5 Ways I Find Joy as an EntrepreneurDec 13, 2022
Imagine if the next time someone asked you how work was, you said, “Full of joy!” I think we’d all appreciate a little more joy in our lives, perhaps especially in our work lives.
I’ve heard it said that happiness is a temporary feeling but joy is an enduring posture, and I believe that to be true. As a business owner, I know that not every day will be a happy one, but I think finding joy is a reasonable goal.
I definitely don’t have the magic formula for life as an entrepreneur all figured out, but I do know that these five things have helped me cultivate a measure of joy in my day-to-day routine. Try them on for size and step into a more delightful way of working.
1. A Centering Morning Routine
After several years of owning a business and lots of trial and error, I can confidently say that my morning routine is the most important daily habit I’ve created. It’s so easy to trick yourself into thinking that jumping into work right away is somehow getting you ahead of the day. Spoiler alert, it’s not! For me at least, starting with a quiet time—even if it’s only five minutes—where I recenter on something bigger than myself is essential.
In the past year, I’ve committed to a routine of Scripture and prayer every morning, and the difference in my outlook has been amazing. I’m able to enter the day with my hands open to whatever God has for me. Even if you’re not a person of faith, try starting your day with a meditation, a gratitude journal, or a contemplative walk, and notice how the little annoyances of the day seem to grow smaller.
2. Clear Lines Between Rest, Work, and Play
As an entrepreneur, I learned quickly (and sometimes the hard way) that no one else will create a boundary for me except me. I’m still not perfect at time blocking, but I’ve gotten much better at it. When I can successfully delineate between work time, rest time, and everything in between, I’m able to enjoy the time I spend working so much more.
I give Dan Sullivan of Strategic Coach and Michael Hyatt of Full Focus credit for giving me the right systems to organize and protect my time. In particular, Hyatt’s concept of front stage (direct client engagement), offstage (time off), and backstage time (client preparation) has really helped me structure my weeks with intention. I designate each day of the week as one of these three “stages” and try my best to stick with it.
Having a clear expectation of what I can do and how much time I need to refuel or prepare has given me so much freedom and peace throughout the week. Not to mention, I’m a nicer, more prepared person for my clients and team, too!
3. Connecting Tasks with Goals
One of the hardest parts of running your own business is discerning what to say “yes” to and when to say “no.” I recently finished the book, Be Your Future Self Now: The Science of Intentional Transformation by Dr. Benjamin Hardy, that really crystallizes this idea. In it, Dr. Hardy asserts that everything we do, whether it’s getting eight hours of sleep a night, answering an email, or walking the dog, is taking us closer to some objective. In other words, a task is more than just a task; it’s a step toward a goal. For me, that idea has been such a helpful reminder to check my tasks against my larger vision for where and who I want to be in six months, a year, or a decade.
Periodically, I also do an Activity Inventory—something I learned at Strategic Coach—to help me assess whether or not the tasks on my plate should be there. Basically, you brain-dump all your activities on a given workday and assign your competence level at each. Then, you outsource any tasks for which you rate yourself as incompetent. By taking a magnifying glass to my day-to-day responsibilities in this way, I’ve been able to fill my days with the things that fill me up, like training and engaging with clients, and find help for the things that don’t.
4. Prioritizing Work Community
If you’re a business owner, you already know that running a company can be lonely at times. Whether they’re true coworkers or friends, it’s so important to have people in your life that you can lean on to celebrate with you when you have a big win or to share in your lows when you’re feeling down. I’ve gotten more intentional over the years about creating space for this important connection and camaraderie in my work days.
For a long time, I scheduled myself through the lunch hour. So, if a colleague or friend reached out for an impromptu workday lunch meetup, I could never say “yes.” Now, I’ve built in at least a 30-minute lunch block every day so that I have time for a serendipitous meal or quick chat with someone at my coworking space, Endeavor Greenville—which has been a great source of workplace community. Whether it’s forcing yourself to leave your home office for the day or joining a local entrepreneur group, finding a way to stay connected can make work so much more enjoyable.
5. Keeping My “Why” Top of Mind
One of the best ways to find joy as an entrepreneur is also the simplest—pausing and remembering why you started your business in the first place. I do this work because I love helping clients become better. When I know how awesome they are and help them realize that through a powerful, visual tool like LinkedIn, there’s truly nothing like it! I love seeing light bulbs go off in training sessions. I love when clients feel empowered to create more impact wherever they are.
The enthusiasm my clients bring to our work is so contagious. At the end of the hardest days, that’s what keeps me going. I can genuinely say that I love what I'm doing and who I'm doing it with at McMillion Consulting. Being able to help people connect with purpose gives me purpose! When I think about it, I think that’s the heart of joy—a deep satisfaction and sense of knowing that you are right where you need to be.
Cultivating joy takes practice and patience—two things money can’t buy! Luckily, some things are a little easier, like figuring out which LinkedIn subscription is right for you. If you’re frustrated by your current LinkedIn toolset or eyeing those InMail credits, it might be time to level up to a paid subscription. Use my free LinkedIn comparison guide Should You Pay for LinkedIn? to help invest in the best plan for you.