Whenever someone asks me why I started my business, I tell them that it's because I know that the never-ending hustle mentality so common to entrepreneurial life is unsustainable. It can lead to mental health issues and broken relationships.
I believe that if people can do the work they love (their “secret sauce” ) while freeing up their time for the people they love, they’ll live happier, more fulfilled lives.
I say all this and it’s 100% true… but it’s not the full story.
That’s because I’ve worked with too many clients to help them run their businesses more efficiently, only to see them fill that time with more work and even longer hours.
And I’m not one to judge. My default mode is workaholism. It always has been, and always will be.
And at its core, the reason for this is a need for control.
If you’re an entrepreneur, odds are that you chose this path because at some point in your life, you didn’t feel like you had control of your own destiny. You saw opening your business as a way to metaphorically “hold your own leash” and take back that control.
And that certainly applies to me. A need for control has permeated just about every aspect of my life. My earliest memory is being on a roller coaster at Disney world, sobbing and begging to get off the ride. I’ve always been scared of being in a position where I’m stuck and powerless.
And that’s why 2019 was such a difficult year for me. Every time I felt like I was the captain of my fate and master of my soul, something new would happen to wrench that control from my grasp.
There was just one curve ball after another.
I knew in the moment that God was trying to teach me that He’s in control not me. And each time something terrible would happen, I kept thinking Okay, God, thanks! I’ve learned my lesson. You don’t have to send me any more adversity. I’ve got it. I’m good.
But just a few days later I would default back to my old ways of stressing out over finances, or believing I could achieve the impossible through shear force of will.
I just recently watched the new Little Women movie, and there’s a scene where Beth tells her sister Jo, “We can’t stop God’s will,” and Jo replies, “Well God hasn’t met my will yet. What Jo wills shall be done.” That line hit a little too close to home for me. I way too often have a, “what Ashley wills shall be done” mentality.
And you might feel, like I have in the past, that your desire for control and your ambition are the positive qualities that make you who you are. They’ve put you in positions of leadership and they’ve served you well in the past. The idea of loosening your grasp or trusting in anyone other than yourself means that things fall through the cracks.
But I can speak from experience that running a business with this mentality puts you back on that roller coaster.
That control you feel is an illusion.
You’ve strapped yourself in to basing your identity and self worth entirely on the ups and downs of your business. It can be a fun ride at times, but I don’t believe that the highs are worth the lows.
True freedom means getting off the ride.
The biggest lesson that I learned from 2019 was that if you’re stubborn like me, and your workaholism and need for control runs bone deep, you can’t just decide one day that you’ve learned your lesson and become a totally different human being.
It has to be a daily practice.
One of my biggest commitments for this year is to set firm work hours. While it's a work in progress for sure, I'm doing my best to "clock in" and "clock out" at pre-established times.
Whenever I feel the need to stretch out my work day just a little bit longer, I know it’s because I don’t trust that God’s in control of my business, not me. If something doesn’t get done, it really is okay.
This daily act of faith & trust in God’s provision is far more powerful than putting the finishing touches on some ultimately pointless social media post.
Regardless of your beliefs, even if it means putting your work in the hands of a colleague or employee, relinquishing control is an act of faith.
Is this something you struggle with? Is there any practices you're putting in place to over come it? If so, shoot me an email at email@example.com
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The secret sauce podcast is a show dedicated to helping service-oriented, female entrepreneurs free up their time to focus their "Secret Sauce:" the work that they were put on this earth to do.
So if you’re looking to turn new leads into raving fans like clockwork, & achieve more by doing less, you’re in the right place.
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