Recently I’ve been struggling in my idea of enjoying work. Work has been non-stop both for my startup and my dayjob, and burnout just seems to be around the corner. I’ve been finding it difficult to enjoy doing my work. And it bothers me, both the struggle from the high demands of my work and my lack of enjoyment in it. The latter bothers me significantly more.
I tried to break down why I’m having the struggle to find the needed enjoyment. I found three things:
- I found that doing work is heavy when I feel that I’m working for someone else;
- I found that work limits my creative goals and creative juices when work is itemized;
- I found that work is drudging when I am doing it only for work’s sake: To deliver.
And from identifying theses causes to my problem, I tried to find how I usually enjoy my work. And this is what I found out: I believe that work should be enjoyable, that work should be creative, that work should fulfill my purpose. And this can be done by going back to basking in the fundamentals of my work, namely:
- The enjoyment of of building something;
- The enjoyment of learning new things;
- The enjoyment of solving problems;
- The enjoyment of making ideas into reality;
- The enjoyment of knowing that my work has a purpose.
From the identification of the problem, to its causes, to how my enjoyment can be attained, I can then work on the steps needed for me to arrive to my goal:
- Instead of focusing on the reality that I am working to make my clients happy, I can focus on how I can pour out my talents and energy to my craft.
- Instead of just focusing on the itemized deliverables, I can allocate some of my spare time to attend to my creative goals.
- Instead of of focusing on delivering, I can focus on how my work has an end-purpose, and what that end-purpose is, and then working on that end-purpose instead of just remaining on the side of delivering.
In writing this something of great importance came to mind. The words of Paul echo in my ear,
“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men,24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. 25 For the wrongdoer will be paid back for the wrong he has done, and there is no partiality.” (Colossians 3:23-25)
We are serving the Lord Jesus Christ. And realizing this, not only in my mind but to my heart and my actions, is what brings purpose to my work.
And this is where joy is found.
The 21 Common Sense Business Development Truths are points of business truths coined from the book “Financial Times Guides: Business Development – How to Win Profitable Customers and Clients” by Ian Cooper.
These down-to-earth truths, as Ian has coined, offer much wisdom on how to develop your business, whether you’re just planning to start out or you’re already running in traction.
The 21 truths in it’s entirety are titled as follows:
- Focus your efforts on turning your enquiries into business and not just on generating leads.
- Exceed customer or client expectations.
- Speak to potential customers or clients … and speak to them nicely.
- Be open for business.
- Don’t let your admin get in the way.
- There’s no job more important than helping customers or clients part with their cash!
- Don’t let technology get in the way.
- Quality and word-of-mouth count for everything.
- Actively strive for consistency.
- Recruitment is part of business development.
- Keep in touch with your existing and past customer and clients.
- Master social online media.
- Test your ideas, concepts, and prices.
- Plan, but keep things simple.
- Take complaints seriously,.
- Make your customer or client environment appropriate.
- Train your people to spot opportunities.
- Get out of your office or premises and mix and mingle.
- Find a niche and specialise.
- Model what works best.
- Be squeaky clean – you need to be trusted.
These truths pack a lot of punch. Without getting into the nitty gritty of things (I advise to read the book for details), I will summarize them into five points:
- Customers first. Your business exist for your customers. As much as possible, exceed their expectations. Ask their feedback. Take their complaints seriously. Talk to them and build your relationship. Make their life better and easier.
- Goals over processes. It is harmful to get short-sighted by focusing on the processes and procedures without thinking long-term and asking the following questions: What is our business here for? What do we value? What are our goals?
- Test your ideas, concepts, and prices. “Business is not, as some think, about taking wild risks. It is about making sensible and sound judgments based on information that is usually available. Test as much as you can, so you have as much information as possible. In this way any risks you take are calculated ones, which then ‘stack the odds’ in your favour.”
- Model what works, but find a niche and specialize! “If something has been consistently successful in the past, there is a reason for it.” At the same time, it is being different that makes businesses stand out.
- Build trust. I’ve built Progressia with zero financial capital, instead I built it all just on the economy of trust. Be clean. Have strong values. Be honest. Be a person of utmost integrity. In the smallest of things, realize that it’s an opportunity to practice your character. And then you will attract people who will want to help you succeed and do business with you.