Recently, I was at an entrepreneur’s seminar that centered on the abundant success of the main speaker. She presented the audience with an enticing lifestyle that anyone would yearn for. The fancy home, travel, lifestyle…: “having it all”, she said. And, throughout the seminar, the question posed to all of us was “Are we in it to win it?” over and over again. 

What she described as “winning it” was really just financial. And after two days, I began to associate money—her definition of what business value is—with my life. I admit it, I had been taken. And I started to feel small and unsuccessful…like getting success meant spending money on a boat, a house, a vacation.

Comparing myself to her ideal made me feel worthless. If she can make so much money, why can’t I? Is there something wrong with me that keeps me from achieving these things?

Soon, the question “Are you in it to win it?” wouldn’t leave my mind. It was imprinted there and it began to haunt me. 

After the seminar, I had a chance to reflect. I wondered, “Winning it on what terms? Is money really all that counts as ‘success’ in business and life? And at what cost? We’ve all seen so many people that made the money but it cost them their health, relationships, and soul.

At the end of the day, don’t we really want fulfillment?”

So, I researched fulfillment. I needed to know why we become so easily influenced by other people’s values and personal branding.

Fulfilment and the Hierarchy of Human Needs

According to Maslow’s “Hierarchy of Human Needs,” fulfillment comes from self-actualization. After we have the basic needs of food, safety, love, and self-esteem, we look for self-actualization. 

What is self-actualization?

Psychologist Abraham Maslow’s “Hierarchy of Human Needs” states that the highest motivator for us is “seeking fulfillment and change through personal growth.” 

So inspiration comes from changing, shifting towards a meaningful life—a new business value. As you live, you grow and expand your perceptions of reality, of yourself, of creativity, etc. You seek to help others, to be self-reflective, and to accept differences. 

If this is fulfillment, what is a business valued by profits? 

Money is security, not happiness. Really, a desire for lots of money comes from fear. It’s based on our animalistic desire to survive and not starve. But it’s not what fulfills us; certainly not in the 21st century!

Set New Business Value with Proactive Life Design

The happiest, most fulfilled, and effective people design their lives proactively. The term “proactive life design” comes from Steven Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. It’s a life based on defining your deepest values and living in line with them. It’s values-based personal branding.

What set of values are running your professional and personal brand?  What is your business value? And what does “winning it” mean to you?

Fulfilment on Your Terms

When someone has a life you think you want, think again. You don’t know the sacrifices it took to get there or the experiences that made that person persevere. Do you want to sell your soul to reach a goal that may not even leave you fulfilled?

Winning doesn’t need to be defined by money. You’ve got to create a set of values that inspire you, your customers, and your employees. And that business that gives more meaning, joy, loyalty, and real profits.

What are the values that you want your business to stand for? Do it to win on your own terms.