How To Build A Business You’ll Love For The Long Haul

May

12

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Have you built a business you no longer enjoy? This happens all the time. I’ve got a special guest with me today, Dan Cumberland from The Meaning Movement. We will dig into the four pillars of meaningful work, how to create a business you’ll love, and much more!

Join Tim Fitzpatrick and Dan Cumberland for this week’s episode of The Rialto Marketing Podcast!

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How To Build A Business You’ll Love For The Long Haul

Tim Fitzpatrick
Have you built a business that you no longer enjoy? This happens all the time. If you find yourself in this place, you are not in the boat alone. That's why I have a special guest with me today that is going to help. We're going to dig into the four pillars of meaningful work, how to create a business you'll love, and much more. Hi, I am Tim Fitzpatrick with Rialto Marketing, where we believe you must remove your revenue roadblocks to accelerate growth, and marketing shouldn't be difficult. Thank you so much for taking the time to tune in. Super excited to have Dan Cumberland with me from The Meaning Movement. Dan, welcome and thanks for being here.

Dan Cumberland
Love it. Thank you so much for having me. I'm just so pumped to be with you here today.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yes, I'm looking forward to digging into this. It's not uncommon for us to start to build this business and we reach a point where we're like, Gosh, this isn't what I thought it was going to be.

Dan Cumberland
Yes, 100 %. And this is the reason I'm passionate about this topic is because I've been there more times than I want to admit. And so you're in good company. Anyone watching, listening, who is like, Yeah, this is hitting close to home. Very much I've got some scars to show my work on this topic.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Awesome. Well, I'll try and add as much value and interject here when I can.

Dan Cumberland
Yes.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Before we get rolling, I want to ask you some rapid fire questions. You ready to jump in?

Dan Cumberland
Let's go. I'm ready.

Tim Fitzpatrick
When you're not working, how do you like to spend your time?

Dan Cumberland
I have three kids that are 7, 4, and 2, and I spend my time with them when I'm just playing, having fun as a family, going on adventures. Just got back from five weeks in Columbia as a work play trip, which was super great. When I'm not with them, I'm usually working out or on a run. So those are the things that I do.

Tim Fitzpatrick
What's your hidden talent?

Dan Cumberland
Hidden talent is people. I don't know if that feels like a cop out answer, but I feel like people are my superpower. I'm just good with people and I'm really good at building relationships, maintaining relationships, and I don't know, everybody likes me. I don't know. That feels weird to say that, but it's true.

Tim Fitzpatrick
You're a likable guy. What's the best piece of advice you've ever been given?

Dan Cumberland
The best piece of advice. I struggle with this one, but what came to mind is I've been wrestling with this as an entrepreneur, we come to these places where it's like, my income as an entrepreneur, it can be so lumpy, and I sometimes need to find other ways to balance it out and just reach one of those not too long ago is wrestling with this. And a friend of mine is like, It's not whether or not you're an entrepreneur. It's always about a value exchange. And so whether that means you're earning it through your own LLC or your entity or through someone else's, it doesn't matter. What's happening is people are paying you for the value that you're bringing and the value that you're creating. It is just a really helpful reframe of... There's not this dichotomy, you're an entrepreneur or you're not an entrepreneur. It just expanded the conversation. I thought that was just super helpful.

Tim Fitzpatrick
It's almost like a little bit of an identity shift. Sometimes as entrepreneurs, if you really identify as an entrepreneur, you're like, Oh, my God. I can't work for anybody ever. But I love that. It's a really good reframe. What's one thing about you that surprises people?

Dan Cumberland
What came to mind on this one is I've been a vegetarian for, I don't know, 19, 20, almost 20 years now. I like to say, especially the identity piece, I eat plant based. I'm not a hardcore vegetarian. But that surprises people. They're like, That's not what people expect. I also only eat one meal a day. These are both food related. I do intermittent fasting and only eat one meal a day, and that's weird. So yeah, those are a couple of them.

Tim Fitzpatrick
You only one plant based meal a day?

Dan Cumberland
That's right.

Tim Fitzpatrick
So did you become vegetarian for a specific reason? Was it a belief thing?

Dan Cumberland
Yeah. Started as a health thing. I had a lot of stomach issues growing up. And when I was in college, started experimenting with my diet just felt better with fewer greasy things, which typically, especially red meats. And then started just learning about the ethics. Just the meat industry is a dirty industry. And then also the environmental impact of our food choices, of all of our choices. But the biggest way to make a positive change on the planet is to decrease your meat consumption. And so the longer, I guess the more I've done it, the more I'm like, this is a good thing for everybody involved. And it's really good for you.

Tim Fitzpatrick
It's interesting, man. I do eat meat, but I do eat a fair amount of fruits and vegetables. But I read something a while back, and I'm sure these statistics are changing all the time, but it shocked me how many resources it takes to raise beef specifically, but also pork and any other animals. Beef is the worst as far as I understand it. But the resources, I mean, the water, the food, and the acreage that it takes compared to plant based is mind boggling.

Dan Cumberland
Yes. The three biggest... So I'm also a volunteer with the Carbon Almanac, which is a project that Seth Godin started all around climate change and trying to make the Earth a better place. But in the Carbon Almanac, we talk about the three big C's. These are the three areas of the biggest negative impact on an environment that produced carbon. It's the reason it's called the Carbon Almanac, if carbon is part of the problem. It's cows, concrete, and coal. If we could solve those three problems, we would just be in much, much better shape as a planet. But to your point, just the resources that it takes to raise a cow is just... I don't have the data in front of me, but it's just so much greater. It's a lot than other forms of meat, even, and also plants.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah, interesting. Sorry, I went off track on the rapid fire questions. So what does success mean to you?

Dan Cumberland
Success to me means freedom. It means spending time with my family. And it means, I guess that freedom piece, like having control over my time and how I'm spending my time and being able to make choices about what I'm doing, when I'm doing it, and who I'm doing it with.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Where's your happy place?

Dan Cumberland
My happy place is my house with my kids, my family. I'm in a big pile on the couch. A tickle fight.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yes, there you go. What qualities do you value in the people you spend time with?

Dan Cumberland
The qualities I value most are integrity and honesty. I value ownership. And what I mean by ownership, I'm very much influenced by Jaco Willing's extreme ownership. You're fully responsible for all the outcomes in your life, even if it's not your fault. If you touched it, you're responsible. That is a very admirable trait that I try to lead with. And when I see that in other people, I'm just a fan. But yeah, those are the main ones that come to mind.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Dan, tell us more about what you're doing with the Meaning Movement.

Dan Cumberland
Yeah. The Meaning Movement has been an ever evolving project that started... It's really where I started my entrepreneurial journey. Went to grad school around these questions of how do we help people figure out what to do with their lives? In that program, coming back to this entrepreneurial identity piece that we already have mentioned, came to name that I love starting things and love to have my hands in a lot of projects that maybe I'm an entrepreneur, started this project to really help people figure out those big questions. Over the last couple of years, it has pivoted from more of life direction, career direction to really thinking about business and life direction for entrepreneurs. So this Venn diagram of the business that you're building and the life that you're living and that crossover between the two. So really helping people build businesses that they love for the long haul. It's come from my own struggle as a mission driven entrepreneur, someone who really believes in the things that I'm doing. A number of times throughout my career, I've been guilty of just chasing so hard after that goal of the destination that I have in mind, this business I want to build, the lives I want to impact, all these things that I end up sacrificing my day to day to a life that I don't love in order to achieve that goal, to get to that destination with the business that ultimately may never arrive. I've had a couple of these wake up call moments when things have gone sideways on me for different reasons and had to reevaluate, is this how I want to be living my life because I know that that future might not arrive because of business reasons, because of health reasons, because of economic changes. All these things are so much out of our control. And so I've been really passionate about helping people assess how are we defining success, how are we measuring success and optimizing our path in entrepreneurship for the journey, not just for the destination.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah. Man, dude, you're speaking my language, man. I've fallen into that trap multiple times. Yeah, you got to find joy in the journey and not the destination is important, but I think as entrepreneurs, sometimes we get so caught up in the destination that we're not happy until we get there. And it's this ideal that just is constantly moving.

Dan Cumberland
Yes. And I feel like so often it's like we get there and it's just a false summit because it's not quite everything that we thought it was going to be. And it's like, okay, now what? And this is a big part of it is especially we haven't been pacing ourselves. We don't have anything left in the tank. You get to the top of the summit, you're like, I made it and I also have equally as far still to go and I've got nothing left to get me there, whether that be emotional resources, financial resources, or just the, yeah, I guess that's the emotional piece, just the desire to get up and keep going. It's a heavy lift.

The Most Important Skill Entrepreneurs Need That No-one is Talking About

Tim Fitzpatrick
What's the most important skill entrepreneurs need that no one's talking about?

Dan Cumberland
I love this. It is, in my mind, it is having enough gas in the tank to have another try. And the reason I say that is so often the entrepreneurial conversation focuses on this specific endeavor, the business that you're building right now, the marketing lever you're pulling that's working so well for you. And I think it's very influenced by survivorship bias. And so when you're listening to the podcast and someone's telling about all their success or whatever they're doing that's working, what they're not talking about is all the other things that they did that didn't work. And a successful entrepreneur isn't, in my mind, defined by how successful their present business is, but how long they've been able to play the game. Because entrepreneurs, as if you zoom out of that specific business, that specific endeavor, and look at where they've been, most entrepreneurs have to keep trying and keep failing multiple times in order to get there. So that means the implications of this is that, don't go all in. Make sure that you're balancing your risk appropriately so that if the thing that you're building right now crashes and burns, you can have another chance at that. And I think that that's the narrative. That's the story that I want to hear more people talking about as we talk about entrepreneurship. That is not just about building this business or that, but there's this other journey, this bigger journey that we're all on. That this story right now is just one chapter of that bigger narrative.

Tim Fitzpatrick
I think it's so easy for us to... We see the tip of the iceberg when we look at other business owners and we're not seeing all that stuff below the surface. I interviewed somebody a couple of weeks ago and he was talking about how when he initially bought his business, it was doing like 250 grand a year, bought it. And he was like, Tim, for 18 years, I could not crack a million dollars in revenue. 18 years. And this is a guy that you look at and you're like, damn, this guy has a lot of stuff going on. Very successful, multiple businesses. And he's like, Dude, I couldn't figure it out. 18 years. And then something happened and that lever just changed everything for him. But 18 years. Most people would have given up long before. And I think too many people don't share those things. And it's like social media is like the highlight reel, right? You're seeing the highlight reel, you're like, Oh, my God. They totally hit it, but you don't see like... I talk about this all the time from a marketing standpoint, most of the marketing we do fails. That's the reality of it. Most of it fails, but we learn from all those failures and that helps us find the things that work. The things that work make all the failures worth it. Same thing for anything in our business. We're always trying things. So I love the fact that you're talking about that.

Dan Cumberland
Yes. I think exactly what you said about that. Take your approach to marketing and then take... Expand that from a marketing channel to the business itself, right? The business endeavor. And that's exactly what we're talking about. You got to try. Sometimes it's not going to work. Businesses often should end, right, to free you up to do the next thing. We don't talk about that. Instead, our culture values grit. We value... And the story like that, too, for 18 years, keep going, keep going. But along the way, for some folks, it's like, Yeah, keep going. You tried that business. That business wasn't a good idea, maybe. Maybe it needs to end or whatever it might be. And to find that balance and to make your own path, I think that's the other piece is that your journey has to be your own and it's not going to follow every other entrepreneur's journey.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah, they're all different, right? There's no one right path.

Dan Cumberland
Yes.

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The Hidden Million Dollar Mistakes Entrepreneurs Make

Tim Fitzpatrick
What would you say, we started talking about mistakes, what are the hidden million dollar mistakes entrepreneurs make?

Dan Cumberland
When you think about the major pitfalls, the major traps or landmines for entrepreneurs, most of the conversation, most of the time our minds go to the major business mistakes of marketing campaigns, of legal things, of whatever might be. But the biggest mistakes in my mind, that entrepreneurs make are the mistakes of pacing, the mistakes of sacrificing too much in order to achieve what they're chasing after. So those million dollars mistakes are not caring for their relationships and their health, not spending enough time with their family and their friends, not having a life outside of their work, all these things that we are quick to sacrifice because we have a passion for what we're building. But you fast forward your life, 10, 15, 20, however many years, and if your health goes sideways on you and you realize, well, it's because I haven't been moving my body and caring for my body and eating well for the last 20 plus years because I've been so focused on my business, how much is that worth for you? Or you don't have a relationship with your kids because all the time while they were growing up, you were so focused on work, on building your business that you didn't spend time with them, how much would you give to have a healthy relationship, a caring, a loving relationship with your kids? And I'd say these are the most expensive mistakes that entrepreneurs make. We would give anything and everything to change those. And yet the way we live our lives in the present often doesn't reflect that future goal and that future definition of what success looks like. So those are the many million dollar mistakes that we make along the way.

Tim Fitzpatrick
When you look at your relationships, those are million dollar mistakes. They're priceless, right? And yeah, gosh, you drop so much stuff here. All these things are popping into my head. With pacing, we are wired as humans for short term gratification. We see this in marketing all the time. People expect immediate results because there's a lot of marketers out there that are over promising, underdelivering. And the reality is it takes time. We have to go into this, not only from a marketing standpoint, from a business standpoint, we need to think long term. If we think long term instead of short term, we're going to make much, much better decisions. It seems to me like this pacing that you're talking about, really, we make pacing errors because we're thinking short term. Am I right?

Dan Cumberland
Yes, absolutely. Thinking short term and also looking at a very narrow definition of success or the wrong metrics. We're looking at our P&L, we're not looking at our family, those kinds of things. So some of this is like to bring that... What I'm hoping to invite people to is to bring awareness to how are you defining success, which I love that's one of your rapid fire questions. But then what I want to follow it up with is how do you measure that success and how are you measuring your progress toward that success in the here and now? Which means quantify as much as you can how healthy are you? How are your relationships with your partner or spouse, with your kids, with your community? If you have a faith background or spirituality, how are you doing with that side of your life? All of these things that can so easily just be very amorphous because money is easy to measure. It's dollars in the bank account. It's a number on a spreadsheet. But how can we quantify some of these other areas of life so that we can track those success metrics in parallel with the financial success metrics?

Tim Fitzpatrick
Have you ever read Awaken the Giant from Tony Robbins?

Dan Cumberland
I have not read that one.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Okay. I just got done reading this. Honestly, I've had the book for a long time.

Dan Cumberland
Really thick, isn't it? Yeah, it's huge. I've been really intimidated by it. Yeah. It sounds like, oh, man.

Tim Fitzpatrick
It's a long one. You got to be dedicated. It's over 500 pages.

Dan Cumberland
Wild.

Tim Fitzpatrick
But there are so many fundamental things that he talks about in there, and one of them, as you're talking, is coming to my mind, he's talking, your success metrics. One of the things that's really important is that we make it easy for us to hit those metrics. And those metrics must be things that we can control. If our metrics are based on things that are beyond our control, we're already setting ourselves up for failure. And so automatically, we're going to be unhappy because we can't control it. So he talks about this mindset or this principle of just, hey, when you set your metrics, you need to be able to hit them and you need to be able to hit them by yourself. Because if you make the metrics too hard, you're setting yourself up for failure. You're going to be unhappy, which sucks.

Dan Cumberland
Yes, I love that.

Tim Fitzpatrick
And so I think so many of us, as entrepreneurs, we all talk about, I got to set my smart goals and set my stretch goals. Go 10 X. But we also need to be realistic about some of the metrics that we're going to use. And if we can't hit them, we're just beating ourselves down every day.

Dan Cumberland
Totally. And where I go with that is just even thinking about my relationship with my kids. And sometimes it's hard. And I don't know, Tim, if you have a kid.

Tim Fitzpatrick
I have two kids.

Dan Cumberland
I wish that I could spend one hour with one of my kids and then come away from that feeling like I'm succeeding as a father. But the reality is sometimes they're grumpy, sometimes I'm grumpy, sometimes it's not fun. And so then it's much easier for me to go back, Okay, let's go back to the business. Let's work on the business. Because at least there, I can pull some levers and see that I'm making a difference, right? And so I think as you're talking about Tony Robbins' framework, it's like even thinking about those areas of life that my relationship with my kids shouldn't necessarily be measured on how fun was it for me and them to hang out yesterday afternoon. But am I spending enough time? Am I showing up? Do they have a good sense of who I am and what I care about? Some of those bigger things so that then we're more resilient in the shorter term so that we don't just say, Well, that's too hard. And this is subconscious because I don't think anyone would say that. But I do think we sometimes feel this way. I think, especially as men. But we'll do the easier thing, which is to build our business and do work rather than the harder relational feeling thing of being with our kids and growing relationships.

Tim Fitzpatrick
So one of the common metrics we might default to with our kids is I'm going to spend X amount of hours a week with my kids. To me, it's worth... Unless you know your schedule is completely set, you're setting yourself up for failure with a metric like that. Whereas you know, maybe you set up a simple metric. It's like, look, I'm going to hug my kids and tuck them into bed every night. I was in a group for a while and the guy was talking about how he wrote his kids a note every day. I'm like, Dude, okay, I can do that, I think. I started to do that. I'm not as great about writing it, but I do try to just make sure I'm talking to my kids each and every day. But the interesting thing, Dan, is I realized at some point, it was probably two or three months after I had been doing it, my kids had a stack of these notes.

Dan Cumberland
That's so touching to me.

Tim Fitzpatrick
These notes are in their room, in their dresser. It was in a drawer or something. I had no idea they were saving these things.

Dan Cumberland
It's so incredible.

Tim Fitzpatrick
But that's just one of those little things that we don't think about.

Dan Cumberland
Yes.

Tim Fitzpatrick
That's a cool metric that we can hit, right?

Dan Cumberland
Yes.

Tim Fitzpatrick
That helps us feel like we're being successful and we're reaching our objectives.

Dan Cumberland
Yes. I feel like. It's such a beautiful story. Thank you for sharing that. And what a perfect picture of how much we don't realize the impact of small things that we do on our kids. And one thing that I've done and try to do is just to ask myself the question about each one of my kids each day and just consciously sit and think about the question, how can I best love that kid today? And then do that. And it might be a note, it might be a hug. It might be spending more time with them. It might be, I don't know, throwing a ball with them or whatever. But what are the things that I could do today with the constraints that I have of my time and their time and all these other things? What can I do to make them feel loved by me? I feel like if everyone was asking those questions about their kids every day, I think the world would change, to be honest.

Tim Fitzpatrick
It totally would. And you know, well, the latter part of last year, my family was going through some tough stuff, and I saw a message on Facebook. Somebody that I'm connected with was talking about... Somebody else posted and he commented on there, and he was talking about, One of the things that I always told my kids was it's okay to not be okay. And man, dude, it stopped me right in my fricking tracks. And that day I told my kids that. And honestly, dude, it makes me stop right now because so many times we don't talk about that. And I was just like, you guys come and talk to me. I don't want you to, gosh, struggle alone, right? And you just never know. You got to have that open communication. And so it's like, gosh, if my kids feel comfortable enough coming to me to talk to me, I feel like I'm doing something okay.

Dan Cumberland
That's a success metric right there. Your kid comes to you with something vulnerable. Yes. That means you're doing it well. That's a good lag measure. We're talking about the lead measures of the time and the notes. And then that's a lag measure to be like, Okay, this is working. We're moving in a good direction. Yeah, it's really beautiful.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Just knowing that we're all freaking figuring it out as we go in family business life in general. None of us have it all figured out.

The Four Pillars of Meaningful Work and How to Build a Business that You'll Love for the Long Haul

Tim Fitzpatrick

I want to talk about the four pillars. What are the four pillars of meaningful work? Then we can start to go down this path of how do we build a business that we're going to love for the long haul?

Dan Cumberland
I love that. I love that. In my research, my master's degree and then all the work that I've done in the last, I guess it's been 10 plus years since I started down this path with the meaning movement, there's four areas of life in work where we find meaning. And this is true of people who are building your own businesses. Also true of if you have a job, working with a team, whatever it might be. It's true across the board. And I started my career as a pastor, so they all alliterate. They all start with P. The first is the people. So that's the people that you work with, the people that you work for, coworkers, employees, managers, even customers. That's one place where you can find a lot of meaning in those relationships. The next is the process. That's the day in, day out of actually doing the work. It's really easy to stereotype this as the artist that just wants to create, or the writer that just wants to write, or the coder developer that just wants to code, or the accountant that just wants to balance all the books and have everything line up all perfect. It's just whatever it is that you're spending your time on the day in, day out of the activity. For some folks, that in and of itself can make for a really meaningful work endeavor. The product is the next one. So this is the outcome of the work that you are doing. So as business owners, it's the business, what the business, the problem that the business is solving, the product of your business solves. For employees and people who are working on teams, maybe it's the contribution of your team to the organization, or maybe the organization in and of itself, that can be a really great place to find meaning. And then finally, it's the profit or the pay off. You can use either of those words there. That's the money, it's the lifestyle, it's the amenities that that work expression can give to you. And across those four areas, I think of them like dials on a dashboard. The higher you have those dials turned up, the more satisfying and the more fulfilling that work expression is going to be. And also, the lower those are, the more tension, the more frustration, the more dissatisfaction you'll feel along the way. And then there's interesting thing can happen where if some of those are really high and others are really low, it can create this cognitive dissonance where you feel like, This should be a great thing that I'm doing. This should be a great business that I'm building, but it's not working for me. What's wrong with me? This is particularly true if that product piece, if you're very mission driven, you're doing good work that's changing the world in a really positive way. But you're under resourced, you're fighting with your coworkers, you're not getting paid, and you don't like the work that you... You don't like the day in, day out of your job. And so you're like, I'm doing such good work, and it's sucking my soul dry. How do I reconcile those things? And it's really true. I mean, especially in the nonprofit world, you see a lot of people get burnt out from nonprofit world because of this exact thing, because it do work that they care about, but then all the other pieces are out of place. It has a framework that then you can do a couple of things with. One is use those as lenses to look at what you're doing right now and look for opportunities to, again, go back to that dial analogy, to turn up those dials a little bit, to lean in a little bit more to the people that you work with, or lean in more to the process and doing more of the parts that you love and outsourcing or handing off the other parts of your work. Then as you grow your business, use those as ways to measure how your business is aligning with your work preferences. There's another layer on top of your success metrics. This is about the business itself and how you feel in that business. These are ways that you can find the areas to apply pressure or apply effort in order to make that a more fun, more fulfilling experience.

Tim Fitzpatrick
It seems like... So you touched on, I love the fact that you touched on this because I was thinking, if I don't like one of these Ps as an entrepreneur, I don't have to be in it. I can put somebody else in there that's going to allow me to raise the dial in the other areas and keep myself happy. It seems like, man, we as entrepreneurs or business owners, we have to have very strong self awareness and we have to have a very clear understanding of what we want. Yes.

Dan Cumberland
Yes.

Tim Fitzpatrick
If we don't have those two things, we're bound to run into a lot of problems.

Dan Cumberland
100 % true. With the meaning of it, I run this accelerator. It's in beta right now. I have five folks I'm running with it called Bootstrap Without Burnout is the working title of it. But across the board, everyone in this accelerator is... It's been incredible because we have these founders and entrepreneurs talking about all the things that we don't talk about because there's not another space to talk about them, but about what they want or about the tension that they have between their personal desires and personal goals and the business. And there's ways that they align and ways that they don't. And also business partners and where one has one vision, one has another vision. And all that to say comes so much of it circles back to just needing clarity on what do we actually want from our business and ultimately from our lives so that we can build the business to help us go there. I know it's a first world problem to have that question, but it's a question that I think we need support in really understanding how do we answer that? Because there's always trade offs, right? There's always things that you have to give up in order to achieve in certain ways and in certain directions. And those are hard things to really be able to have clarity on.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah. Well, and sometimes I think we think we know what we want, and then we get to a certain place and we're like, Jeez, this isn't what I wanted.

Dan Cumberland
Not like that. I wanted this, but not like that. Yeah, it's so true, though

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah. The other thing, too, that comes to mind for me is just understanding our values. One of my mentors talked about when your values are clear, your decisions are easy. I think a lot of us don't spend enough time thinking about our values and frankly, ranking those values too, because sometimes our values are out of alignment. I wish we talked more at the beginning of the entrepreneurial journey about self awareness, values, and having clarity on what you want, because I think it would help us avoid a lot of roadblocks that we hit. Because I think a lot of us hit roadblocks because of one or all of those three things.

Dan Cumberland
I totally agree. I think that so often we're just... I guess I could only answer it from my own standpoint. As an entrepreneur, self funded entrepreneur, so much of my focus, especially early on, has been just finding just enough success to have the bills covered. Then after that... You're just thinking about, this is mission critical. That's the only thing I can think about. So it's almost like it's hard to even have the mind space to think about, okay, after that, then what? Or in addition to that, then what? I think that's where it gets dangerous. Again, just full circle. Everything we've been talking about here is like, sure, you got to pay the mortgage or whatever, and you got to get to sustainable finances and all those things. But at some point, you have to zoom out from that conversation to what is my life? And is this the life and is this the life that I want to be living?

Tim Fitzpatrick
Once we understand the four pillars, are there other things that we need to keep in mind to build a business that we're going to love for the long haul or what gaps do we need to play in?

Dan Cumberland
The major things that I do with people in the accelerators, first, clarify what we want with their business and where they're taking their business, bring alignment to those two things, really think forward about where do I want to be in five to seven years, and then work backwards from that to setting goals and metrics for success along the way. And then really a gap analysis of what do I need to do to close the gap between here and there? But a big piece of it is creating a rhythm of checking in with your success metrics that are already, like we've been talking about, just doing some self analysis, whether it be monthly, whether it be quarterly, how am I doing with relationships, with health, with all of these different areas, the areas that you choose. You choose your life. You choose how you want to define that success. But then to have that self check in where you're giving some bringing that to the forefront, bringing your thought to giving yourself a way to have that feedback, even if it's just like, yeah, out of a 10, I've been at a 3 when it comes to my fitness journey. I haven't hit the miles I wanted to be on my running. I haven't been disciplined and whatever else. And you're like, okay, that stands out when you look at all these different areas of life, when you put metrics to all these different areas of life as a place where I need to focus and make some changes moving forward. So that's the other piece to it. It's creating this rhythm, this pattern of goal setting and success metric check ins.

Tim Fitzpatrick
This may be a little off script here, but when you are talking to people about what they want, right? When we go down this trap of comparing ourselves to others, you see some entrepreneurs, they want to build the biggest freaking business they can, and other people want just a lifestyle business. What do you say when people run into this, this is all I want. Am I selling myself short? Is that enough or is it okay to want what I want? Does that come up?

Dan Cumberland
I think it's a really important question. Ultimately, what I tell people is it is okay to want what you want. You get to choose. And I think that's something that sometimes it's hard for us to wrestle with. We actually do have agency. We actually do have choice over these matters. And I think that's some of why sometimes we don't have clarity around these things because we don't know what to do with the fact that we have choice. But ultimately, I think to give yourself permission to want what you want is a really important step of the process in order for you to make sure that the journey that you're on is actually your own, that you're not just following someone else's script for your life. And it's, I think, a transition that we all have to go through at some point, especially depending on the messaging, the support and relationships that we have with our families of origin and the families we grew up in, the cultures we grew up in, the institutions that we were a part of. All of these have messages about who we are and how we should make choices and the lives that we should lead. And at some point, we have to say, okay, this is departing from the script or the path that X, Y, and Z people or places or institutions said I should be on. Or this is in line with that script, but I'm still consciously making the choice, and this is my choice. And I think that's a really important moment in all of our lives to bring awareness to and to say, Okay, I'm doing this for me, not just because it's what I'm supposed to be doing or feel like I should be doing.

Conclusion

Tim Fitzpatrick
I have enjoyed this conversation immensely, Dan. Any last minute thoughts you want to leave us with today?

Dan Cumberland
Well, first, I just want to say thank you, everyone, for watching and listening in. It just means the world to get to share about these things, this stuff that I'm so passionate about. I write about on LinkedIn a couple of times a week. If these ideas around pacing and success metrics resonate with you, I'd love to have you follow along there. I also have an assessment I've been building that's a burnout risk assessment that you can get to at themeaningmovement.com/start. If you go there right now in real time, you'll see a waiting page, a landing page where you can opt in. I'll notify you when it's done. But what I'm building there is a set of questions that will give you a number, basically, give you some feedback like we've been talking about to put these metrics in front of you so you can make them actionable based on how your pace is and how liable you are to encounter a real burnout in your entrepreneurial path. So beyond that, I'd love to help anyone who this resonates with. I would love to chat, love to connect. You can find me at the Meaning Movement or just Google my name, you'll find me.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Cool. I love it. Check out themeaningmovement.com/start. We will make sure that's in the show notes. Dan, thanks for taking the time. Like I said, I've enjoyed the conversation. I think people get a ton of value from it. For those of you that are watching, listening, I appreciate you and thank you for doing so. This is a little bit different conversation. I'm used to talking a lot about marketing and business growth, but man, if we're not taking care of ourselves and we don't understand what we really want, we're never going to get to where we intend to go. So super important. Dan, thank you again. You've hit a ceiling, you're not quite sure how to push through it. You've got a revenue roadblock. If you want to discover which of the nine revenue roadblocks are slowing down your growth, you can do that over revenueroadblockscorecard.com. You can also always connect with us over at rialtomarketing.com. Be happy to chat with you. You can book a discovery call over there and be happy to dig into whatever roadblocks you might be facing with your marketing. Thank you again. Until next time, take care.


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