Each of us has seven different facets to our lives, and well-being in a particular facet means we experience a “freedom” in that area of our lives. I call these different facets the “ Seven Freedoms” and they are:
Spiritual Freedom – having the freedom, the time, and the ability to have the type of relationship with God that you really want.
Mental Freedom – having peace of mind, the freedom to learn, to think clearly, to be free from destructive, damaging thought patterns, to have a sound mind, and to communicate with others well.
Emotional Freedom – having the freedom to be happy, experience joy and satisfaction in life, and be free from negative, destructive emotions.
Financial Freedom – having enough money to live the kind of life that makes the other freedoms possible. This would include all the aspects of having a meaningful, satisfying lifestyle—living where you want to live, having the job you want to have, having the financial resources and material possessions you need to build a life that really matters to you.
Time Freedom – having the time to be with the people who are important to you, to do the things that you really enjoy, to pursue your real genius, passion and happiness, to give of yourself in meaningful ways, to play!
Relationship Freedom – having deep meaningful relationships with those you love is one of the most precious gifts of all. With time and money freedoms, you can better pursue relationship freedom.
Physical Freedom – having the health to be able to pursue all the other freedoms. With time and money freedom, you can take better care of yourself, exercise, pursue hobbies and activities… live life to the fullest!
What do each of those freedoms mean to you? If you don’t know what you really want in each of those areas, you may try and create a business that is totally out of sync with what your real desires and values are.
This means you will either settle for less than your heart’s true desires, or you may eventually find that you’ve worked hard to climb the ladder of success only to realize that it was leaning against the wrong wall.
Stephen Covey, in his bestseller The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People, says, “It’s incredibly easy to get caught up in an activity trap, in the busy-ness of life, to work harder and harder at climbing the ladder of success only to discover it’s leaning against the wrong wall. It is possible to be busy—very busy—without being very effective. People often find themselves achieving victories that are empty, successes that have come at the expense of things they suddenly realize were far more valuable to them.”
“How different our lives are when we really know what is deeply important to us, and, keeping that picture in mind, we manage ourselves each day to be and to do what really matters most.”
You must have a passion for what you’re doing.
Years ago, there was a popular book called Do What You Love, the Money Will Follow. The book’s premise was that if you give yourself to what’s really in your heart to do, then you will find a way to get people to pay you to do it, and money will follow your passion. That really is true.
Passion motivates you to take action. In fact, the root words of emotion are “movere” which means “to move,” and “emouvoir” which means to “stir up.” It is our emotions that move us, that stir us to action.
You may be able to make yourself do a job or run a business you have little enthusiasm for, but not only will your work suffer, your life will also suffer.
The great motivational speaker Jack Zufeld calls this kind of motivating passion your “Core Desire.” He once did a survey of personal coaches and goal setting experts and found that only 3% of their clients actually reached their most important goals. After studying the causes for this low rate of success, Zufeld concluded that the reason so few people reach their goals is that they have no passion for the goals they have set for themselves, so after awhile they lose motivation to keep pursuing those goals and reach a point where even will-power no longer works.
Zufeld says to start remembering anything you have ever done or experienced that you KNOW you just loved doing and would like to do again. That’s what a “Core Desire” feels like, and that’s the kind of passion you must have about what you’re doing to be in that 3% that actually achieves their goals.
Successful people have ways of finding and fueling their passion so that their interest level and motivation is sustained. A great deal of the reason they can sustain their passion is that they have gotten in touch with what it is they really want—the life that they really want to live.
So the best place to start in creating your ideal business (or, if you already have a business, to change it into your ideal business), is to think about your ideal life—the life you really want to live, the things that matter so much to you that your passion is sustained even in difficult times.
Once you know what really matters to you and what you want your life to be like, you can start thinking of business ideas that fit your ideal life. Look at all the different elements of your Ideal Life and try to come up with as many ideas as you can for a business that corresponds to how you really want to live your life. Try to come up with 30 or 40 ideas.
Once you’ve got a lot of ideas, start doing a “shallow cut” and narrow the ideas down to your top three or four. These are the ideas that have the best chance of succeeding.
Once you have your “shallow cut” ideas, it’s time to do some research. Use the internet, find books, talk to people in those businesses—in every way you can, find out what those businesses are really like. You are doing this in order to go for the “deep cut,” and eliminate all but one idea. That’s the idea you will focus your time, energy, and money on developing.
To help you identify your ideal life that is based on your deepest held values and your highest aspirations, we recommend the following resources from our list of Top Business Resources: Building the Business of Your Dreams (8 CD set), Your Life as Art by Robert Fritz, Margin by Dr. Richard Swenson, The Overload Syndrome by Dr. Richard Swenson, and Best Home Businesses for the 21 st Century by Paul and Sarah Edwards.