Goal Mindset

Ellen Long on balancing ambition and happiness

As co-founder of The BraveHeart Business, mentor at tekMountain, and financial adviser at Long Family Office Inc., ELLEN LONG uses her expertise to guide others on the entrepreneurial spirit as well as how to find true happiness while maintaining life and business ambitions.

When it comes to refining entrepreneurial skills, Long says people should focus on skills needed right now to take their business to the next level.

“Entrepreneurs often get lost in the future they envision and try to work on things too far in the future; it’s important to learn what you need now to grow and overcome today’s challenges, not the decade ahead you envision,” Long says.

In 2016, Long was selected to present a talk at TEDxAirlie on finding minimum viable happiness.

Today, she provides advice on the mindset needed for achieving and balancing goals.

WILMA: How can people go after ambitious business/work goals without it overcoming everything else in their lives?

Long: “You need a vision for your life that is greater than your business or your goals. Why do you want to reach those goals in the first place? How will it enhance your life, your family’s life, and your customers’ lives?

Entrepreneurs and business people get lost when they forget the purpose of their goals and why they wanted to reach them. You can build a successful business ‘for your family’ and end up divorced, with estranged children. As always, keep the main thing the main thing! If you are constantly feeling overwhelmed, it probably means you need to reprioritize. If you’ve created a life that isn’t bringing you joy, then change it.”

WILMA: How should people deal with defeat or goals not met?

Long: “Three ways:

First, by seeing it as an experiment. What did you learn? What worked? What didn’t work? In business, if you aren’t failing regularly, you probably aren’t doing enough experiments! Once you realize what worked and what didn’t, do more of what worked, less of what didn’t. Improvise, change, and try again.

Second, by celebrating the success in your defeat! If your goal was to run a marathon and you only made it twenty miles, celebrate how far you’ve come. If you’ve failed at something, it means you took a risk, you gave it your best shot, you learned your lesson, and you grew as a person through it. What a wonderful life!

Third, by never tying your personal worth to the result. Too many people think that if they fail, they are a failure. I say this emphatically: That is NEVER the case. Your worth has nothing to do with your goals; your worth is inherent in you already. And, always remember: Life is a process, not a result. If you can enjoy the journey, the results are just icing on the cake.”

WILMA: What are some of your tips for finding balance between business/work life and other endeavors?

Long: “You don’t have to do it all now. You have time. The biggest lie that ambitious people believe is if they don’t do it now, they’ll never be able to do it again in the future. Choose the things that are most important to you right now and focus on them. Once they are taken care of, fill your life with the rest! Trust that just because you can’t do it now, doesn’t mean you’ll never do it. Put it on the list and do it when you’re ready for it to become a top priority.”

WILMA: You did a TEDxAirlie talk about happiness, what are some of your key takeaways about happiness and how to achieve it?


  • Realize your worth isn’t dependent on your success or your failure.
  • Live your life for more than just yourself.
  • Create your own definition of a successful life and chase it!
  • Surround yourself with people that grow you, challenge you, and love you for who you are and do the same for them.
  • Give back, always.

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Categories: Women to Watch