Do you remember why you left your comfortable job to start your own business?
You must have had a good reason, because nobody hops on the entrepreneurial roller coaster for kicks. It’s tough, it’s a grind and it isn’t for the fainthearted.
In my own experience (after setting up multiple seven-figure businesses), and after working with dozens of other successful entrepreneurs, I’ve found one of the biggest factors why people create a new business is because of their need for significance.
You have a desire to feel significant to yourself.
You want to feel significant to those you love.
You care about what strangers think of you, and you want to be significant to them.
Significance is a double-edged sword.
On the one hand it’s powerful, driving you to innovate and do what nobody else will. It’s a fundamental part of building something great, because if you feel significant (and you’re doing something significant), you push the boundaries and go “all in.”
The truth is, a lot of what we create as entrepreneurs is to make ourselves feel significant. We create content, build products and commit to new projects not because it provides genuine significance to others, but rather it helps us feel more significant within.
This is your ego, and it’s the dark side of significance that prevents you from moving to the next level. The problem is, we cannot escape the importance of significance, because it’s something each person needs.
Significance is one of the six human needs.
As a human being, you need significance. Tony Robbins talks about how we each need to meet six core needs in order to build a meaningful life of happiness and abundance:
Certainty: assurances to help you avoid pain and other dangers
Uncertainty/variety: your need for new, fresh challenges
Significance: your need to feel unique, special and important
Connection/love: your need to feel loved, and be part of a community
Growth: your drive to progress and continue to get bigger and better
Contribution: your need to feel like you’re helping other people, and contributing to society
In business and life, you need to cater to these six aspects before you can feel happy and content. Whether you agree with all six of these doesn’t matter, as the point is that significance is an important human trait.
It has the power to drive you toward creating something special. Yet, when you lack it, you spiral into a state of depression and lose control over what you’re building. This is why it’s a double-edged sword, and why it’s capable of both making and breaking your business.
The thing is …
It isn’t about control — it’s about letting go.
Many entrepreneurs (you may be one of them) left their job to create a business because they hated the idea of not feeling significant. Your drive toward significance literally drove you into entrepreneurship, because with your own business you feel important and in control.
You end up doing things that 99 percent of the population are unwilling to do, all because you’re desperate to feel significant. Again, this isn’t bad, as this is where the magic begins. But, the point isn’t to be or feel in control. In fact, true success and growth happens when you let go.
At a certain point, you need to accept that your business isn’t about feeding your own significance. It’s about having an impact on the world, and providing greater significance to those you serve.
You need to delegate and let go of a lot of tasks.
You need to fire yourself from certain parts of your business, and hire others to take over.
You need to let go of being an entrepreneur, and embrace the idea of becoming a CEO.
You need to let go of your business and accept that it’s no longer about you.
Related: To Survive, Sometimes You Have to Let Go of Your Vision — and Ego
Your business is no longer about you.
Significance often drives your initial success, because in the beginning it’s this that drives you to hustle, take risks, push out of your comfort zone and believe in what you’re doing when everyone else thinks you’re insane.
But, there comes a time when your significance gets in the way of you achieving what you can. You cling to control and refuse to let go, not because other people are unwilling or incapable, but because you’re afraid you’ll no longer feel important, worthy or significant.
Read More: Entrepreneur