How to Break Out of the Financial Rat-Race

Today I read an article written by a woman who spent her professional career taking care of the elderly just before they died. Helping them prepare for death.

In these last weeks of life they would go through any combination of these emotional experiences: denial, fear, anger, remorse, more denial and eventually acceptance.

She found people mature very quickly when confronted with death!

The author identified the top regrets these seniors came to terms with in their last days on earth. Regrets like:

  • not having the courage to say what they really felt
  • losing touch with their close friends and family members
  • not staying true to themselves, instead living a life others expected of them
  • not allowing themselves to be happier

But the most significant for me that she identified was their regret for working too hard.

Their working life was mostly about making money to pay bills for things they thought they needed and sometimes struggled to afford. So they would buckle down and worked harder.

Usually though, the more one earns, the more one spends. Hence the rat race.

The average entrepreneur is no different. Especially when it comes to finances.

They get sucked into needing more money to grow, to expand, to build. And to become profitable.

Really?

Many times entrepreneurs of this type measure their success on how they think others view them:

  • How profitable are they
  • How quickly are their sales growing
  • How much money have they raised in investment capital
  • How many new locations can they open in a year
  • How many “friends” do they have on Facebook
  • How current are their electronic gadgets

The list goes on.

And what these entrepreneurs don’t do is take the time to contemplate what success really means to them. What does “growth” mean to them.

I know, because I used to be one of them. When I was younger I took my company into bankruptcy and lost millions of my investors and other stakeholders money in the process.

The key to being a truly successful entrepreneur is about stopping long enough to check in.

Check in about what you are doing. Why you are doing it. What your definition of success is. What has to happen to know you’ve achieved it. How large you want your company to get. How much time and energy you want to invest.

Smart Capital is all about this. It isn’t about how quickly or how much capital you can raise to finance your business. It isn’t about how quickly you can grow the company.

It IS about creating a kick ass strategy. It is about thinking through these questions for yourself and defining what they truly mean for you and your business.

After all, most of us became entrepreneurs to get away from working for the man. On his ideas. And under his terms, conditions and timelines.

We became entrepreneurs because we believe in our own ideas and ways of doing things.

Remember this. Always.

Remember that to get smart about capital takes thinking, doing and certainly Being UnReasonable.

UnReasonable about how you will create your success. The positive impact your business and life will have on the planet and community.

And the positive impact it will have on you.

This is what Smart Capital really means.

So when the time comes for you to look back on the life you’ve lived, you will be at peace with the road you chose.

 

Action Steps for the Week:

When was the last time you took a hard look at why you are doing what you are doing?

If more than 12 months, answer the following:

  • What is my definition of success in my company?
  • How big do I want to grow this baby?
  • How will I know when I’ve gotten there?
  • What does Smart Capital mean to me?

Understand your answers will most likely change as you move ahead. That’s part of the game of life.

Just remember to have a blast growing your business. After all, that is point of being an entrepreneur, isn’t it?

 

 How to Break Out of the Financial Rat Race

Stefan

Hi, my name is Stefan Doering.I have been involved in environmental businesses and sustainability since 1987.After having started one of the first green retail businesses in the country and growing it to one of the largest, I now teach green entrepreneurism at Columbia University’s Center for Environmental Research and Conservation and have coached hundreds of green businesses in three major areas:1) innovating powerful green business models, 2) crafting and implementing marketing and positioning strategies for bringing green to mainstream, and 3) creating a consistently profitable and sustainable business.
 How to Break Out of the Financial Rat Race

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