In this episode, I share the 3 virtues that keep me going in business no matter what (whether the income drops, the economy goes down, or I lose direction), why I’ve chosen them, how I live them every day, and how you can do the same with whatever your moral principles and values are.
Listen to the episode or continue reading below.
- Definition and characteristics of a virtue
- Taking gratitude to the next level
- How gratitude helps you in business
- How I tap into abundance before bed
- Why I never lose interest in my work
- How lifelong learning leads to humility in business
- Things I keep in mind that keep me going despite changes in the economy and industry
- How I face a challenge using all 3 virtues
I felt inspired to talk about a few things that are why I’m still here, still in business, still doing what I love, regardless of the challenges, the income dips, the negative emotions, the unaccomplished goals, and the intense mindset work it takes to be your own boss.
I call these virtues, not just skills or qualities or principles. Because they are stronger than these. The 3 things I’m about to share are the reason why I get up in the morning, why in the last 10 years of being a business owner I never even once actually gave up, and why even when everything seems to be going down and I’m far from the vision I have or the income I desire, I’m still here and not even for a second considering to ditch this and find a stable job instead.
What exactly is a virtue
There are many definitions of a virtue. The original translation from Latin is strength and excellence. One definition is a behavior showing high moral standards. Another is a quality that’s considered morally good.
In philosophy that’s the conformity of life and conduct with the principles of morality.
According to Stoicism, a virtue is a critical element without which a good life is impossible. Socrates said it’s the most crucial attribute for a person to possess, the key to our happiness, and it’s closely related to wisdom and knowledge.
According to Aristotle, to be the best human is to be the most virtuous version of ourselves and that means using reason to recognize, learn and apply virtues.
In Christianity, a virtue is an habitual and firm disposition to do the good. In Buddhism, it’s anything that causes happiness, and non-virtue is anything that causes suffering.
And according to psychology, it’s a quality or characteristic that has positive connotations in a particular society and that is considered beneficial to psychological health.
You get the point. Whatever meaning this has to you and whatever your virtues are, you know how strong your connection to them is.
To me, they are the things that stay the same no matter what else happens in your life, your moral principles, what you put first even when it doesn’t make sense.
They are part of your identity. They can change and be developed over time, but when you have a virtue, you know that. And most often, others around you know it too and accept it as part of your character and don’t question it.
Popular ones include courage, humility, justice, patience, generosity, forgiveness and faith. In business, these are just as important as in the other aspects of your life. But usually, the case with values is that they are so strong that they apply to your whole life, anything you do is according to what you value the most.
With this episode, I hope to inspire you to identify yours and see if you do business according to them. If you aren’t sure what they are, maybe you can set a few as goals and aspire towards them.
If you aren’t truly satisfied with who you are as an entrepreneur or person in general, this can help. See what you’ve been doing that doesn’t feel aligned, think of the virtue you’re lacking or craving, and go for it. Make it part of your daily life, be aware of it every second of every day, let it guide you to a better life and better business.
Here’s the first one of the 3 virtues I want to share with you.
There’s a whole episode about it so you can go to it after finishing this one. There I dive deeper into what gratitude means to me, the deeper levels of thankfulness I’m practicing in my daily life and how exactly I do it, as well as actual examples of how it works in business so it brings me the kind of joy that few other things in life can.
I know many people who consider themselves grateful, but aren’t in a state of gratitude often enough. Because if they are in it, there’s nothing you can complain about, there’s nothing that can be considered wrong, nothing that can bring you down.
You’re actually powerful because you don’t just see the positives, you consciously choose to feel positive emotions. That rewires your brain and changes happen at the molecular level in our body. There are so many studies explaining the benefits of gratitude so if you’re interested, research the topic.
Sometimes people need a bit more convincing before they actually make gratitude a regular practice and pay more attention to it.
I think that once you’re comfortable with the first levels of it, such as noticing what’s around you, thanking for what you have, and seeing the abundance everywhere, you can go to the next stage, and the next one, and the next one.
Until you eventually thank for every single negative experience, everything you aren’t happy with in your life. Knowing there’s a reason for that, or that it’s only temporary, or that it’s here to teach you a lesson.
Then, you can start feeling grateful for everything that’s meant for you in this lifetime and which is part of your path. Even though there are no signs of it yet, nothing stops you from being happy about the fact it’s already on its way and will materialize itself.
So once I made these shifts and developed these habits, I became grateful pretty much most of the time. And when you have so much to be grateful for and don’t just think it but actually feel it in your body, you don’t have many problems in life. You don’t get upset often and you don’t let others bring you down. Your nervous system gets activated less often, you’re in a state of rest, and you don’t get triggered that much.
Just imagine how this can help you in business.
How gratitude helps you in business
Your launch didn’t go well? That’s totally okay. Eventually there will be a profitable one so you have nothing to worry about.
You’re here to get better at sales and marketing and there’s a lot more to learn.
You’ve been thinking of starting a business for years now but haven’t found the courage to actually do it? That means your current reality is good enough and you aren’t willing to change it and bring all the uncertainty and responsibility that goes with business.
So there’s some mindset work to do first. But you’re good now, and you’ll be good then. You’re grateful for the way things are and are loving the journey.
Your income dipped? Great. That’s going to teach you such powerful lessons that after you get back on track, you’ll be more empowered, you’ll know yourself better, you will have taken different action than if you always had a comfortable income.
Another big benefit that comes from this for me is that I get a better understanding of where my audience is. Most of them haven’t started their business for reasons beyond their understanding. They have inner conflicts or financial problems.
Or if their income dipped, they can get lost in the feelings of lack and totally forget what abundance looked like. But there’s always a way back and you get there as a different version of yourself.
You can then help others who are struggling with the same. You will know where they are coming from, can use their language, are familiar with what they feel in that situation and can offer them support and practical tips.
If that’s connected to the service you provide or the topic you teach online, it makes you a better business owner, a better leader and teacher, a better service provider.
Gratitude also helps me wake up with a smile on my face even in the worst seasons of my business. And go to bed visualizing where I could take it, and where it could take me as a result of that.
I like dreaming about the impact I can create, how exactly I can help people, what new ideas I can work on, what new course I can create, what book I can write, how my next launch can go, what I can do with that income, and so much more.
This immediately gets me into the high vibration of that vision and I stay in it for a while. I believe that I can create powerful content and results from it and just think about bigger things and take action soon after that.
This is how you open your eyes to the abundance and tap into this energy, as opposed to feeling bad about the lack of results in your business or focusing on all that isn’t going well.
The next virtue that keeps me in the game regardless of what the outcome is, is self-Improvement.
You probably already know that I began all this as a writer and blogger in the personal development niche and I always find a way to connect this to anything else I teach.
Any person I meet in life can also tell this about me almost immediately. The things I choose to talk about, the examples I give, the way I express myself and the words I use, they all show that I live and breathe personal development and it’s really important to me.
It’s also possible that I don’t get along with people who aren’t at all into this and live a life that’s not in alignment with that virtue.
As this is my passion, I always have this excitement in my business. Any new book I read or technique I try or progress I see in my life can be shared online in a way that helps my audience, complements my content and products, and builds my brand.
This is who I am. This is what I love. And it was really important to me to start a business in that field and to always be able to discuss these topics and attract people that are into them.
If there’s something that strong in your life and which you consider your passion, and you’ve found a way to make it part of your work, you know what I mean.
That itself can be the reason why you continue doing it forever even if you make no money, even if the hardships are countless, even if it takes you 5 years to go full-time in business.
The other side of this virtue is the fact that anything I do as a business owner also helps me grow as a person. There’s always a next level to reach, another obstacle to overcome, a stronger mindset to develop, more emotional toughness to gain, more skills to acquire, realizations to come to, mentors to learn from, and mistakes to make.
That’s why I never lost interest in my work. Sometimes, I may get bored with one aspect of it, but then I try a different content format, new business idea, cover another topic, or just dive into learning new things from courses and then apply what resonates.
My interest comes back because it’s related to learning and personal growth and that just makes me feel alive. Which brings me to the final virtue of the 3.
The next reason why I’m in still in business and planning to stay for the rest of my life is my love for knowledge.
It can also be called lifelong learning and it goes beyond just learning things. It’s about the fact that when you know what is good, you can do good. It’s also about self-knowledge – recognizing and knowing your own sensations, thoughts, beliefs, values and actions. Knowing why you do what you do, why you want what you want, and being able to tell right away if something is meant for you or not.
I also believe that being a lifelong learner brings a necessary humility to our way of thinking and living, which is one of the most important virtues of all.
In business, it can help you always keep in mind that there’s so much you don’t know and there’s no final destination. You can always keep working on new ideas, improving your existing projects, growing your brand and audience, changing direction, learning new skills, shifting your perspective, finding new mentors and learning from them, and connecting with people thanks to your business.
The desire to learn means you bring curiosity to anything you do, you’re willing to treat it as an experiment and don’t define yourself by your failures. That you never feel superior to anyone, regardless of your revenue, status or how much attention you get online.
Things I keep in mind that keep me going despite changes in the economy and industry
What this virtue has brought me goes even further. It makes me believe in myself and not worry about outer factors. Because I’m self-taught and learned anything I needed for this business to work, I can learn other skills when necessary.
So as technology evolved in front of my eyes, as content creation changed its face, as the whole industry is totally different now than it was 10 years ago, as the economy goes up and down, there are more businesses in every niche than ever now, and even when I see lack of results for many months in a row, I keep a few things in mind.
I know that this has all happened before, in one way or another, and I’ve come out of it. That I, as a person, and my business, as a separate entry, also move in cycles.
When it’s slow, it’s a time to learn back, re-evaluate everything, maybe change direction and adapt to what’s new in the industry.
The times of growth, however, are filled with intensity. It might mean a lot of money comes in, you feel stable and take more responsibility and hold more energy. But that will change too and it’s beautiful to see all this as one never-ending learning experience.
If you’re a student of life and a student in business, you can’t go wrong. There’s no final test that decides whether you’re good at this or not, whether it worked or not.
Even the biggest companies can go down when something unexpected happens that’s outside of their control. And even the owner of the business that seems so ideal and satisfying from the outside can be miserable to the point that they want to just sell it and start something completely different.
How I face a challenge using all 3 virtues
Whenever I face a challenge in business, which happens all the time, I know there’s a lot to learn from this and that will only drive me forward. With that mindset, you won’t spend much time feeling upset or sorry for yourself. You’ll get to action much sooner, you’ll look for answers, you’ll crave the lessons.
And you’ll know there’s no other way to learn them than to go through this exact experience. This actually combines all the 3 virtues in one situation.
When a so-called failure happens, I’m looking for the lesson, feeling deeply grateful for the learning experience, and excited for the self-improvement it can lead to. These 3 virtues bring me up every time I go down.
Maybe you expected me to have service or contribution in this list. Because the work I do is my mission and its goal is to help others, and I deeply care about impact. But it’s not the main thing that drives me and it’s not on my mind every second, while the other 3 are.
So that’s how I decided what to call an actual virtue and the rest is just a bonus. Like the impact I create online gives me satisfaction, keeps me disciplined and committed, and makes this meaningful. But it’s not as strong of a need for me as the other things are.
So, what are your virtues? Even if it’s one, even if you aren’t sure what to name it and it’s not in the official list of virtues, feel it and then describe it in your own words. Let it guide you, turn it into your business manifesto, live it every single day.