Login or signup
36
OWNER'S MANUAL

Most Important Thing You've Lost
 

Remember the first day you became your own boss? Remember how you felt? Here's how to get that back.

Advertisement

Pick a first day: The first day you opened a business, landed a huge customer, moved into a new location, or started a new job.

Pick a first day when you felt happy and excited. Pick a day when you walked in and everything felt new: Filled with promise, filled with hope and potential and anticipation... Even though every day is the first day of the rest of your life, pick a day that felt like the start of a better, happier, and more fulfilling life.

Now think about today.

Those feelings? They're gone. They're lost. Today feels the same as yesterday and tomorrow seems like just one of a seemingly endless string of similar days stretching off into the distance.

What changed?

You changed. You adapted.

Adapting is natural. When something good happens, you feel happier for a while. Then you adapt to your new situation and return to your baseline "happy state."

Buy a Porsche and for a little while you feel happier and maybe a little smug... but soon that new Porsche is just your car. Buy a new house and for a while you're happier... but soon you adapt and your new house is now just where you live.

But what about a Lambo? Now that would make you happy. And a house on the golf course... hey, then you would be satisfied.

All of us naturally revise our expectations upwards--and when our expectations go up, our level of happiness goes back down.

Now think back to your first day; say the one you picked is the day you opened your own business. You were excited and thrilled because finally--finally!--you could start calling your own shots. For the first time in your life your professional success--and income--would only be capped by your skills, creativity, and work ethic.

Nothing has changed--except you. You still call your own shots. Your professional success is still only limited by your skills, creativity, and work ethic. You still don't have a boss, still get to do what you love, still get to take chances and seize opportunities and work with people you enjoy.

In reality, today is just like that first day. You just see it differently.

So do this: Step outside your office or your business. Think about that first day. Picture yourself getting ready to walk through the door. Remember how you felt. Remember the goals and dreams you had. Remember how thrilled you were to start a new life.

Then walk back inside.

Look around.

Nothing has changed.

Except you... but now you've changed in a good way.

So smile, nod to yourself, and go kick ass like it's the first day.

Because it is.

IMAGE: Getty
Last updated: Jun 22, 2012

JEFF HADEN learned much of what he knows about business and technology as he worked his way up in the manufacturing industry. Everything else he picks up from ghostwriting books for some of the smartest leaders he knows in business.
@jeff_haden




Register on Inc.com today to get full access to:
All articles  |  Magazine archives | Comment and share features
EMAIL
PASSWORD
EMAIL
FIRST NAME
LAST NAME
EMAIL
PASSWORD

Or sign up using: