Successful entrepreneurs need to be selfish…and that’s okay. I can honestly say that without cringing now. However, it took a little lifestyle change for me to realize this. Like many driven people, I was faced with a dilemma and had to make a tough decision.
DOES FAMILY ALWAYS COME FIRST?
Last week I was tasked with babysitting my nephew, Monday to Friday, from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm. I figured it’s family, I should help out, especially because I work from home. However, it’s a little more complicated. You see, my nephew has level 2 autism. He is a lot of fun to hang out with when he’s in a good mood, but if you aren’t able to give him 100% of your attention he becomes mean, agitated and the entire day goes sour.
Ever since I moved back to my hometown 3 months ago, I had volunteered to watch him more and more. He would get sent home from daycare or his father needed a break – I was there. I worked from home, so it was easy to drop what I was doing. But, the weight on my shoulders was becoming increasingly heavy as the number of days I was needed was growing each week. In addition, his needs meant I couldn’t work and babysit at the same time. I was falling behind and losing sight of my goals as his needs became more important.
By the time our 5-day babysitting week arrived I was stressed out and desperate to escape the situation I had put myself in. Just a few days before, the stress had led me to break down in tears, feeling like I was trapped, that I had no choice. The way I was feeling then ended up changing my perception about putting family first.
ENTREPRENEURS NEED TO BE SELFISH BECAUSE WE CAN’T DO EVERYTHING
I was quickly reminded that our needs should come before anyone else’s (whether or not you’re an entrepreneur). The scenario that you put the oxygen mask on yourself before saving other people applies really well here. If you don’t put your health, wellness, and future first you won’t be capable of helping when needed. Not to mention you are sacrificing your life for someone else’s happiness.
As an entrepreneur, this bit of information is essential since our time and focus is 100% about our business. We shouldn’t feel bad about that. Entrepreneurs have a bad rap as being selfish, ruthless, self-centered, and obsessive. But the reality is, like everyone else, we can’t do everything. Meaning, we often prioritize our business over everything else because we want it to succeed above anything else.
If we choose to innovate and build businesses we need to be selfish, and that’s okay. Instead of looking at “selfishness” in a negative light you could see it as passion, drive, and determination. So how do you move forward without feeling guilty? Here are some tips that have helped me through it.
BE SELFISH…AND UNAPOLOGETICALLY YOURSELF
We’re not all built the same. Some of us are happy working for others and the rest of us are driven to forge a new path. We’re excited to be our own bosses, and have the freedom and control over our careers. It’s who we are in every fiber of our being.
So, if you identify yourself as an entrepreneur you should be unapologetic about it. Not everybody will understand, or share your passion, but you aren’t building their future and working towards their happiness. You should be selfish in pursuing your vision. Your truth.
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BE SELFISH…AND KNOW YOUR PERSONAL VALUES
One tip I learned in an anxiety workbook was to figure out what you value most, and then stick to them no matter what! Make sure your priorities are in line with those and you’ll be golden! It’s easy to become distracted by fear or life circumstances. When you know your values it can help you stay focused on what’s truly important to you.
Some examples of values might include:
BE SELFISH…WITH YOUR TIME
Oh if we could do it all… but the truth is there just isn’t enough time. Everyone prioritizes. You can’t escape it, however, the problem lies in our differences. One person might disagree with how you spend your time simply because they don’t share the same values as you. And that’s okay.
Once you decide on your personal values it’s easier to see what’s worth your time and not feel guilty about it. I’m not saying to completely cut out everything else from your life that isn’t in line with that. Instead, create boundaries and stand by them. If your goal is to create a lucrative business in the next year you will have to set boundaries so you can focus on that. This might mean cutting back on nights out with your girlfriends so you can redirect that time and saved money into your biz.
BE SELFISH…SO YOU CAN SERVICE OTHER PEOPLE
Lastly, you shouldn’t feel guilty about your interests and goals because after all, it will end up benefiting people in different ways. Whether you’re building a brand to help raise awareness about women’s health issues or taking an hour to go to the gym in between meetings. You’re either making a difference in the world or taking care of your own happiness and wellbeing so you can be present for everything else.
LET YOUR INTUITION DRIVE YOU
Because in the end, you are on this planet to share your gift and you can’t do that if you’re busy helping everyone else share theirs.
The act of being selfish has a bad rap, but it doesn’t have to if you’re being selfish for the right reasons. Remember that and keep conquering.