This year, Mike and I have had a goal to be one of the top twenty-five growers in the network marketing company we partner with. Last year, we had the same goal, and we missed it by one spot. We were number twenty-six. It simultaneously felt great to be that close (you know what they say: if you shoot for the moon, at least you’ll land amongst the stars) and crappy to miss the chance to be whisked away on an all-expense-paid trip to the Dominican Republic.

So, we set the goal again this year. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.

But here’s the thing: until very recently, I had been holding on so tightly to this goal that if it had been a little bird, I would have killed it by now. The goal had claw marks in it. It couldn’t breathe because I’d been suffocating it with the intensity of my grip. Suffice it to say, having this goal was not feeling good. It felt desperate, needy, icky, and pressured.

Thankfully, while I was having dinner with Scott, one of the top earners in our company, I shared my goal to be in the Growth 25 and how it wasn’t feeling good. I also shared my action plan to achieve it: work my butt off and sacrifice everything for the next ten weeks to make it happen.

In his adorable Texas drawl, Scott replied:

“You know, oftentimes we think that in order to make more money, we have to work harder, but that’s not always the case.”

Cut to me sitting next to him, a stunned expression on my face.

Do I not teach the power of choosing ease?
Do I not teach how the feminine energy of pleasure and enjoyment attracts to us what we want?
Do I not teach that there’s no inherent value in working more hours just for the sake of working?
Do I not teach that it’s not about working harder but, instead, smarter?

Yet here I was with my death grip on a goal, ready to sacrifice enjoyment and well-being to grow my business.

Thank God for Scott and his simple wisdom. It doesn’t always have to be so freaking hard.

Is there value in buckling down? Absolutely.

Do you sometimes have to forego your freshly homemade green juice for producing good work on that particular day? You bet your bippy.

Is getting where we want to go sometimes uncomfortable? It can be, especially if it’s somewhere we haven’t been before.

But squeezing our goals so hard that we give ourselves anxiety attacks from the pressure of it all is totally optional—and, actually, possibly, not even particularly productive.

Not taking good care of yourself in the name of hitting a goal just for the goal’s sake is absolutely insane.
Working harder and harder for more and more hours without intentionally choosing actions that produce results is asinine. 

As I listened to Scott talk about the possibility of growing a business by focusing on efficiency and cutting out the activities that don’t net the results we’re looking for, my shoulders relaxed. As he waxed eloquently about the power of outsourcing, focusing on the most important, not necessarily the most urgent, tasks first, and having clear boundaries, my soul breathed a sigh of relief.

Go for what you want. Go for it with gusto.

But remember that white-knuckling it and suffering for the sake of achievement is absolutely optional. How you do it is what you get.

When you make it to the podium, get the gig, win the award, or cash the check, it will feel better if you made the process part of the prize.

And remember, making more money, growing your business, or expanding in any way you desire doesn’t necessarily mean working harder.

You want concrete steps to help you stop making it so freaking hard? Here you go:

1. Get clear on what you want (and perhaps, more importantly, why you want it).
2. Choose the activities necessary to get you there without spending a lot of time and energy on extraneous stuff that doesn’t net results.
3. Enjoy the heck out of making it happen.

Then you can smile with the delicious satisfaction of not only having reached your goal, but also of having had a damn good time along the way.

This is what I shall be doing over as I grow my business with ease and pleasure.

It doesn’t have to be so freaking hard. How you do it is what you get.

Do you have a goal that could benefit from you loosening your grip a bit? How do you make sure that you enjoy the journey while reaching for a goal? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

Kate Northrup is a professional freedom seeker and creative entrepreneur and mentors entrepreneurs in creating their own financial freedom. She created financial freedom for herself at the age of twenty-eight through building a team of more than 1,000 wellness entrepreneurs in the network marketing industry. Her philosophy is that if you free yourself financially, you can be fully present to your purpose on the planet. Find out more and take her free Money Love Quiz to find out what your relationship with money says about you at and follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

*Photo Credit: zenobia_joy via Compfight cc