit themselves by identifying their business as their "baby."
But this way of thinking can prevent growth.
“If you think of your business as your baby, that means you as a mom or you as a dad, can’t leave your baby alone. It can't fend for itself.”
And while this is ok in the beginning, Mike says that entrepreneurs should also let their business mature. In the same way that you wouldn’t be changing diapers for a teenager, your business must also reach a level where you can take a step back.
The key to overcoming this limiting belief is to let go of control, says Mike.
“You’ve got to release control and allow the business to mature. If you hold onto it too tightly and don't learn to delegate and trust in people, you’re putting a definitive ceiling on your organization. And it's usually a mindset of scarcity that prevails in most business owners where they don't let go of control.”
Relinquishing control is easier said than done, so as a first step, Mike recommends coming up with a “life and death list” where you write down the things you do in your business that give you life, as well as the things that don’t.
The “life” list should be comprised of things that you love doing, while the death list contains tasks that you simply don’t want to do.
Once you have that, delegate the things that don’t bring you life. Let go of perfection and be ok with the fact that some people may not do the task in the exact same way you would.
According to Mike, “the first rule of delegation is if someone can do something 80% as well as you can, delegate all day long.”
Bringing it all together
Winning at business and life requires a deep understanding of who you are while giving yourself the space to rest, renew and grow. Hopefully, the insights that Mike shared help you do that and inspired you to take steps that improve your wellbeing and bottom line.
To learn more about Mike and his programs, head to www.mikezeller.com.