Today’s lesson is about “how to think”. The focus of the exercise is to describe the process of developing a growth philosophy (a habitual pattern of thinking that yields a desired result). The desired outcome we are reaching for is for you to reach toward becoming the best you can be. It all begins in your mindset. Your mind can be your greatest asset or your worst enemy.
What is your highest potential? The 20th-century psychologist Abraham Maslow distilled the answer in his book “Motivation and Personality” in this way:
“What one can be, one must be.”
We all have a unique purpose and gifts, and we all share some common values for reaching our highest potential, for example:
- Be happier
- Be in our best health
- Have more energy and vitality
- (And as small business owners) Grow and develop our small business
Growth as a mindset
Let’s dig into the framework of this method of thinking (philosophy). Intentionally forming these habitual patterns of thinking will put you on the course to becoming the best you can be. Understand that this is a process, a daily curiosity of asking and probing about your life, gently asking questions, and letting the answers surface to your conscious mind.
Trajectory of growth
Trajectory is the first part of our 3 point plan.
This concept involves the direction of your life! Where is your life headed? What or who are you becoming? Is your life on track? How about your health? Is your business growing and providing financial benefits and the freedom you long for, or do you feel overwhelmed, stressed out, out of control, and discouraged?
The process requires you to be honest and ask yourself some basic questions. The easiest way to get started is to group your life into specific areas. The areas that work for me are:
- Health and nutrition
Now, take out your journal (if you don’t have a journal, then get one) and write down each of these categories for your life at the top of a clean page. Then take a moment to ask yourself a few simple questions, such as we discussed above. The questions are framed the same for each area of your life above. For example, in the arena of character:
Who am I becoming concerning my character?
The first step is to identify your weaknesses. You need to be honest with yourself and ask questions like, “Where am I exasperated with myself and the outcomes that I tolerate?”, “Is there growth?” or, “Am I frustrated, irritable, or impatient?”. Now grab your journal and write down the areas that need work. Explain this to yourself in detail. Magical things happen when you write this down! The answers will come!
Who do I want to become in the future?
Begin by visualizing yourself at your best! Then you can become the person that is getting happier as time passes. Ask yourself, “What does that person do? How do they act?”. Again, write down a detailed description or the person you want to become.
Repeat this exercise for each area of your life. This path that you create becomes your vision for the future self and a simple plan for Life’s Trajectory! Happiness, bliss, joy, and growth will result when you begin to identify problem areas of your life and take small steps toward your higher potential.
Alignment of growth
The next stop on our journey is alignment – Now, you have a vision for your life – a trajectory (step #1 above). The next step is to align your life with your core values and use these core values as your guideposts to direct your life. Seeking to improve your business and your life is a good thing, but not the only thing.
“For what would it profit for one to gain the whole world, yet lose one’s soul?”
- Matthew 16:26
To succeed in your business, or any other area of your life, at the expense of others is NOT actual gain. Dishonest gains will cost you your joy, peace, happiness, and, ultimately, your life! The recipe for happiness involves doing all things with integrity, excellence, and joy. This recipe is the real strength of character, a modern-day hero!
So now the work begins, the work of defining personal core values! Your core values are a set of unique personalized virtues that guide you to becoming the best version of yourself. A value is a virtue in action! It involves you being and doing your personal best consistently.
It’s not difficult to get started. The tool I used is an ancient Greek aphorism, “know thyself”. Take a moment to reflect on your life. Is your business stressing you out? Do you feel you are spinning your wheels without progress? Is your marriage on the rocks? Maybe the passion is gone, and you think there is something better? Do you find yourself telling “white lies” habitually? Are you irritated in traffic and become impatient or even angry? Do you lose your temper and say things you regret? These are simple questions that uncover areas for you to work on to improve your life.
The simplicity is to choose a value or (virtue) that heals this behavior. Your values are very personal to you, and they should reflect behavior that inspires you. Here are some of the values that I read daily to remind myself that alignment is the path to my highest growth potential:
- Character P.E.A.K.
- Health and nutrition
- A “temple”
- “I’m satisfied.”
- How’s your energy?
- Positive Mental Attitude
- Empathy – “Walk in the shoes of our customer.”
- Communicate – confront – resolve
- “Rock Solid” reliable
- Live within our means
- Save and Plan for the future
- We respect money
- My teachers
- Trust – “I’m rooted.”
- His love is unfailing.
- His mercy endures.
- Arete (a·rête)
- a Greek word for choosing the highest and best choice in the moment. This action often involves changing or flipping your perception to a mindset of oneness with God, an abundance mindset rather than one of separation.
- Perception – change it to:
- You are one with God
- Abundance mindset
- Unconditional love
- Arete (a·rête)
- Reach out
Some of the values I’ve shared will not be meaningful to you, but they are compelling to me. Each of the above words is full of meaning in a profound and inspirational way for me. I’ve developed these values over a long period, and they remind me of who I want to become. They are my life’s aspirations.
This concept is where the money is! The 1% mindset is a growth mindset. A mindset that believes I have control of my life. I can improve in every area of my life in some small way. I have the influence and power to choose a higher path. The choice is up to me. This belief is a part of my character, and I express it by continually striving for excellence!
“The path is the goal!”
- Pema Chardon
I’m continually working on the processes and systems in our small business that lead us to success. How we do things and the tools that we use to get things done is the “front sight” focus (thank you for that Mark Divine – Navy Seal). The processes reflect the habits, beliefs, and behaviors that reflect my values.
“Every day and in every way, I’m getting better and better.”
- Tony Robbins
To live thoughtlessly is to live foolishly. I choose to be careful in how I live. I believe life is a precious gift, and this life is brief; therefore, every day is a gift, and I will try to do my best. It is up to me to “root out” what is not in my highest potential.
Why 1%? Anything else is overreaching, in my opinion, and likely to fail. The accounting business is a tough business to change a belief, a habit, a behavior. To change how you do things takes great intentional effort. The 1% puts things in an achievable perspective. The 1% improvement sometimes takes weeks to realize. It’s not usually instant, quick, or easy. It takes daily intentional effort to install a new belief that becomes part of your identity, a new habit to become ingrained, a new behavior to become a part of your character.
This 3-point plan is a “how-to” for developing a personal philosophy for your life. You can do this!
“If it is to be, it is up to me.”
- William Johnsen
I hope that you have not only enjoyed reading this but that you have also gleaned some information that will help you to change your life for the better! For more information about our firm and how we can help you flourish in your small business, contact us here.
Forward Thinking. Future Progress.
G. David Chappell, CPA, PFS