Burger flipping, life energy and starting with why

Simon Sinek suggests that we Start with Why.

In today’s episode, I share a story that explains part of my “why” for this business.

Watch the (surprisingly short) video below or scroll down for the even more succinct written version.

About 15 years ago, I was living the dream. In terms of work, I had “made it.”

I worked with amazing, super-smart colleagues that I LIKED. Our small team truly had synergy: by working together, we achieved things we could never achieve as individuals.

My contributions – both my programming skills and my IDEAS – were recognized and appreciated.

woman at computer

I get to write code, use my ideas, make good money…and NEVER have to talk on the phone

We were doing cutting edge work in the new field of e-learning – working with technology to create something that had the power to change the world.

With a long term contract, I had the steady income benefit of full-time employment combined with full freedom to work from home and set my own hours.

Oh…and the money was great. I was earning about 3 times as much as I had ever earned in my life.

After years of scraping by, living at or below the poverty line – my husband and I actually had money left over at the end of each month. Woo hoo!

The only problem? I wasn’t happy.

Is this all there is?

I sat on the couch each evening with my husband, watching re-runs of the Simpsons and drinking wine…asking: “Is this all there is?”

One day I was having lunch with one of those smart colleagues and I confessed my lack of satisfaction.

After listening to me complain about a life that other people dream of having, she recommended a book called Your Money or Your Life.

sad woman drinking wine

mmmm life energy

Within those pages was my answer.

Money = Life energy

The authors make the connection between the money we have and the energy we exchange for it.

If you earn $20 per hour at your job, then $20 represents 1 hour of “life energy” – this means that when you buy that $5 latte, you are actually trading 15 minutes of life energy for it.

I’m not all that materialistic, so this part didn’t have much effect on me – although it definitely put some of our impulse purchases – like the sofa we didn’t sit on or that time share we didn’t use in a new light.

(And it was *ahem* sobering to consider how much life energy I needed to expend to buy the wine I felt compelled to drink every night.)

The bigger impact on me came from looking at how I earned my money.

When you work, you give your life energy to further the goals of the company

a cartoon poo protesting poo

I don’t want to use my life energy to support shitty businesses

This realization hit me like a ton of frozen french fries.

The fun project with the cutting-edge technology we were developing was being funded by a burger chain.

Yup. I was developing really cool software to teach virtual burger-flipping. (I couldn’t make this up if I tried.)

Nothing. And I mean nothing about the fast food business aligns with my values.

From the excess packaging to the unhealthy food to advertising to children to minimum wage jobs – and especially for pescetarian me who loves animals: the reliance on factory farming.

I was directing my skills, my talents, my energy (my LIFE energy) towards a business that fully opposed my values.

In effect, I was doing my small part to make the world a worse place to live.

This is one of the reasons (perhaps the BIGGEST reason) why I do what I do now.

[click_to_tweet tweet=”When you go to work, you give your life energy to further the goals of the company.” quote=”When you go to work, you give your life energy to further the goals of the company.”]

I want to direct my life energy towards something that matters

woman daydreaming

Let’s make the world a better place!

I think this world needs more coaches, more counsellors and more wellness practitioners. We need more freelancers who choose to direct their creativity and talents towards projects that matter. We need more writers, more speakers and more teachers. We need more local, green, sustainable businesses.

I studied to become a trainer, a counsellor and a life coach – and none of those are a good fit for my particular mix of skills and interests.

For whatever divine reason, my passion lies at the intersection of business and personal growth – with a weird attraction to the sales and marketing side of things.

I’m choosing to use these skills and my life energy to support the people who are doing the change work on the front lines.

The world needs more change-makers and I’m here to do my part in helping them succeed.