Are you sick of the struggle? Are you looking to stop suffering in your quest to build a better business and life?
All around me people talk about the pain of growing a business, the disappointment, and sometimes even the despair.
It seems like everyone is striving for more money and success. And most people I meet online don’t appear to be all that happy.
Yes, you probably can struggle your way to a six-figure business. But at what cost?
Part of my mission is to help you build your dream business… without the unnecessary struggle. Are you ready to stop suffering?
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How Goals Create Suffering
The problem starts with goal setting.
There’s nothing wrong with goals (more on that below). But there is a problem when the goal becomes your reason for being.
Having a goal often leads to a sense of striving. You become attached to the desired outcome. You want the result more than you want to do the work to get there.
This “wanting” colors everything you do. It ruins your experience and the quality of your creation.
Instead of enjoying the process of growing your business, you focus on the future.
You yearn for how you think you’ll feel when you finally reach your goal. Which is a fruitless exercise, since achieving your goal won’t help you feel any better in the long term.
Now, I still believe in goals – especially meaningful goals. You can read more about how to set meaningful goals here.
However, even with meaningful goals, it’s easy to become attached to some imagined future. One that you believe is better than your current situation.
And all the time you’re looking forward, you’re missing out on your amazing life right now.
The conflict between goals and living in the moment is something I’ve long wrestled with. Recently I’ve found a way to balance the two… while creating more joy in my business.
Negative Action Energy
The answer lies in understanding the energy driving your efforts. You need to get out of negative “action energy”.
Action energy is the energy or emotion from which you perform a task.
When working on a business, most people focus on external results. How many followers do you have? How much money are you making? How many influencers do you know?
This is understandable. We live in a culture of wanting more. More money, more recognition, more house, more car.
But, of course, this keeps us stuck on a treadmill. Because “more” is never enough.
Think about what happens when you achieve a goal. You probably experience a brief high. Which is then replaced by the desire to achieve an even bigger goal.
So, how do you get off the treadmill?
The problem is not the goal you’re pursuing. It’s the emotion or energy you’re acting from. You want to switch from a negative action energy to a positive action energy.
You know you’re working from negative action energy when you’re overly attached to the outcome.
Here are some of the common negative action feelings I’ve noticed in myself and my coaching clients:
- Convincing (especially when selling something)
Notice how the last two seem like positive emotions. And perhaps they are for you. We all respond differently to the range of human emotions.
Eagerness and determination are negative emotions for me, because when I feel them there’s a tightness in my body. My thoughts center around wanting a result. I find little to no satisfaction in either the process or the outcome.
The physical tightness and the attachment thoughts are all key indicators that you are in negative action energy.
Positive Action Energy
If the source of the problem is the emotion driving your action. Then the solution is to act from a different energy. In other words, you want to find positive action energy.
You know you are in positive action energy when you’re no longer focused on the future. You feel more alive. You are living fully in the present.
Creative people often describe this as following their muse or being in a state of flow.
When you act from positive energy, your experience and your results are more satisfying. You enjoy the journey and create from a higher place.
Below are some positive energy feelings I have identified.
Again, your list may look different to mine. The key is to notice how you’re feeling when you’re fully present in a task.
The first two emotions are weaker than the others. But I include them because it’s not always possible to love everything you do.
Sometimes it’s enough to accept the necessity of your work. Stop resisting and allow the present moment to be as it is. Flowing with life is much easier than fighting it or clutching at the future.
As I was forming this concept of negative versus positive action energy, I re-read A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle.
Towards the end of his book, Tolle describes what he calls the three modalities of awakened doing. They are:
When I read about Tolle’s modalities, I was struck by their similarity to positive action energy.
Tolle argues that when you act from one of these three emotions the quality of your actions becomes empowered.
Whereas, when you act from any other energy, what you do is influenced by your ego. Which ultimately creates suffering for yourself and others.
Here’s a quick summary of the three modalities.
Acceptance is where you can’t find joy in a task, but you still do it willingly. You stop resisting the act of doing and are at peace.
Enjoyment is doing any activity where you are fully present and feel alive. You can find joy in any task; though most of us find it easier to enjoy certain tasks more than others.
Enthusiasm is where you experience joy while working towards a goal or vision. Enthusiasm is a high energy emotion that drives you when you are living your purpose.
It’s important to note that enthusiasm is not the same as wanting the outcome more that you want to work towards it.
Tolle tells us that wanting in this way creates stress. Enthusiasm means being present in the moment while moving towards a vision you believe in.
Understanding your thoughts and feelings is key to finding joy in your work and life.
When you act from positive action energy, you feel more alive and create results with less struggle. You also avoid negative biproducts of suffering such as stress and burnout.
What do you think? When you look back on your past efforts, can you see the connection between the emotion that drove you and the experience you had during and after completing the project?
Do you think you can change your energy to stop suffering and create more success?
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