A few years ago, I was in a bad place.
I created it myself but I needed a way out.
I had aligned myself with a business “coach” and a group of people in a mastermind that, I thought, were working toward building great businesses.
I began to get suspicious about the group when two things became apparent…
- The coach was a con artist.
- The students were super competitive about their material possessions and acquisitions.
The coach kept telling me that the reason I was unhappy in my business was because I was “delivering too much” to my customers.
He encouraged me to do LESS and charge MORE.
I asked him once how much time he spent interfacing with his students and he replied “As little as possible.”
I should have run at that point, but I didn’t.
I stayed and let myself get caught up in the relentless pursuit of material acquisitions.
I built a HUGE house and then spent $200,000 furnishing it and making it “smart.”
But none of it made me happier.
In fact, as I was acquiring all these “things”, I was more unhappy than ever – in life and in business.
So, I turned my attention to fancy cars and private jet memberships.
Hey, if a theater with a 121″ flat screen, wine room, in-house gym, and a 12’ fully-stocked custom wet bar don’t do the trick, maybe a Bentley and a private jet will.
I remember a conversation with my wife, Annette, where I mentioned that I wanted to get a private jet membership.
She told me it was a huge waste of money for the little amount of business travel I do.
And she was totally right.
So, I as I sat in my office in my huge new house I couldn’t stop wondering WHY AM I SO MISERABLE?
And then it hit me.
My life wasn’t in alignment with my values anymore.
I’m not a materialistic person.
I like nice things and my big indulgence is a Rolex that I upgrade about every five years, but I’m not really into mansions, or Bentleys, or fashion, or private jets.
And that was what was causing the weird feeling of angst in the pit of my stomach.
I was being encouraged to do as little as possible and charge a fortune for it in order to make money to acquire things that I don’t need or care about.
And for me, it resulted in major unhappiness and a total lack of fulfillment.
So, I decided to start over and rebuild my life and business to be more in line with my vision and values.
My vision statement created many, many years ago is…
Have fun and create value.
But over time, I guess I lost sight of that vision.
And suddenly I realized that all the things I had to do to live the kind of life OTHERS wanted for me weren’t fun.
And doing as little as possible isn’t reflective of who I am.
I am a value creator and I like to create MORE value not less.
There’s an exercise I like to do – one that helps me understand what really drives me.
I call it value discovery.
I’m a values-driven person.
If what I’m doing – in my personal life or business – lines up with my values, I feel great. Super motivated and excited.
If what I’m doing does not line up with my values, I don’t feel so great. I feel that uneasiness in the pit of my stomach.
And that’s how my body tells me when I’m off track.
When you define your personal values, you discover what’s truly important to you.
Values defined is “a person’s principles or standards of behavior; one’s judgment of what is important in life.”
And what’s important to YOU may not be important to someone else.
That’s why when we align ourselves with coaches and advisors who don’t share our values, it creates a big problem.
Like with me and my old coach.
Here’s a list of values where I’ve circled the ones that are most important to me.
I suspect that if my old coach (and members of that mastermind) did this exercise it would look very different from mine.
The problem is that most people have never taken the time to think about this.
If I ask 10 people what their top 5 values are, I bet 4 would have no idea what I was talking about.
And that’s a damn shame.
Because if you think about it, your values are your North Star.
They represent your very best self.
The version of yourself that you strive to be every day.
So, here’s what to do now.
To live a great life – one that’s in alignment with your best self – take some time to figure out what’s really important to you.
Make a list of your top 5 or so values and then zoom out and take a look at your life.
Does what you do for a living line up with those values?
Does how you live your life line up with those values?
If not, that may be one of the reasons you’re feeling unfulfilled or unmotivated.
Life is better when you know what really drives you and you let that inform your life.
Once I got myself back in alignment, I sold the house, created an entirely new business, and moved to California.
Now when I wake up in the morning (or walk up the block to a party with a bottle of wine), I’m excited for the day instead of filled with dread.
And that’s the power of this simple strategy.
Give it a try!