In pursuing business success, we sometimes forget that entrepreneurship should also bring us joy and fulfillment. Learn how self-actualization, positive emotions, and meaningful connections are the keys to a flourishing life as a business owner.
Flourishing Defined: Flourishing as a business owner means living your best life, reaching self-actualization, and experiencing a feeling of completion and satisfaction, aligning with the fundamental reasons many entrepreneurs start their businesses.
The Benefits of Flourishing for Business Owners: Self-actualization and flourishing offer numerous advantages to business owners, including increased productivity, better mental health and resilience, enhanced leadership, creativity, sustained motivation, and a healthy work-life balance, ultimately bringing the personal fulfillment and satisfaction that business owners seek.
The Link Between Flow and Flourishing: Flow, a state of deep immersion and joy in one's work, is a key building block to achieving a flourishing life as a business owner, offering the opportunity to intentionally develop flow states and build a life of fulfillment and satisfaction.
What does it mean to flourish as a business owner?
Flourishing means living our best life, reaching self-actualization, and experiencing a feeling of completion and satisfaction that we are living our dreams. Often, the reason we started our businesses was because of a desire for a flourishing life.
Positive emotions, positive psychological functioning, and positive social functioning characterize a flourishing life. It is a fulfilling and meaningful life, where individuals can accomplish tasks that are important to them and connect with others on a deeper level.
We flourish when we reach the pinnacle of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs: self-actualization. A business owner who has reached self-actualization has a profound sense of purpose and meaning in their work. They are not just running a business but pursuing a vision that aligns with their deepest values and aspirations. This is when they feel like they are "living their best life.” They are experiencing a profound sense of fulfillment and purpose, which is the essence of flourishing.
The good news is that true flourishing isn’t a dream stuck in the future but a way we live every day. Flourishing isn’t an end goal, it is the process by which we can achieve our goals. It is about finding fulfillment in our lives by living an authentic life that brings inner joy and happiness through meeting goals, being connected with life passions, and relishing in accomplishments through the peaks and valleys of life.
Why This Matters for Small Business Owners
Business owners should aspire to self-actualization and flourishing because it enhances their businesses in numerous ways. Self-actualized business owners are better equipped to tackle challenges, lead effectively, and create positive impacts in their lives and communities. Here are a few of the benefits of flourishing as a business owner:
Increased productivity: Flourishing business owners are more likely to be productive and engaged in their work, which can lead to increased profits and growth for their businesses.
Enhanced Leadership and Decision-Making: Self-actualized business owners make decisions that align with their values and long-term vision, earning the trust and loyalty of employees and customers.
Better mental health and resilience: Flourishing business owners are less likely to experience burnout, stress, and other mental health issues that can negatively impact their businesses because self-actualization equips them with the psychological strength to bounce back from failures and adapt to changing circumstances.
Work-Life Balance: Business owners who have achieved self-actualization know when to step back and prioritize their personal lives, which can lead to a more sustainable and fulfilling entrepreneurial journey.
Sustained Motivation: Business owners who have achieved self-actualization are more likely to maintain their passion and drive for their businesses over the long term.
Increased creativity: Flourishing business owners are more likely to be creative and innovative, which can help them stay ahead of the competition.
Fulfillment and Satisfaction: Self-actualization brings the personal fulfillment and satisfaction that business owners seek when establishing their businesses. Achieving one's potential and living in alignment with one's values and aspirations can lead to a profound feeling of contentment, which we all crave.
The Link Between Flow and Flourishing
I wrote about Flow here, but flow is basically working in your sweet spot when all the stars seem aligned. In a flow state, your work is challenging enough to stimulate you, but it goes easily enough that it is not overwhelming and leaves you with positive feelings. The classic way to define flow is when you are so immersed in your work that you lose sense of time, and you feel joy and purpose from doing the work.
Flow is a state that we can intentionally build; as we build moments of flow, we build a flourishing life. Consider flow states as building blocks to a flourishing life. The good news is that we can develop more flow states in our lives through simple steps.
Practical Steps for Business Owners to Flourish
I have developed a framework to help you develop flow states so you can flourish as a business owner and individual by giving attention to 4 areas. My FLOW framework provides an easy acronym to remember these 4 areas.
Connect with your purpose. Get clear on why you are doing the work you are doing. Consider also your own big goals and align them with your work. Get intentional about how your daily work is moving you towards that bigger purpose (and ruthlessly eliminate what does not support that purpose).
Connect with people and develop positive relationships. The best way to develop relationships is through demonstrating empathy or caring for others. When you have friction with the people you interact with, it will affect your emotions and ability to thrive.
Look at the systems and routines by which you operate each day. Consider where your blockages are and how you can reduce friction and increase flow as you eliminate, automate or delegate.
Invest in your mental and physical health in order to think optimally and be able to sustain yourself and your business. The biggest investment you can make in your business is yourself.
Find your Flow
Book a free call with me for a brief analysis of your FLOW state, and I will help you identify next steps to take to find flow so that you can flourish in your business and personal life.
“What Flourishing Is and Why It Matters.” Psychology Today, 2023, www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/202302/what-flourishing-is-and-why-it-matters. Accessed 25 Oct. 2023.
Hill, Ali. “Council Post: Why Entrepreneurs Must Start with Self-Actualized Emotional Intelligence.” Forbes, 9 Mar. 2022, www.forbes.com/sites/forbesbusinesscouncil/2022/03/08/why-entrepreneurs-must-start-with-self-actualized-emotional-intelligence/?sh=3f728feb5684. Accessed 25 Oct. 2023.