Something happens after you’ve been in business a little while. Clients start calling…doors start opening…and all of a sudden you are incredibly busy! And even though you know it’s a blessing to have all this “success,” you begin to lose sight of your reason you started the business in the first place. You get lost in the muck of your To-Do list. And you become a slave to the business you once hoped would make all your dreams come true.

To escape the chaos of so-called success, you may need to let your light SHINE a little brighter. I'm not talking about “stepping into the spotlight” or “playing a bigger game” with your business. No, I’m suggesting that you tend to the light inside your heart, so that it can shine a little brighter. I’m asking you to step away from your day-to-day tasks and really nurture the fire of creativity and passion that led you to start your business.

So, when it’s time shed some light on your true purpose, please accept my permission to SHINE:

S - Slow down. If your life is anything like mine, you move through your day with laser-focused determination and cheetah-like speed. And that’s GREAT for productivity. But it doesn’t give us much time to think. To open ourselves up to the ideas and plans that God places in our hearts. For that kind of work, we need to be quiet. We need to take time to let go of all the chatter in our minds and create space for inspiration. Some of us enjoy meditation. Or journal writing. Others get their best ideas on long walks outdoors. Just find something you can do on a regular basis that allows you to quiet your mind, listen for God and be restored and inspired.

H - Have fun! If you’re not enjoying the work you do every day, then what’s the point? I’m not saying you have to love every minute and adore every task (after all, it’s called ‘work’ for a reason!). But you do need to have a passion for what you do and a desire to serve others through your business or ministry. If you’ve lost sight of that mission, and your business is all about the work, then it’s time to inject a little fun again. Find a way to laugh, sing, dance or do something you enjoy every day. And take the time to get together in a strictly social setting for a change (your child’s 5th birthday party doesn’t count).

I - Invest in your business and yourself. The busier we become, the less time we seem to have for our own personal growth and development. We tend to set aside hobbies and interests for the sake of family. And we put our own learning off while we teach our children. In business, we never seem to have the time or money to invest in learning the new technology that promises to increase our productivity, or attend the conference that is sure to fill us with inspiration and creativity. But I have found that when you carve out the time and invest in your own growth – personally and professionally, doors begin to open! 

N – (Just say) No.  Take a quick peek at your To-Do list right now. How many things are on the list because of somebody else’s expectation? Things that you do because you’ve always done them. Or because you think nobody else will step up and take over? Things that you do only out of guilt or fear? Now think about what you’ve done the last 24 hours….how much time did you spend getting lost on Facebook, watching TV or running out to Target for something you don’t really need? I’m willing to bet that you can create an extra hour each day if you have the courage and clarity to say “no” to the things that are stealing your time. Need some specific suggestions? Here are 20 things you can say “no” to now.

E - Enlist support. You didn’t think I would ask you to do this all alone, did you? When you are ready to let your light SHINE, you’re going to need some support. Surround yourself with friends and colleagues who will lift you up and encourage you to be your best self. This means no whiners, gossipers or Debbie Downers. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, here are more details on the five people you should avoid when growing a business. If you’re on a path to true success, be selective about who you spend your time with, who you lean on and who you listen to. As the 4th grade D.A.R.E. officer told my daughter’s class, “Show me your friends and I’ll show you your future.”

How do you nurture the light inside your heart and help your business shine? Share your tips with us here!

Theresa Ceniccola is The Christian Mompreneur—a mentor to moms who are running a business that supports their values of faith and family. As president and founder of the International Christian Mompreneur Network, she empowers entrepreneurial moms to build profitable businesses with wisdom and grace. Join the International Christian Mompreneur Network for free and receive the Ten Commandments of a Mompreneur toolkit!

Publication date: March 12, 2013