For most entrepreneurs, your work is your life, your passion. But over time, when the initial spark dies down, you can lose that romantic flame you initially had when you opened your company’s doors.
“The first six months [of a business] are always riveting, adventurous, and then at some point when you need to scale and you need to introduce processes and the mechanics of traditional business kick in, there’s a sense of deflation and disenchantment,” says Tim Leberecht, author of The Business Romantic: Give Everything, Quantify Nothing, and Create Something Greater Than Yourself.
Perhaps you were able to make decisions in the beginning of the venture that were based on passion and now that you have investors, you need to make decisions that are based on traditional business logic.
While Leberect says it’s normal for entrepreneurs to lose some of the initial passion they started their business with, if you’re not careful, this disenchantment can turn into cynicism when what was once your passion project now becomes routine – boring even.
The good news is that your business can win back your love. Here’s how:
1. Make the familiar strange again.
Many entrepreneurs launch a business not only because they’re attracted to the financial upside, but by the sense of adventure. “Going to a place where you have to prove yourself is exciting and exhilarating,” says Leberecht. But what made the business exciting in the beginning can become routine after a few years. “The moment you find something is becoming routine and familiar, make it strange again,” says Leberecht. Push yourself out of your comfort zone, take on a task that you aren’t fully qualified for, move your desk to a different location, for example. This step is about re-injecting a sense of adventure into your work life.
2. Don’t cut out work culture.
Creating an enjoyable work culture can help you rekindle the romance in your business. A culture that engages people keeps them excited and on their toes makes them want to come back the next morning. Leberecht believes businesses can create an aura of mystique to create a more meaningful experience at work through such things as underground supper clubs, secret cinema and flash mobs. One company Leberecht worked with once had everyone show up to work wearing white socks because the COO was renowned to wear white socks every day. These type of activities engage people, make the work environment interesting and can help rekindle a lost passion.
3. Find new meaning in your work.
Most entrepreneurial ventures start out fueled by meaning, but this meaning can change as the company grows, employees are hired and the company experiences its first setbacks. The meaning that you began the business with now has to become more holistic. “Think about what your impact on society is and how you treat your employees, what kind of culture you have in your organization,” says Leberecht. Discovering this new meaning in your organization can help you reignite the romantic spark.