A Business That Serves Your Life

2008 | Dec 3 in Home Page News , Leadership

By E-Myth Business Coach,

Are you one of those business owners who works and works and works all the time? Is your business the first thing you think about when you get up in the morning? Have you lost sight of the big picture? Can you even remember why you started your business in the first place?

Let us make one thing very clear: your business is not your life.
Rather, your business should be supporting your life.

If your business is to have any meaning beyond work, you must connect with what is most important to you. Your business should be making a healthy contribution to the realization of your dream. "What dream?" you may ask? Well the dream that started this adventure. The dream that drives all that you do. If you expect your business to contribute to your dream, your goal, your passion... and you're not clear about what that dream is, how can you possibly get there?

Your Primary Aim

In order for your business to be more than just another job for you, it is vitally important that you identify and articulate what we at E-Myth call your Primary Aim. Your Primary Aim is your innermost driving force. It gives you a sense of direction and purpose. It motivates you to your highest levels of energy, and puts you at your best. Your Primary Aim is about leading a life that is consistent with your core values and beliefs and it's the essential starting place for any business. Your Primary Aim is there, within you. But most of us simply haven't identified it.

Think about the greatest business owners in the world; those great people know how they got where they are and what they need to do to get where they're going. Those great leaders had a vision of what they wanted their lives to be like, and they lived that vision every day. They went to work on their lives, not just in their lives. Sound familiar? At E-Myth, we want to you go to work on your business, not just in your business.

We want you to start living your life intentionally, rather than randomly. How do you create your life actively? That is the multi-million dollar question that has an infinite range of answers. And it starts by looking at how you want to be in your life. It starts with looking at your Primary Aim.

Identifying Your Primary Aim

To identify your Primary Aim, start by forgetting about your business. This has nothing to do with your business. It's about your life and what you want that life to be like. Remember, your business is a means to support your Primary Aim.

Next, ask yourself some probing questions. Be sure to write down your answers and use those answers as a springboard to write more about the essence of your purpose in life. To help you get started, here are some questions that we use with our clients.

  • What do I want in my life? What don't I want in my life?
  • How do I want my life to be on a day-to-day basis?
  • What would I like to be doing two years from now? Ten years from now? Twenty years from now?
  • Of all the things in my life, what has given me the most satisfaction or pleasure?
  • What if I had everything I ever wanted; what would get me out of bed in the morning?

Remember, your Primary Aim isn't about material things, or other people. It's about life. Your life.

There is no such thing as a right or wrong Primary Aim, a good or a bad Primary Aim. There is only what is true for you.

Understanding your Primary Aim gives you the ability to live your life intentionally, rather than randomly. Understanding your Primary Aim gives you the ability to make conscious choices in your business and in your life. Choices that are consistent with what is most important to you. It helps you set your life's real priorities, and puts your business in its proper perspective.

If you're having difficulty with this exercise, we can help. Consider enrolling in one of our online programs or work one-on-one with an E-Myth Business Coach in our Mastery Impact!® program.

You may also want to consider attending one of our Leadership Intensive seminars. At this two-day event for business owners we show you how to arrive at your Primary Aim and help you fully develop your vision for your business through your Strategic Objective.

Further Reading

The E-Myth Revisited - Chapter 12  (Don't have a copy yet? Buy it here.)

The Habits of Entrepreneurial Work

10 Ways to Prepare for the New Year


  1. .Olayinka A. says:

    Every now and again, I come back to Emyth which I discovered over five years ago. This article is a good reminder of why I started the centre in the first place. For the last couple of weeks I have been looking at a way to scale down on the day to day running of the business after running the centre for fiffteen years. I need to get back to the reasons I started the centre in the beginning. Thank you for this article its a good reminder.

    Yinka Akindayomi

    Submitted Dec 5, 2008 11:43 AM

  2. .Christopher S. says:

    I have been going through Mastery Impact for 6 months now, I will submit this one item to all that read. As I did my work on "My Primary Aim" one question was asked that I would like to share. What is missing in your life?  I answered " a 3rd child."....Let me say not for long as we will see our new child in July. After I did the work on the worksheets I showed my wfe and could see a tear in her eyes as she saw into me what drives me and my life. Looking into myself and what I value and how I intend to live my life was a some of the best work in the Mastery Impact program.

    As Christmas approches, review what brings real value to our lives and share it with others. Look to the gift God has given us and live!!!

    Submitted Dec 7, 2008 5:57 PM

  3. .Debera V. says:

    Having a primary aim separate from the business vision has been a great tool for helping in difficult decision making.  We have 2 aims to fulfil - our personal primary aim of being in business and the aim of obtaining the business vision - if the result of the decision is in line with both these aims then its a no brainer!  Why wouldn't you choose to do something that fulfils both personal and business aims!

    Submitted Jan 16, 2009 2:38 AM

  4. .Devesh J. says:

    Clearity, that is the key.

    Have enough clearity about your life & business.

    J.Bernad Shaw said "answer hard questions & have and easy life, answer easy questions & have a hard life" so be prepared to answer some hard questions.

    Submitted Jul 22, 2009 6:25 PM

  5. .sujata t. says:

    Remember, your Primary Aim isn't about material things, or other people. It's about life. Your life.

    • What if I had everything I ever wanted; what would get me out of bed in the morning?

    well said... forced me to introspect and believe all over again in human goodness

    Submitted Sep 18, 2011 9:28 PM

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