In my "throw myself on the funeral pyre of martyrdom," I had an epiphany. I am generous to the point I found that I was often taken advantage of. No realizing or necessarily discerning the difference between helping, being taken advantage of, or just plain being robbed LOL ... I set myself into an unproductive mindset. Always "other" focused and concerned with client needs vs. my own needs, I began to see an erosion in profits, and I started to struggle. Blame part of it on the economy, part of it marketplace competition, and part of it on -- me.
I recently was invited to work on a project that once launched would be a tremendous profit center. I immediately felt "profit guilt pangs": what gave me the right to create such a profitable business model? Why should I make that much money? Anyone out there hearing this and realizing they suffer from "profit guilt pangs"? Doesn't this make me greedy? I had a whole litany of thoughts like these trailing behind me.
All of a sudden, I woke up. What was I thinking? This kind of project wouldn't be possible if it weren't for all of the hard work, investment, and resources devoted to building the company and infrastructure to support it. Why in the world was I devaluing all of that and putting myself through such a head trip? Why was it wrong of me to think that to actually have the company to create the success this made me, what? Greedy? Out for myself? Ding-dong, self-awareness alert!
I realized I had turned into one of those people who gets in her own way. What is the definition of greed? Let's look it up: intense and selfish desire for something, especially wealth, power, or food. Now the real question, is it "greedy" to build up a company and be able to be successful, pay people more money who work for you? Be able to offer more to current customers? Enjoy some of the fruits of my labors? Pay down the business debt? And even hire more people down the road? OR would it be greedy to profit, keep the money, buy a bunch of material stuff, and generally spend all the profits on myself?
The real point ... it doesn't make you greedy to work hard and be able to be successful by virtue of the hard work. It doesn't make you greedy to value your skills and what you have to offer. It doesn't make you greedy to make your life better and those lives of the people who work for you better, too. AND this mindset is the more productive, successful mindset I need to grow my business. The other "stinking" thinking was inherently based on flawed logic and (I'll admit it) a somewhat negative belief system.
And if you've read this and nodded then it's time for you to change your mindset, too.