Last week I described a major milestone of my business—my Sept. 21, 2013 BMD. This date signified Jon Hokama and Associates creating both money AND time for the owner. My business graduated from business “high school” but will continue to mature.
My first Ideal Lifestyle Date (ILD), August 19, 2014.
What do you like the most?
I am most thankful for the ways I have grown personally. I am deeply thankful that I have had the privilege of doing most of the things I’ve wanted to in my life:
- Pursue cello semi-professionally as I explored career options,
- Study both theology and economics and living among the poor,
- Work on the university campus as a campus minister and teaching at a number of universities,
- Work in high tech and working for storied companies—Tandem and then HP,
- Work as an internal consultant and, most recently,
- Start my own business.
What advice will you share with us?
You’ve got to have a community around you! I could not have done this without the other business owners from who I both learn from and teach. It is a huge benefit to learn from those I mentor.
What were the most important lessons you’ve learned?
When I was a marketing executive for a Fortune 100 company, I thought I had arrived—I could do marketing for the rest of my life. I wasn’t far off. The products and services I deliver today are finely tuned; they are blended and adapted to my clients individually.
Last December, I became the kind of person I didn’t want to be: I was overly-focused on specific business metrics. Eight months ago, I had proposed that an off-balance sheet item would be central to my business evolution. This off-balance sheet item was an intangible that, in fact, added value to the business and added a weight, a centering gravitas, that balanced a life of positive externalities for me, my clients and my family. David Whyte captures this so well in The Three Marriages: Reimagining Work, Self and Relationship:
We could describe the inability to focus in our work as a kind of vocational promiscuity—an unwillingness to be faithful to a central theme, an indication either that we have chosen the wrong work just as we might have chosen the wrong partner, or that we are afraid of the deeper context to which it is leading. We may be afraid of living up to that greater context The intimacies that come with giving ourselves wholeheartedly to a relationship have always been acknowledged as having frightening, but there is also a deeper intimacy and a certain kind of risk that comes with giving ourselves wholeheartedly to a work. Like a good relationship, a good work followed for a goodly amount of time always opens up our character: our virtues and our many, many flaws; a good work like a good relationship always eventually asks us to be bigger than our own wants and desires, to see ourselves in a much larger context than the self that thought it had gained everything it wanted to keep itself safe (305-6).
His last point bears repeating: while I may have started creating a business, I really ended up creating a life. The business I have created allows me to live out of my richest passions and competencies. Rather than masking my flaws, it exposed them, made me deal with them, and both opened me up to doing more than I intended AND took me beyond that place of safety.
Consider what David Whyte says:
Like a good relationship, a good work followed for a goodly amount of time always opens up our character: our virtues and our many, many flaws,; a good work like a good relationship always eventually asks us to be bigger than our own wants and desires, to see ourselves in a much larger context than the self that thought it had gained everything it wanted to keep itself safe.
- What kind of moats of safety are you hoping your business will provide for you? How’s that working for you?
- What larger context has your business taken you into?
- What virtues do you see yourself exhibiting through your work? What flaws do you see coming through your work?
- What is your plan for accentuating your virtues and mitigating your flaws?