Have you ever set a revenue or income goal? What about a goal for a number of new followers? And, when was the last time you set yourself against the clock to get a project done in a certain number of days, weeks, or months?
I’m going to be bold and assume that you do this all the time, maybe even when you don’t know you’re doing it. The thing is, we live in a culture where goal-setting is so ingrained that it’s become almost invisible to us. Comparison is goal-orientated. Perfectionism, too. And consumerism.
Chances are, you want the dream house and car, the perfect family and life, to make the biggest impact and income, and you want it all by a specific time. But, each of these material symbols of “success-measured-against-time” is part of a scale that’s determined by culture. Now, with social media helping to set even higher standards for so many, more people than ever before feel “behind” on their success.
Before you start to worry about that, though, ask yourself this: are those standards even relevant?
The house and car you think you want are lifestyle goals that are informed by what we’re all taught to value and how we’re taught to value ourselves. And, what a lot of it boils down to is money.
Money itself is hyper-masculine, which global financial expert Bernard Lietaer highlights very well. He speaks of how the exploitative nature of money-centric transactions lowers the quality of social relationships and contributes to the end of cultures. On the other hand, transactions that emerge from feminine principles of trade and reciprocity actually strengthen relationships.
In spite of this, everything in our culture seems to be about money, even time. We have long since stopped questioning the idea that “time is money.” But isn’t time life? Isn’t there more to life than money?
The most highly revered (read: lucrative) fields in our culture are traditionally dominated by heterosexual-passing cisgender males, including politics, finance, and law. Meanwhile, the unprofitable labour of childrearing stays culturally valueless. That might seem irrelevant, here in 2021 where “women can be anything,” but the fact of the matter is that we still need babies.
We are only a handful of decades into accepting that women have value outside of the home. But, while women are excelling in many traditionally male-dominated fields, they’re required to do so by “having what it takes”. By internalising the need to fit into male worlds, they have to cut off parts that don’t fit for the sake of money. Good parts.
As long as we obsess over money goals, we will continue to exist in a hyper-masculine world. Accepting and sustaining these white, male, heteronormative, neuronormative, able-bodied ways of being and doing means people who can assimilate continue to make more money, while others make less.
The personal development industry speaks about lack as a “choice.” So often, you’ll hear the line that “your thoughts create your reality.” But thoughts don’t exist in a vacuum. Rather, they emerge filtered through an embodied, emotional experience that is co-created in relationship with the world. If you’ve never experienced feeling completely valuable as you are, choosing powerful action is a much bigger ask.
These days, the message is still overwhelmingly that success comes from working in masculine ways, and so-called gurus tell entrepreneurs that “if you don’t have a goal, you don’t have a business.” Since COVID began, there are more new entrepreneurs than ever before. But, we have to ask ourselves what legacy they’re inheriting. It looks to be one of building a business that doesn’t fit who you are, and selling to anyone who will buy.
The result is not a fairytale happily ever after. It’s more like Cinderella’s ugly step-sister cutting off her toes to get the glass slipper on, and still being rejected by the prince. Businesses built this way don’t feel like dream businesses or create dream lifestyles. If you’re not doing something in a way that supports your way of being, in the end you’ll only ever feel unsafe. That feeling leads straight to burnout.
A wave of profitable businessowners are waking up to this revelation and starting over. COVID has shown the world that high performance doesn’t have to mean being chained to a desk for 50+ hours a week. Feminine principles are emerging and introducing ways of working to the mainstream that are fluid, flexible, and collaborative. More and more people are finally recognising that, to build their dream businesses and lives, they have to allow for living now. We can’t put off being who we really are until “later” anymore.
What’s really interesting is how clear it’s become that profitable businesses can work just fine without any of the pushing, goal-setting, or money-obsessing that have for so long been accepted as the keys to success. Entrepreneurs that emphasise being over doing are seeing growth in themselves that translates into growth for their business. They’re learning to trust their intuition enough to find out who they really are and going on to become that person unapologetically. In doing so, many are finding that their business fits like a second skin.
Businesses that are made to fit don’t demand that your life in constant battle mode. Where you’re not fighting for arbitrary milestones, there’s so much more meaning in the journey. You get to be in your business, and be present in the moments where the future is created. As a result, your business and its growth become part of you and your life. That’s where real dreams unfold.
For some years now, I’ve been working with women, BIPOC and LGBTQIA coaches and service providers. And, what I consistently see is that, when people feel truly safe to be and express themselves in body, mind, soul, and business, incredible transformations happen. For so many people in the world today, that feeling is actually the ultimate dream lifestyle. It’s why so many of us go into business in the first place.
About the author
Dr Morgana McCabe Allan works with frustrated entrepreneurs to help them fall back in love with their businesses, achieve their goals and attract the right kind of clients. Through her coaching and mentoring, coaches, therapists, practitioners and heart-centred service providers can learn how to make their ventures successful without burning out or sacrificing their free time.
Morgana helps her clients shift their perspectives and design a new reality for themselves using manifesting, mindset and healing techniques, alongside powerful organic business strategies. This includes helping them overcome the things which are holding them back, including imposter syndrome, procrastination and perfectionism.
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