April 19, 2016

Inner Peace; Help You Find It I Will

As an entrepreneur, you’re susceptible to stress, anxiety, and unhappiness. That's the "risk" part of entrepreneurship, but fear not. As Yoda has taught us, fear leads to the dark side. Though your mental state can be the biggest inhibitor to your success, it can also be the biggest contributor. Finding your inner peace is the secret to success, both in and out of your work boots.

Here at BlueIQ, we’re all about measuring and improving. Sometimes, though, we can get too caught up in measuring and growing our business that we forget to slow down, take a deep breath and measure the analytics of our soul—Are we happy? Where are we headed and what are we becoming?

As entrepreneurs, we must find our inner peace to survive the stresses of business.

So whether you're on the dark path caught in the depths of depression, or seeking emotional consistency, or simply looking to better your quality of being, finding your inner peace will be the Force in which your strength flows. I am happy to share with you the knowledge that has literally calmed my storms, steadied my world, and became the light that broke through the darkness.

“In a dark place we find ourselves, and a little more knowledge lights our way.” – Yoda

The 3 Secrets to Inner Peace

1. Gratitude

Happiness is directly linked to gratitude. It’s too easy to get caught up in what we don’t have, what our neighbors have, or what we want to have. This over-focus on our voids completely blinds us of what we do have. Several years ago, after having my own epiphany, I began a gratitude journal. Now, I’m not perfect at writing in it every day, but I make it a point to try. At least several times a week, I capture a picture with my iPhone, upload it into my favorite app (Day One), and write an entry of how that moment made me feel. This small habit has changed my life. Scrolling through the entries on a hard day brings warmth to my soul and lifts my spirits as I re-recognize all that I have been blessed with. Granted, that might sound cheesy, but don't knock it 'til you try it. Recording in my gratitude journal has helped me to experience and express gratitude at a whole new level.

Another powerful expression of gratitude is service.

It’s not always easy to carve out a few hours and go volunteer at the homeless shelter each week. But realistically, if you made an effort, you could carve out a few minutes a week, at the very least, to do a small act of service for someone in your community. This act could be for a family member, a partner, a neighbor, one of your children, a co-worker, an employee, a Jedi, or even a stranger. These acts don’t have to be grand or life-changing by any means, I'm not telling you that you have to restore freedom and justice to the galaxy. Even simple acts like a kind note, picking up their favorite snack, a gift card for a car wash, mowing their lawn, holding the door, helping carry or unload something, and much more, help show your gratitude and reward your soul. It’s moments like these, strung together, that build a meaningful life. Whose heart wouldn’t fill with joy looking back on a few months of these growing habits?

For more on gratitude, and one of my favorite TED Talks, watch David Steindl-Rast:

Want to be happy? Be grateful.

2. Vulnerability

You’re a boss, manager, leader, father, mother, and some days, probably even a superhero. With all that responsibility, no wonder you feel the weight of the world upon your shoulders. Carrying that weight over weeks, months and years, weighs a person down. Speaking from experience, unless we are willing to share our stresses with someone and verbalize what is troubling us, that weight can become unbearable. This weight only contributes to the societal pressure we feel to assimilate or be someone we’re not (a pressure you may not even realize is bending and affecting you). Before we even realize, a cloud of depression accumulates around our heads and it becomes hard to see past the shame and fear. And you already know what I said about fear! So fear do not, vulnerability with yourself and others is the way to inner peace.

“Many of the truths that we cling to depend on our point of view.” – Yoda

When you allow yourself to be vulnerable, you allow yourself to be “seen.” Vulnerability encompasses believing we’re enough to sharing our stresses with someone close. Vulnerability disperses that cloud, easing the burdens and lifting the soul. It’s the major difference between those who have a strong sense of love and belonging and those who really struggle for it. So let yourself be vulnerably seen and fully embrace vulnerability, because . . .

“Vulnerability is the birthplace of joy, of creativity, of belonging, of love.” — Brené Brown Click to Tweet

For more on the power of vulnerability, I highly recommend watching this greatly insightful and humor-packed TED Talk by Brené Brown: The Power of Vulnerability.

3. Patience

Patience is usually not an entrepreneur's greatest trait. We want things done and we want them done now. One of our talents is to clearly see opportunity cost, and when things get delayed, it gets under our skin creating an itch that we can’t quite scratch. But patience, as they say, is a virtue.

Patience is roughly defined as the capacity to wait for someone or something without complaining. The key word here is "complaining." Though delays are irritating, if we can learn to be patient, we can eliminate or minimize the frustration that comes into our lives as we go on with our everyday projects. Beyond eliminating or minimizing the irritation that comes with late reports or training an individual that doesn’t “just get it,” patience is a powerful mechanism for tolerating the inevitable struggles of life.

This life is a journey isn’t it? A journey to becoming the person you want to become, complete with trials and obstacles necessary for you to grow into that individual. Recognizing that these trials, even as hard as some may be, may be the very thing that purifies and purges us into, or closer to, who we want to become, helps us find the patience necessary for inner peace.

“Patience you must have my young padawan.” – Yoda

When you begin to recognize the value in your struggles, you can begin to embrace them and find the patience to get through them in such a manner that enables you to discover all the little golden nuggets of wisdom and lessons to be had. This is how you grow. The struggle becomes your stepping stool when you’re patient enough and willing enough to face and endure the challenge.

“Named must your fear be before banish it you can.” – Yoda

As you grow through patience, your patience is also the powerful gift that allows your team time to grow. It’s important to remember that everyone’s “gifts” are not the same and for every strength, there is a weakness on the flip side of it. Your team is comprised of the individuals that will fill the gaps in your strengths and help further your vision. With time to grow, your team members will blossom, and the fruits of their labor will be worth the wait.

For more on the power of patience, I have yet to find a good-quality public video, but try patiently waiting in line at the DMV and for the first time in your life, leaving there with a smile.

Effort Buys Happiness

It is my hope that you find happiness in all that you do. Clearly, my life isn't perfect and there's no one that can claim such, but combining gratitude, vulnerability and patience has been the secret combination that has allowed me to feel happiness that I thought was only portrayed in fairy tales. But it takes effort to achieve.

If you’re willing to put forth the conscious effort, you will find the happiness and inner peace you seek. Click to Tweet

With practice, your conscious efforts will become automatic processes, mechanical habits that infuse into your character and become a part of who you are, adding to your quality of being. This is the power of finding your inner peace.

“Much to learn you still have . . . my old padawan . . . this is just the beginning!” – Yoda

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