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Our greatest happiness lies in practicing a talent we were meant to use. –Goethe

We were put on earth to experience happiness. Happiness can’t be pursued directly; it’s a by-product of other things. In reality, your happiness is always with you. You, however, are not always in touch with it.

When you remain disconnected from your natural state, happiness, you cannot experience the success you are. Further, if you do not reconcile this disconnection, your public face will always be in conflict with your private one. Potential customers will subsequently be repelled by, rather than attracted to, your business. And your chances of doing well with it become automatically and significantly limited.

Goethe remarked that our greatest happiness lies in practicing a talent we were meant to use. To live dissociated from our inborn talents is to experience misery. There is no amount of money to be earned through your business that compensates for that.

In James Hillman’s bestseller The Soul’s Code, he proposed that our calling in life is inborn. It’s our mission to realize its imperatives. He called it the “acorn theory” — the idea that our lives are formed by a particular image, just as the oak’s destiny is contained in the tiny acorn.

The first step toward understanding your calling to entrepreneurship is to ask:

If I were to fully develop my talent, how am I useful?
How can I best serve others?
What do people want and/or need from me?

That may very well reveal what you are truly meant to do with your business. This is the other, hidden side of your why. The answers to these questions unveil your private face.

Reflected in your private face is your heart and soul. When heart and soul are truly aligned and congruent with the heart and soul of your public face — your overarching why — the success you already are is readily apparent to all. Then you automatically attract and can do business with people who believe what you believe, with the end result being a positive, deeper and more profitable experience for all.

Congruency between your public and private faces is the key to lasting prosperity.

Let’s look at how all the pieces fit together using SMARTSTART as a real-life example.

PUBLIC FACE / The why [the “soul” of the business]:

I believe everyone deserves to be able to make enough money from their chosen work to provide for their personal and family needs, at whatever level desired.

PUBLIC FACE / The deeper why [the “heart” of the business]:

In some way, each product or service in the SMARTSTART family must help other business owners:

  • develop business literacy
  • simplify or demystify the complex
  • turn mystery into mastery
  • grow personally and professionally
  • love their work!

PRIVATE FACE / The personal why [the “soul” of the business owner]:

I believe I deserve to be able to make enough money from my work to provide for personal and family needs, at or above the level I desire.

PRIVATE FACE / The deeper personal why [the “heart” of the business owner]:

I am a person who:

  • has a desire to share acquired business knowledge and experience
  • and, historically, a talent for simplifying complex ideas
  • is open to revealing what others might hold back
  • sees her own business as a vehicle for personal and professional growth
  • recognizes the challenges involved in finding new possibilities for income

If I were to fully develop my talent, how am I useful?

  • sharing business knowledge and experience saves people time and mental anguish
  • developing talent for simplifying the complex aids understanding and shortens learning curves
  • showing openness and transparency builds others’ confidence and keeps life simple for all

How can I best serve others?

  • by being honest with them
  • by modelling best practice for them
  • by not being afraid to fail in front of them

What do people want/need from me?

  • they need to be able to trust I am telling them the truth
  • they want to know they are not alone and what they’re experiencing is normal
  • they need to believe in the power of their own abilities and choices

Let me be clear. This is a challenging exercise. I struggled with it myself.

I realize it is not “typical” fare from a business coach. However, I assure you, the clarity that comes from doing this upfront work greatly simplifies the task of deciding what products and services to create and sell in your business.

From this perspective, you will more easily be able to create your business legacy. Until then, why not spend some time exploring your own talent and how it supports your why?

More next time. Until then, remember to LOVE YOUR WORK, whatever it may be.

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