We spend a great chunk of our entire life in/at work. It’s safe to assume that every one of us who is professionally active seeks the “secrets” to professional growth and a fulfilling work-life, especially with regards to a startup business.
Yet there are times when we get stuck and our progress seem to be limited to a certain point.
And even when we do see financial growth in our business, it is sadly at the cost of our inner peace, spirituality, and family life.
It’s no surprise to see people doing well in terms of “money” but miserable in their relations, marriage, mental/physical health, and spirituality.
Many of us have a strange belief that “if I making more money I’ll feel more fulfilled and happy, and all my problems will go away” and yet we keep seeing and experiencing quite the opposite.
The problem does not lie in Money itself.
The problem lies in our “beliefs” and our “approach” towards money and business.
Some common beliefs about work in our society include:
- If you want to get ahead in any field/business, you have to become manipulative.
- You have to take advantage of people or people will take advantage of you.
- Everybody out there wants to rip you off.
- Honesty doesn’t pay bills.
- There are no truths or lies in business, you have to do what you have to do to “get things done”.
- Only people with bigger bank accounts, lavish homes, and fancy cars get respect.
- Everything happens with money alone.
These kind of beliefs are the toxic seeds that grow into a poisonous tree, reaping bitter fruits. This is why we see people end up financially well-off but become utterly toxic, bitter and angry.
This has a negative impact not only on individuals but society as a whole.
What is Barakah?
In Islam, the concept of barakah goes beyond mere material “quantity”.
Intellectuals have written extensively over this topic. Simply put, Barakah is a blessed state in which whatever you have becomes fully sufficient and deeply fulfilling for you.
Here are a few characteristics of living a life of barakah:
- When you are able to make the most out of your current blessings.
- When you are deeply at peace and content with your life.
- When you are always filled with a deep sense of gratitude towards God.
- When you are able to enjoy even the smallest details and blessings of life.
- When God puts unconditional love and respect for you in other people’s hearts regardless of your financial status.
- When your aura/energy is so positive, uplifting, and radiant that people want to be with you, not because of your “money” but because of who you are as a person.
- When life’s difficulties and challenges become a source of enlightenment and wisdom for you, and you are grateful for the lessons God taught you through those times.
Though it might seem from the above description that a life with barakah would a perfect, flawless life. That’s not true.
A person can have storms going on in their lives yet have inner peace, tranquility, deep faith, and connection to God. That is barakah.
What Is Lack Of Barakah?
On the other hand, the lack of barakah is people apparently accomplishing every worldly thing, yet have poor personal relations, surrounded by toxic people, and mental/emotional disharmony.
Their material and money failing to resolve their problems or give them inner peace.
People having to take pills to sleep has become a common occurrence. That’s Lack of barakah.
Lots of “Quantity”, but No Barakah…
So the question is, how can one have growth and barakah in their work-life?
How can we be fulfilled in our professional life in such a way that it makes us a better person in all other areas of life, instead of the opposite?
Below we are going to discuss in detail, 8 things that are “musts” in a thriving and fulfilling work-life:
1. Why You Do What You Do?
Everything starts off with an intention. It is the foundation of everything we do.
The quality and direction of our intentions determine what we experience and what outcomes we can reap.
Reflect over why are you doing what you’re doing? What is driving you?
Take a couple of minutes right now to ponder over it.
What did you come up with? Be honest with yourself and be brave enough to acknowledge whatever comes up in your mind.
Now, dive a bit deeper and notice the “real” driving factor behind what you’re doing. What emotion/feeling comes up when you think of it?
Often times we make up some goody-goody reasons in our mind regarding why we are doing what we are doing, while internally, in our hearts, we know the real root behind all this, don’t we? Dive into that.
What is this intention focused on?
Does it revolve around you?
Does it revolve around your family?
Does it revolve around circumstances or societal norms?
Does it revolve around proving something?
Does it revolve around some problems?
What if you take this intention beyond yourself, your circumstances, or societal norms and center it towards a much higher purpose?
How will that have an impact on the quality and scale of your work once you focus it towards something higher?
Think over it a bit, and see what comes up. Acknowledge it and take it as feedback. Be curious about it.
2. Keeping The Right Mindset (Purity Of Intentions)
The intention that we tell our self, is it really the primary intention?
Often times there are other hidden/subconscious reasons behind the things we do. Notice what they are. It might be something that we might be afraid to acknowledge.
Maybe we want to prove our value and worth.
Maybe we want to be accepted by people.
Maybe there’s a little hidden intention to prove someone wrong.
Maybe we’re too conscious about our status and place in the society and that’s what’s internally driving us.
Maybe we’re comparing ourselves to other people, and so we want to be better than them.
Maybe we’re doing it for family traditions and cultural values.
Maybe we’re trying to escape something that had been bothering us.
Maybe we are motivated by fear of poverty or getting left behind in society.
We just might be hiding these kinds of deeper intentions behind a blanket of some good purpose, but now we know what the actual matter is.
The real question is, can there be a higher purpose and intention for what you are doing?
What would that be?
One thing to keep in mind is that this higher purpose MUST be your driving force. It must be above and beyond mere personal gains. Something that motivates you, that excites you and at the same time gives you deep inner peace and contentment.
It should not be just a cover-up to make yourself feel good about yourself.
If you’re feeling that you’re pushing yourself out of mental comfort zone right now as you think deeper, just acknowledge what comes up in your heart and it will make things easier. It won’t hurt.
If you think that you are “perfect” and can never be wrong, then you can ignore it. No problem.
It is important that we continue to keep a check on our deeper intentions and keep directing them in the right direction.
Often we start off with a right and pure intention, but along the way it gets distorted. This is one of the major reasons why many people either get stuck along their journey or lose the balance and harmony of their lives.
3. Become a Spiritual Professional
A big mistake people usually make is that they separate spirituality and profession.
Spirituality (Connection with God, His teachings, and our own soul) is what makes us tap into our higher self.
When you connect with the teachings of God and His Prophet, you open doorways for the highest source of wisdom, guidance, and barakah.
When you combine spirituality with your profession, you will begin to operate with a higher purpose which will generate amazing drive and deep fulfillment.
It is very simple. If you want to tap into the treasures of the universe, make its Owner your friend.
Work according to His Laws, remember Him in your heart & mind and involve Him in your work.
4. Speak The TRUTH When You Market Your Work
A lot of people develop this belief that one cannot be fully honest in professional life.
The belief that one must say whatever they have to say to “get things done” and to convince people.
Many people who are in business do whatever it takes to make the people buy their product.
In marketing, many people over-exaggerate their products and services. Some will even lie about it.
Such people might think of themselves as too smart but they cannot outsmart the laws of the universe. They cannot outsmart God.
The reality is that they are only damaging their own progress and depriving themselves of barakah.
They might see temporary results in the short term but in the long run, they will experience consequences accordingly.
Honesty and integrity have been the most crucial values of all the successful people in the world.
It will build lasting professional relationships and you will be in alignment with the laws of God. Hence barakah will flow towards you naturally.
People would want to deal with you because they have experienced your honesty and truthfulness. They will feel secure and be at peace of mind while dealing with you. There will be no doubts in their minds about your words or intentions.
Just remember, if your actions and intentions are in alignment with the Laws of Allah, Allah will put love and respect for you in people’s hearts.
Allah will turn people’s hearts in your favor and they will be drawn to you naturally.
The Example of the Richest Companion
The famous Companion of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) Abdur Rahman Ibn Awf (RA) is known to be one of the richest Muslims to have ever lived.
One of his primary virtues in business was truthfulness.
If the thing that he sold had any defect in it, he made sure he told the buyer about it.
He would only sell things for what they were worth. Even when someone offered him more money than the actual value of the product, he would not accept it.
Once while Abdur Rahman Ibn Awf (RA) was away, his business partner sold a piece of cloth which had a small defect in it and he really forgot to tell the customer about it.
When Abdur Rahman Ibn Awf returned he asked his partner if he told the customer about the defect. Upon knowing that his partner didn’t, he became angry and very concerned.
He broke his business partnership then and there, and since he couldn’t find that customer, he gave away all of the earnings of that day to charity.
Needless to say, he was blessed with such barakah in his life that he went on from literally having nothing at one point to becoming one of the richest Muslims in history.
If you stick strongly to higher values, Allah will put trust and respect into people’s heart for you. Instead of you chasing money, Allah will make money chase you.
Remember, sell your products and services. Don’t sell away your spirituality.
5. Be Transparent. Do Not Portray Who You Are NOT.
A lot of people when they start their work, they try to portray themselves who they are actually not.
Many would portray themselves as some big organization or some established company while in reality, they would just be a couple of people who have just started off.
People can often see through us, just remember that. We cannot fake our image for too long.
Be honest about who you are, or just stay silent if you don’t want to tell. Don’t lie about your identity.
Don’t use words like “WE” or “US” if you are working alone. You don’t have to show people that you have a big team if you are working alone.
People will love you for your down-to-earth honesty and transparency.
Plus, you will feel in alignment with your true self rather than building up this fake bubble of this fake image that can burst at any moment.
Have confidence in yourself. You don’t have to be insecure if you are starting small. We all start somewhere.
We do not have to be some big-name to be successful.
If you are honest and transparent, and you keep focusing on improving the quality of your work every day, you will eventually earn the respect and the level of achievement your desire, God-Willing.
6. Stop Trying To Fit-in. Stop Trying To Be Accepted.
It is our tendency that we often try to fit-in and compare ourselves to other people who are doing similar things.
When we compare ourselves and our progress with other people we tend to copy them. We tend to do exactly what they are doing.
If you are going to do what everyone else is doing, how are you going to make your unique place in the market?
Develop your unique Identity. No matter which field you are in. If you don’t build your unique spot, you will disappear in the crowd.
What is your unique factor?
How can you serve in your field in a unique way?
What are your creative ideas that nobody has tried yet?
There is a point when we must STOP looking at what others are doing and come up with our own ideas.
Yes, it is okay to know what is happening and keep a watch at the market, but you do not have to do what everyone else is doing. It will not help you in the long run.
If you want to establish a good position in the marketplace, you must come up with your own unique ideas. Your own unique ways of working. Your own unique products and services.
Often organizations, companies, and individuals try to follow up with all the latest trends and try to get on the train.
In doing so, they miss out on the untouched opportunities and ideas as they are so busy trying to catch up with everybody else.
Those who choose their own unique way are the ones who utilize those unique opportunities that lie sitting there for someone to grab.
But because so many of us are busy competing with others and keeping an eye on them on social networks and market places, we are unable to see our opportunities.
Those creative ideas that would have created something unique and brand new may never manifest.
Why Do Most Initiatives Fail?
Nowadays, it’s pretty common to see people initiating new projects that usually die within a couple of months.
One of the biggest reason many initiatives and startups die in their initial stages or hit a plateau in their growth is that they were not centered around a “deeper purpose” backed-up by a creative idea and the right “strategy”.
Upon close observation, it is often found that the primary driver of such individuals or companies was either to fit-in, to prove something to the world or just plain monetary gains.
Such shallow purposes don’t go too far.
The way you make your unique place is primarily to have a deep intention of serving and contribution.
To provide extraordinary solutions through products and services that are focused on solving something for your target audience/customer.
7. Stop Being Needy. Work On Increasing Your Value Instead.
Whether it’s a product or a service that we’re selling, many of us try to convince others that we are worthy of their time and money.
One of the keys to remember is that you don’t go running behind people.
You must work in such a way that people should want to come to you.
How can you do that?
How can you make people want to come to you and not go somewhere else?
The answer is very simple. Increase your worth and increase the value you put into people’s lives.
Work constantly on educating yourself i.e. intellectual growth.
Work on personal development i.e. Who you are as a person.
Work on the quality of your work.
Work on taking your work to the next level.
When you add an extraordinary level of value to people’s lives, people would naturally want to come to you.
Stand out of the crowd by making yourself and your work exceptional.
When you go running behind people begging them to invest in your product or service, you usually put yourself in a weak position.
The quality of who you are as a person and the quality of your work speaks for itself.
Become the kind of person who people would prefer over anyone else. That is a position of power.
If we look into the lives of highly successful and in-demand people/companies, we will find some common patterns that they all have. Some of them are:
- They are constantly learning and growing in many different areas.
- They are constantly pushing themselves out of comfort zone and expanding their boundaries.
- They are working on learning something new every single day.
- They are exploring new areas of knowledge which they haven’t before.
- They are constantly opening themselves up to new ideas and pushing themselves to think outside the box.
- They are constantly challenging themselves to grow in several areas of life.
This is the key to ultimate creativity and growth. These are the qualities that increase a person’s or company’s value exponentially.
The One Thing You Must Focus On Daily!
A lot of us focus too much on getting people to invest their time and money on us while never really focusing on how much value can you add in return of their investment.
When you contribute extraordinary value to people’s lives, people will naturally want to invest their time and money with you.
So instead of focusing on how much bucks can you make, focus on how much value can you add to people’s lives.
If you are honest, sincere, and smart, money is going to follow you naturally. You won’t have to run behind it.
A great question to constantly ask yourself is,
“How can I serve and add more value into people’s lives through my work?”
Write this question down and put it in a place where you’ll see it regularly.
As you focus on this question, you’ll notice how it changes your entire mindset and your approach towards your profession.
As you ponder and reflect over it for the next several days, you might also notice that this opens up new windows of creative and out-of-the-box ideas, and that is what might make you extraordinary and unique.
8. Give Your People Respect And Generous Treatment
One of the most important things if you are in a leadership position and you have people working under you is to Respect your people and pay them fairly on time.
Be generous while deciding their pay. A little bit of kindness and generosity goes a long way.
Also, make sure they grow along with you. If you are financially growing in your work, make sure they do too.
If you are increasing their workload and responsibilities, make sure you give them the deserving increment.
One of the biggest reasons of toxicity in the employer-employee relationship is the fact that the employees don’t feel they are getting what they deserve.
They feel that the employer is getting more work out of them then what is being paid.
Don’t let your employees feel that they are being taken advantage of, that they are being paid less and forced to do more.
Reward People For Their Sincerity And Hard Work
People tend to think that they are being treated unfairly when they are not appreciated for their extra work.
Make sure people under you are rewarded for their extra work.
The reward does not always have to be in the form of money. A few kind words of acknowledgment and appreciation can make someone’s day and greatly improve your relationship with them.
Be generous in your praise, where needed.
Don’t hold back your appreciation if you think someone is putting extra effort and is working sincerely. Your people will love you for this.
If you want loyalty from your people, this is the way to go.
Don’t use them. Carry them, and they’ll carry you.
Instead of making people work for you, make them work with you.
Work with them. instead of just giving orders and instructions.
Be respectful of them. Respect them as individuals.
They are Not machines. They have their own problems and challenges. They have their own families.
Just keep that in mind and be considerate.
In the name of “work” and “professionalism”, a lot of people become cold and inconsiderate towards their employees. Disregarding that they too are humans who are not perfect.
This does Not mean that you should empathize with them all the time.
Just keep this thing in mind that they deserve respect no matter which position there are in.
9. Deliver More Than Is Expected
Do you want people to return to you again and again?
Do you want people to become not just your customers but your fans?
If you want people to recommend your work, your products, your services to other people?
Then learn to deliver more than what your customer/client/audience expects.
Go the Extra Mile and deliver more than is expected.
A lot of people spend too much time and resources trying to market themselves but when comes the time of delivery, they under-deliver.
Instead, make it a point to always deliver more than what you are marketing.
We often see organizations and companies creating tons of hype. Making fancy ads and coming soon campaigns. Creating fancy promotional videos, posters, and advertisements.
But when it is the time to deliver, it is far from what was advertised.
We all have seen such products/services/organizations flop and fail miserably because they put too much effort on increasing people’s expectation which eventually turns into disappointment because of underwhelming delivery and lack of quality of work.
Instead of focusing huge chunks of time and energy in marketing, the first focus must be creating an extraordinary quality of product, service or skill.
Your primary focus should be the quality of your substance.
The Best Marketing Method
Remember, the best marketing is “word of mouth”. People referring other people.
That is only possible when you add immense value to people’s lives and you amaze them by delivering more value than they expect.
Focus most of your efforts on how can you increase the quality of your work and skill to extraordinary levels.
Start by asking yourself another simple question,
“How can I deliver better than anyone else? How can I add more value towards my clients/customers/audience than anyone else?”
Often times we tend to forget and overlook the basic laws of life in our busy routines.
It is sensible to take some time off, rethink and re-evaluate our life and progress.
Repetition is the mother of skill. Bookmark this guide and keep coming back to it time and again. We all need reminders from time to time.
I hope you got and will continue to get lasting value from this guide.
I hope you got more than you expected.
I wish you all the success and happiness in all areas of life.
Till another day, another guide.