There’s a culture of more going on right now. More money. More social media followers. More customers. More attention. More. More. More. Instead of focusing on more, we’re focusing on enough.
Raise your hand if you’ve recently felt yourself falling into the trappings of more:
- You’re trying to grow your business, so you’re doing more marketing, more sales, more content creation, maybe even thinking about hiring people
- You have a big ambitious financial goal and you are pretty far from it right now
- Your schedule is packed to the brim leaving no white space in your life
- You constantly feel overwhelmed by all the things you can/want to do, but yet you feel like you’re never actually getting things done
We don’t bring these things up to make you feel bad about yourself or your choices, we bring them up because we’ve fallen prey to these ideals over the years.
Take a moment and ask yourself this simple question:
Are the goals and dreams I’m striving for my own or are they things I’m being told I SHOULD want?
That’s a powerful question to answer honestly, and one we took a really hard look at a few years ago when we found ourselves feeling overworked, overwhelmed, constantly stressed out, and even a tinge of shame for not being as “successful” as our peers.
Oh, hello by the way! We’re Caroline and Jason Zook 👩🏻🦰👨🏻🦲👋, a husband and wife duo that runs this Wandering Aimfully website. We don’t always introduce ourselves mid-article but this one felt appropriate because this conversation about enough is soooo important to us. We wanted you to know who “us” was.
(This is a well-posed photo of us doing one of our favorite free activities in the world: staring out into the ocean – even though we don’t live in an ocean-front home because that would cost too much and would compromise our values of “enough.”)
It’s time to stop feeling overwhelmed and stressed out, and that starts by embracing the idea of enough.
The societal pressures are real. The perfect lives we see on social media are consuming our feeds. Taking huge risks and “going for it all” are things that are praised and applauded, even though the true outcomes of what those things lead to are rarely shared.
Let’s slow down and shift from more… to enough.
What Is The “Enough Mindset” And Why Should You Embrace It?
Plain and simple, the way we define the “enough mindset” is:
Clearly defining your own limitations in life and business that YOU feel confident, comfortable, and happy with.
Many years ago, I (Jason) wanted to own a $1,000,000 per year revenue-generating business. While I didn’t actually achieve that goal, I got fairly close ($600k) and it was the worst year of my entrepreneurial life. I had to hire employees. I had to spend every waking hour chasing after more customers. My business expenses went through the roof. I was working 14-16 hour days with zero time allocated for taking care of my physical or mental health. I ended up burned out, in debt, and miserable.
Are you in the same boat I was a few years ago, working yourself to the bone? If you’re reading this article and you feel like you’re burning the candle at both ends then the “enough mindset” is something we believe you need immediately.
Maybe you’re not like I was a few years ago BUT everything you see around you feels like too much? Everyone you follow on social media is going after super-ambitious goals. The people you work with or surround yourself with have huge ostentatious dreams. You feel tired just thinking about what it might take to be “successful.”
We’re not saying you shouldn’t have big dreams or big goals.
The key to the enough mindset is defining your upper limit.
We have big dreams and big goals (we’ll share more of those below) and we want you to have your own bucket list too. The key, though, is to have YOUR big dreams and YOUR big goals.
Just because having a business that makes $1,000,000 sounds cool doesn’t mean it’s right for your life and your situation. Just because living in a beachfront home looks luxurious doesn’t mean it’s a good plan for you and your family. Just because other people want to have a bunch of employees and be doing all the things doesn’t mean you need to follow in their footsteps.
One of the most common dreams we see in the online business space is “making $100,000 per month” or “having a 6-figure launch of a product.” The problem with these types of dreams or goals is that most often they aren’t accompanied by the big fat list of caveats:
- You will have to hire people to help you. (How do you find good people? How much do you pay them? Can you afford to pay them for years beyond one launch or one amazing month?)
- You will have to spend money to make money. (Do you have money to invest in the tools it takes to generate more money? Can you afford to spend money on paid ads? Have you looked at how your expenses will grow as revenue grows?)
- You will have to work more hours than you do now. (How many hours do you work now to make the money you currently make? Do you have enough time for friends and family now?)
- You will have to learn a lot more than you know now. (Do you like learning new things? Do new technical challenges scare you or excite you? When new things go wrong how do you handle them?)
That list of caveats could go on and on, yet when people sell you the dream of making a lot of money they don’t tell you all of those things; you wouldn’t buy their slick product or service if they did.
Nowadays we use the simple mantra “Grow Slow.” We DO want growth in our business revenue but not at break-neck speed and not at a pace we can’t control.
We hope you’re on the same page with us about the problem of more and ready to embrace enough. Let’s break down exactly how to do that…
How To Define Enough For Your Life And Your Business
Let’s get to the good stuff! Let’s dig into how to define your enough because enough is subjective to each and every person. Our enough may be wildly different from your enough, and that’s okay!
We don’t want this article to only focus on money but as well know money is a huge part of our lives. So let’s get the money convo out of the way and then we can move on to other things.
💰 Defining Enough: Start with your MMM Number and then establish your Enough Number
Your MMM Number is your Monthly Minimum Magic Number. This is the bare minimum amount of money you need to make ends meet for your current situation. Too often a baseline isn’t set when it comes to money and that’s why we all chase more, more, more of it. And trust us, we don’t want you to live off the minimum amount of money you need forever, but you have to START with that number.
The MMM Number formula:
- Minimum monthly living expenses
- + Minimum monthly business expenses
- + Paying off debt (monthly payments)
- + Peace of mind cushion (monthly savings)
- = Your MMM Number
You should be surprised at how low that number is compared to the bigger numbers you’ve been thinking about. Again, this number is great because it’s setting the minimum you know you need to live your life, provide for your family, pay down debt, etc.
Now that you have your MMM Number it’s time to establish your Enough Number. The super-important key to your Enough Number is to pick a realistic number you want to grow to based on your current MMM number. Think of your Enough Number like the next mountain you want to climb but one that doesn’t have a mountain after it. The second (enough) mountain is your ceiling. It’s your cap. It’s your line in the sand to avoid chasing more more more.
The Enough Number formula:
- Your MMM Number
- + Realistic monthly revenue growth in your business
- + Additional money you want to save/invest each month
- = Your Enough Number
What is YOUR Enough Number for your current situation? Is it less than you may have been shooting for these past months or years? It should be! And, establishing your Enough Number should feel empowering because it’s a number you can actually achieve based on your true goals and values.
IMPORTANT: If/when you hit your Enough Number, you can stop growing. You can slow way down. You can embrace the fact that you made it to the top of your (enough) mountain and didn’t sacrifice your sanity to get there. This is a beautiful place to be in life and we should all strive to feel this sense of “success.”
🖥 Defining Enough: What level of quality in your work is good enough?
When it comes to working, it’s very easy to slip into bad habits of overwork and perfectionism. It’s not uncommon to find yourself still working many hours past what you estimated you’d work. It’s also not uncommon to be toiling away trying to perfect every last piece of what you’re working on, only to realize you’re staying stuck in the details.
We are recovering (and 100% truth: sometimes still) perfectionists. We’ve been known to spend too much time on the smallest, most minute part of a project, then wonder why we missed our own deadlines. Over the years we’ve gotten much better at avoiding perfectionism and overworking by spending our working time in the “enough space” of work. This diagram Caroline created sums this up perfectly:
Low quality work won’t cut it. It should be obvious that we’re not advocating to publish/upload/launch/release crappy stuff.
Super high-quality work can be dangerous. Quality is VERY important to us but we also know it’s a slippery slope. One way we’ve learned to combat getting stuck focusing on super high-quality is to publish/upload/launch/release what we’re working on in a “good enough” state of completion. Then, let our customers tell us if we missed the mark somewhere.
It can feel weird to put work out into the world that you know isn’t as perfect as it could be. But, perfection is subjective, and if you’re the type of person that focuses on perfection, your good enough will absolutely get the job done.
⏳ Defining Enough: How much margin do you want in your life?
THIS. This is a very important part of the enough conversation. You can interchange the word “margin” with white space, free time, downtime, etc.
It’s rare that we actually plan for space in our lives. It’s rare that we prioritize having an abundance of time. Yet, isn’t all the time and energy we spend working for a goal of… not working in the future?
We like to ask ourselves this question often: What is it all for anyway?
- What are the countless working hours for?
- What is all the stress for?
- What is striving for some gigantic goal for if it leads you to have zero margins in your life for what actually matters?
Are you the type of person that needs a slower start to your day? Then you need to build morning margins into your schedule.
Are you the type of person that needs more savings? Then you need profit margin and minimizing expenses is huge for you.
Are you the type of person who gets overwhelmed easily and needs frequent breaks? That’s OKAY. That’s not a weakness. It simply means throughout your day you need to prioritize breaks, self-care moments, etc.
Margin and free time should not be luxuries we earn at the end of our lives. They are things we should build into our lives right now.
How We’re Using The Enough Mindset In Our Businesses And Lives
Now that we’ve gone through the idea of enough, our enough mindset, and helped you define what enough might look like in a few major aspects of your life, we want to share some changes we’ve made in our lives.
These enough mindset changes help keep us sane. They help us avoid perfectionism. They are values we hold to avoid the trappings of societal pressures.
We want enough money to live a comfortable life.
We don’t want all the problems that come along with trying to make more money. We don’t want money to control our decisions ever again. We don’t want the pursuit of making more money to be any kind of driving force in our lives again. We don’t want all the additional expenses that come with generating additional income.
We want enough money to know our bills are paid and that we’re building up our savings.
We want enough of an audience we can actually manage.
We’re not interested in being famous or amassing some huge following. I’ve (Jason) had an incredibly small slice of what that feels like, and it’s completely overwhelming. I remember having an insurmountable amount of emails (400-500 per day) to reply to, and it’s not fun—especially when you genuinely care about replying to people.
We don’t want so many social media followers that we can’t keep up with comments and DMs (we love those conversations and cherish them!) We don’t want so many email subscribers that we can’t reply to everyone who takes the time to write to us. We don’t want server-crushing traffic to this website, we want the RIGHT, manageable amount of people coming to our site.
We want to be able to reach enough people that we feel reachable in return to those people.
We want to go on adventures at our own pace.
We love simple adventures. We enjoy a short road trip. We look forward to tropical vacations that take a 2-hour flight and where going through customs is a breeze. We like one or two bigger, more meaningful trips every year that take us to a new destination. But you better believe we’re going to research the heck out of that place!
A few years ago we went to Iceland and saw just enough waterfalls. We didn’t try to cram in EVERY spot people told us we should see. We traveled on our own terms and loved (almost – that’s a story for another post) every minute of it!
One of our big goals in life is to live abroad for a year (or more). But, we aren’t going to be the type of travelers who live out of backpacks and are on the move every week. That’s too much for us. It would stress us the heck out. Instead, we’re going to pick one city per month and create a home base. We may take short trips here and there while in that city, but we’re not van-lifers and we’re not trying to become full-time nomads.
We want enough friends, but not too many.
There was a time when the number of friends we had mattered. It was a quantity game. A badge of honor to have so many names in your phone’s address book that multiple finger swipes didn’t even get you through the last name’s that started with “A.”
These days though, we don’t want to have to make tough decisions if two friends are having a momentous life event on the same weekend. We don’t want too many friends pulling us in too many directions, leading us to the guilt of having to say “no” (or worse, showing up for things we don’t actually want to be doing).
We want enough friends that we feel we can make an impact on their lives, and they on ours. We want enough friends that we can actually remember all their birthdays (even though we still forget because being a human is hard).
We want enough time, but not too much.
Our minds can be a swirling mess and we know we have to take breaks from our work. Yet, we know we’re not the type of people who can sit on a beach for two weeks and do nothing. One of us gets completely bored within the first 36 hours 👨🏻🦲.
We want enough time to enjoy the limitations of time. We like constraints and limitations on our time because it helps us feel empowered that we only have a certain amount of time to accomplish a task or launch a project. Having just enough time can make the time you have that much sweeter.
We want enough projects to keep our minds busy.
A few years ago we had too many active projects going on. We had too many self-imposed deadlines, customer groups, domains, and all the other things that come along with too much work. We spent six months talking to each other about paring down our projects and combining our separate business and audiences into one entity (Wandering Aimfully).
I (Jason) sold off three separate software projects I was working on. I had fallen into the trappings of more simply by chasing my own ideas and dreams. Our brains have no issues coming up with new ideas but our brains aren’t forward-thinking enough to know the trouble juggling too many projects can get us into. We’ve drawn our line in the sand for this current season of our lives and we’re running two projects only: Wandering Aimfully and Teachery. That’s it.
We still want to be learning and diversifying our skills but we want to do it at a slower pace than most people.
We want enough customers, but not too many that we have to hire people.
Some business owners take pride in immediately outsourcing things or hiring people to handle design, development and customer service. Especially when it comes to customer service, we want people to feel treated exactly how we’d want to be treated. We know the value of connection with our customers and how much it means to them to hear from us (and we like the same thing from the businesses, products, and services we pay for).
We want enough customers that we can always reply to questions. We want enough customers that we have the ability to not get overwhelmed when something goes wrong. We want enough customers so that when our competition keeps playing the game of more, we can stay right in our lane of enough.
We want enough people reading this to understand that when we say, “We’ve made it,” we’re not being arrogant or gloating.
We’ve worked really hard to get where we are in our lives right now. We’ve put in countless hours of hard work, both in business and in our relationship. We’ve dug deep to figure out what we really value in life and how not to get caught up in what society tells us we should value. We’ve had conversations with fellow entrepreneurs who go silent when we tell them, “We’ve made it”—both because we think they’re shocked to hear someone actually say that, and because their version of enough is measured by more, which has no end in sight.
We want enough people reading this to understand our definition of “making it” might be wildly different than yours as long as it is YOUR definition.
We Want You To Focus On Enough
More is a losing sum game. Once you get more, you only continue to want more. We’re pre-wired this way. Human beings instinctively collect more because thousands of years ago we had to if we wanted to survive. The things we have the ability to collect have changed, but our instinctual habits to collect things have not.
👉 It’s time to define your enough.
👉 It’s time to create more margin in your life instead of filling every moment with work.
👉 It’s time to embrace the fact that you may need way less (of everything) than you think you do to be happy.
It’s time to draw your line in the sand and realize you’ve been on a path that isn’t congruent with who you actually are or what you really want in your life.
We hope this article helps you make an important shift in your life, a shift away from constantly striving for more to striving for enough.