7 Ways to Find Success While Still Feeding Yourself

Posted: January 4, 2014 by Joshua Johnson in Culture, Leadership, People, Planning, Startup

joshua-johnson-thumbnailI was 23 when I determined to live the life of an entrepreneur. Like many, I was seduced by the idea of independent wealth, “owning my time”, and changing the world (all in the same breath, of course). These goals alone were not my vice. How I pursued them and the beliefs I acted out while driving toward success have often led me off course. I always believed that if I just worked harder and longer hours that it would equal a greater chance of success. While a diligent work ethic is important for our character and provision, I realized that too much of a good thing can also be destructive.

Have you heard that story of the woman who died from drinking too much water?

In essence, water intoxication occurs when a person drinks so much water that the other nutrients in the body become diluted to the point that they can no longer do their jobs. I believe this is a lot like the American work culture. We strive so hard for success, wealth, and sometimes fame, that we lose sight of the other necessary nutrients that give us life.

Below are a few ways I have found greater tranquility and balance in my work, worship (faith), and family.

  1. Rest regularly (without guilt). You are not lazy for getting sleep, going on a weekend trip, or taking Friday off. Building regular rhythms of rest will result in more productivity, less resentment and judgement toward those you work with, and allow for more opportunities for you to be inspired.
  2. Work is not just where you get a paycheck. I think all humans have an instinctive desire to work and be productive with their life, but it’s easy to lump the term work solely with the place that gives us a title or a little jack in the bank account. Your work is the combination of your craft, your calling, and all the things you are responsible for stewarding.
  3. Get a hobby. Play a sport, join an improv group, or start a craft night. Whatever it is, do it for fun. You need to regularly reopen the child in you that laughs and frees you to disengage from the grind of work.
  4. Be all there. This is so difficult in our digital age where often we are carrying five on-going conversations at the same time via text, and getting pinged for every new email, Facebook comment, or LinkedIn request. Being 100% there seems like a completely unreasonable expectation in modern society, but if you reset the expectations of those who communicate with you most you will find it easier to focus and cease the moment.
  5. Go deeper, not just wider. It’s easy to over-commit ourselves – saying ‘yes’ when we really should say ‘no.’ This is has been one of my constant battles, but I have seen a lot of fruit in saying no to “good things” that just were not a good fit in my life. It’s hard because we entrepreneurs think we’re super-human beings, and we hate saying no.. In the long run, saying no will save your relationship, especially when the next time you say yes, you knock it out of the park.
  6. Give back. Making money isn’t all that matters in life. There are skills you have that can make a big difference in the world around you. Find ways to use your gifts to advance a cause, start a movement, or help someone develop a skill you already have.
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