If you want to make a transition into starting your own business but you have no idea how to do it, you’re not alone. I once thought that by making great money, I would be happy. But I was very well paid in banking and still not satisfied. In my 30s, I experienced a radical shift. I started to search for meaning and connection in my life. I was looking for fulfillment in my work.
Fulfillment is typically more important than the dollar sum you earn. At the end of the day, your feeling of fulfillment will nurture and complete you in ways money alone cannot do. When constructing your new company, it is crucial to incorporate the element of fulfillment into the business framework, as this is often an essential part of a new company’s success.
Here are three steps to start figuring out what will bring you the fulfillment you’re looking for.
Step 1 : Start taking your fulfillment seriously
Humans are unique in that we have emotional and psychological needs beyond other creatures. When these needs are met, we experience feelings of wholeness, connection and joy. Serving others is a great example. Many people participate in activities such as volunteering and charity work because it helps fulfill their need to serve, which they are not able to achieve in their everyday job.
For me, I discovered that I felt very differently when I was out hiking than I did in my job. This difference created a shift in me. I knew then the feeling I wanted to move towards. Make the commitment to seek out change and explore your feelings. Follow your feelings as they come up by paying attention to where and in what moments you feel joy and connection.
Step 2: Gather inspiration and list the things you enjoy
Although fulfillment will vary depending on the person, oftentimes it’s about feeling connected to a purpose that is bigger than us. This can means considering how your everyday life contributes to humankind. Knowing that your business is attached to a bigger purpose helps the day to day work feel more meaningful.
How can we start to narrow down on what will give us as individuals that feeling? Start with your life as it is. What do you do that you find joyful? How do you like to serve others? How can you incorporate this into your business idea? Think about the issues that light you up and make a list. Consider what stories you tend to read in the news, what movie or documentary subjects spark something in you, or what experiences you’ve had where you felt you were making a difference to someone. It doesn’t have to be a huge event or a vast topic — it can be as simple as "making people smile" or "calling a friend in need." By doing this reflective work, you can help direct yourself towards a business idea that not only meets your deepest needs but serves a purpose.
Step 3: Start testing things out
People often say to me they don’t know what they love, or what fulfills them. Others say they have too many things they love and can’t choose just one! This resonates with me as well, as I am a very curious person, and there are so many things I love. It can be tough just to pick one or a few items to focus on. However, you do have to make a choice.
Try to narrow the things you love down to three to start. Remember, as your business evolves and grows, you might find ways to incorporate new ideas and other things you love into it. The critical thing to do at first thought is focus — great entrepreneurs focus. Once you have your three things, it’s time to start experimenting. How can you start testing things out? There are an infinite number of ways — just make sure to take a single step.
I like James Altucher’s 1% rule, which states that it’s better to take a 1% action in the direction of what you hope to explore than to try and achieve a 100% improvement on your situation overnight. If you’re keen to help others and if you like building things, you might volunteer with Habitat for Humanity, for instance. So you could start by getting informed, making a phone call or sending an email to express interest, and then by arranging a date where you can get involved. All of these can be completed a little at a time. But the only way forward is to take a single step. Don’t spend 10 years thinking that one day it will all become clear. Start trying things out. Personally, I love helping other people. I also felt my best when I was out hiking, and I had a deep love of adventure. I could see that there was a way to structure the adventure trips to be a catalyst for people, to give them a glimpse of who they are and what is possible for their lives. Slowly but surely this developed, and now we operate trips all over the planet. It all began with a few simple steps, and grew into the business I am proud to run today.
Find something that you are good at, that you love, and that fulfills you to create a business that aligns with who you really are.