#Hustle. #Grind. #Grit. #Perseverance. #Determination. #Balance. These are all words commonly used to #inspire entrepreneurs and small business owners. We see ourselves as overcomers, people who are doing the thing that most would never dare to do. We have been told that in order to do that thing successfully, we have to embody all of those traits.
When someone tells me that I have to use grit and perseverance to make my dreams come true, I think of the covered wagons that traveled across the country so many years ago and how they had to withstand horrible conditions and constant fear of animals and bandits. Personally, that is not how I want to approach my life or my business. We are so blessed to live in a world where we are connected to as many people as we want to be just by the touch of a button. Our marketing can be automated; there is an abundant amount of systems that have been created just to help us enjoy the journey. And many of us are revolting against this idea that anything that comes easy is wrong and everything worth having requires struggle. Recently, I shared a beer with a friend who commented that he was tired of being a survivor and ready to just be.
Have you ever seen someone drink champagne and hustle? Probably not. Just thinking about sipping a glass of bubbly sparks up images of slowing down, celebrating a moment, and enjoying the finer things life has to offer. These champagne moments do not have to be once-a-year events. Instead, we have the power to celebrate little things along the way and bring the champagne mindset to everything we do. Stopping to celebrate every time we make a decision that is in line with the world we want to create will not only bring more sparkle and fizz into your life, it will also help you love your business and recognize that success you have.
I’m not saying that it doesn’t take work to create a successful business. Of course it does! What I am saying is that words matter, and the ways that we describe our businesses have a lasting effect on how we feel about them. One of the pivotal moments in my own development was when my sister got up and walked out of a conference we were at. I was so worried that she was upset (I had encouraged her to attend) and curious about what happened. When I joined her outside, I heard her explain to someone that she doesn’t have control over much in life, but one thing she can control is the words that she listens to. She explained that the speaker was saying things that were making her feel less than as a woman, and she had made a pledge to not listen to things that make her feel less than.
And, just last month, I attended a conference with some friends where each table at lunch had an “inspirational” message on it. The table we initially chose had the phrase, “bloom where you are planted.” One of the people in our group asked that we find a different table. When we inquired as to why, she explained, “I don’t have to bloom where I’m planted. I get to uproot, move on, and bloom someplace else. Our moms had to bloom where they were planted – many times they had to make the most of a bad situation. We are lucky. We don’t. This is one of those messages that seems to be encouraging and empowering, but in reality, it is all about keeping us in our place and telling us to find a way to be happy there.”
Words matter. Part of living intentionally and leading with your values is about being very careful what words you use to talk about yourself, your clients, your employees, and your community.
I recently did some consulting with a jewelry company called, Champagne on a Wednesday. The “about” page of their website explains how their business is not about accelerating the number of mid-week day drinkers. Instead, their name comes from a concept they believe in - the idea that celebrating should not be reserved for the most specialist of occasions - you can, and should, celebrate every day.
And before you assume I don’t love coffee as much as you, let me assure you that I do! I spend a good hour every morning drinking coffee on my mom’s back porch and getting read for my day. That being said, my favorite coffee cup is not one that says something like, “hustle hard.” Nope. It is one that says “BOOM! You just got loved!” Instead of starting my morning feeling like I have so much to do and it’s going to take an insane amount of energy to do it, I start my day remembering that I am loved. And love has been known to move mountains!
This mindset is also about giving yourself the grace and freedom to mess up, to change directions, and to just be. The result of the conversation I had with my friend over beer was this: “We don’t have to be overcomers. We can just be - who we are and exactly where we are.” And, I would add, we get to celebrate that!
What I am proposing is not a get-rich-quick 100% guaranteed plan. It is not a late-night infomercial “just-trust-me” moment. I cannot promise you that your business will be successful. I can, however, promise you that if you lead with your values, you will have less stress in the decisions you make, you will have the energy to keep building your dream, and you will know when, as my mom says, it is time to fish or cut bait.
Why is this? When you are clear about how you want people to feel when they interact with your business and what values you are putting out into your community, your clients will self-select, your employees/collaborators will self-select, and you will feel less overwhelmed. You’ll start to experience things like lower turnover, higher sales, and a stellar reputation. You will be able to run your business with things like #confidence, #focus, #grace, #authenticity, #ease, and #acceptance.
Doesn’t just saying those words feel better than the others? Those are the words I want people to use when they describe me. And they are the words I want all of you to use when you describe your business.
I propose we make a conscious choice to replace Hustle with Confidence, Grind with Focus, Grit with Grace, Perseverance with Authenticity, Determination with Ease, and Balance with Acceptance.