Business Ownership and The Pursuit of Happiness

Wednesday, October 24 2012

Entrepreneurship could be seen as the ultimate adventure in the pursuit of happiness. Think about it. When you became an entrepreneur, you envisioned how life would be running your own business. You’d be in control, making your own decisions, working your own hours, getting others to do things for you, creating your own destiny.

You believed in yourself. You saw the good that could come from working hard and working smart. And for years, you were happy. You willingly put in long hours because you liked what you were doing and it never seemed like work.

But now that you’ve owned a business for many years, perhaps smarting a little from the current economy, are you still as happy? Is it still fun? Do you bound out of bed in the morning, looking forward to your workday?

If not, here are some ways to rekindle the fire in your belly and reclaim the fun:

  1. Remind yourself why you started the business. Relive those joyful early days when you would rather work than play.
  2. Put things into perspective. Looking back, would you have been better off as an employee? Would you have had as much fun? Would you have amassed as much wealth? Not likely.
  3. If you’re thinking of selling your business, consider all the improvements you’d like to make to it before you sell. Make a list. Get busy and implement those enhancements. When you’re well on your way, step back and look at what you’ve accomplished. Smile. You may be falling in love with your business again.
  4. Make it a game. Decide what it means for you to win. Set some goal posts. Keep score and reward yourself (and your team) for the targets you hit.
  5. Focus on the positive. Dr. Martin Seligman[1], a pioneer in the positive psychology field recommends that you set ten minutes aside at the end of every day to write down three things that went well today and why they went well. He asserts that doing this every night for just one week will have a significantly positive impact on your level of happiness.
  6. Another tip from Seligman is the “Gratitude Visit.” Recall someone from your past who did something or said something that changed your life for the better. Write them a letter detailing what they did and the positive impact it had on you. Visit them in person and read the letter to them. Take Kleenex.

Happiness is a do-it-yourself project. Start building!

[1] Dr. Martin Seligman, Flourish Free Press, 2011 p.33