A local bookstore was going out of business and I stopped in and picked up Secrets of Six-Figure Women by Barbara Stanny. The book originally cost $23.95 and I got it for a whopping $2.49 plus tax.
I’ve learned in the past from reading books with these kinds of titles not to expect any huge revelations, but I was optimistic about getting some kind of a return on my less-than $3.00 investment.
At the end of Chapter 1, the author recapped and listed the following Eight Secrets of Six-Figure Women:
1. Financial success is possible in almost any field and lack of education doesn’t have to hold you back.
2. Working hard doesn’t mean working all the time.
3. Focus on fulfilling your values rather than financial gain.
4. Loving what you do is much more important than what you do.
5. Feel the fear. Have the doubts. Go for it anyway.
6. Think in terms of trade-offs, not sacrifices to find a workable equilibrium.
7. Sometimes you just have to shrug it off and have a good laugh.
8. Appreciate abundance.
The one that stuck with me was #2. I can’t count how many times I’ve been asked to present workshops on work-life balance and time management. This is a huge challenge for working moms – whether you hold a traditional job or run a business.
Balance Doesn’t Exist.
Here’s my unsolicited advice: Stop looking for balance because it doesn’t exist.
I can’t totally fault you for seeking out this unrealistic notion that’s been deeply embedded within us. Instead, I point my finger at corporate America and if we’re being totally honest, let’s go ahead and blame our parents too. All of our lives we’ve been told to work hard. Well, what does that really mean? Does it mean going against secret #6 and sacrificing? Or maybe it equates to nothing less than 14-hour days if you want to become successful. My reasons for following my entrepreneurial dreams have nothing to do with any of this.
Shedding the Corporate Mindset.
I must admit that it was hard for me not to transfer my corporate mentality over into self-employment. I can still hear the cubicle chatter loud and clear. Juggling Judy would say, “I didn’t leave the office until 8 o’clock last night and I worked three more hours when I got home!” And then Workaholic Wilma would come back with something like, “Yeah … but I haven’t taken a vacation in three years!”
If you intend to follow through with this thing called “being your own boss”, you better learn sooner than later that hard work and long hours are polar opposites. Get back to the basics and adopt the old saying of quality over quantity.
Work Smarter, Not Harder.
Four hours of intense, laser-focused, income-producing work is far better than staying up day and night chasing your tail. I would beat myself up about going to bed before midnight. I thought unless I was burning the candle until wee hours of the morning it meant I wasn’t giving it my all. What a painful (and exhausting!) misconception.
Listen … nowadays, I work when I feel like it and shut it down when I don’t. Seriously. The reason I can do this without guilt is that I’ve redefined what work means to me. Work isn’t about spinning my wheels and going nowhere fast. It’s about narrowing my focus and honing in on a few meaningful things I enjoy (see secret #4) that allow my creativity to shine through while making some money in the process. At the forefront of it all is my sincere desire to help the woman next to me do the same – on her own individual terms, of course.
Related Content: Work Smart, Not Harder: Double Dip on Ideas and Resources
It’s never too late to cut the corporate crap. I’m speaking in terms of the negative conditioning that causes self-doubt and makes you second guess if it’s all worth it. While I don’t fully believe in sacrificing, I do believe there’s a price to pay to get from where we are to the place we want to be. By no means is that equivalent to sleepless nights and jam-packed agendas.
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Donna L. Johnson, The Unemployed Entrepreneur™, is a speaker and confidence coach who worked her way up from file clerk to management while starting a business at night and on weekends. Her real-life experiences are her secrets to success while her jaw-dropping transparency offers everyday women insight and inspiration to become their very best.
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