Do your thing. Make a great living. Change the world.
Simon Sinek urges us to Start with Why. In this episode, I share the purpose of my business – in the hope that you can use it as an example to model your own from. Video below, scroll for text if you prefer to read.
- What is a mission?
- My mission statement (and a bit about how I figured it out)
- What each piece means
What’s the mission of your business?
Strategic planning advice begins with having a mission, vision, purpose, values – all of which are defined differently depending on who you talk to!
I started going down a rabbit hole, searching for THE correct definition of mission – and I settled on these two questions:
- What is your organization’s purpose?
- Why does your organization exist?
Your mission can be deeply personal, but it doesn’t have to be unique.
A good mission is larger than you can possibly achieve on your own – part of having a mission is to find the others who are on the same or similar mission.
The mission/purpose of my business:
To help self-employed professionals Do Their Thing, Make a Good Living, Change the World.
A bit about my process to figure this out
Figuring out your purpose, your mission, your why isn’t a simple “checklist item” – it takes some deep thought and reflection – and some time.
It took me several years, a recent in-depth workshop and many many iterations to find these words.
At this moment in time, these feel Right – and – they may evolve in the future. Such is the work of gaining clarity around your purpose!
My single, succinct sentence bubbled up to the top after I first came up with a LOT of words and ideas!
At various times along the way, each of the elements in each category below felt like a distraction, a choice or the entire mission!
I found it really helpful to look at this as an AND process instead of an OR process. How can I encompass All of the Things under one roof? (Instead of trying to choose The One Thing.)
Once I got everything down on paper, I was able to organize them into the 3 categories below.
Do your thing
Your “thing” = the work you are born to do.
You might look at it as your purpose, your calling, your gift.
It’s your unique strengths, talents, experiences and your earned wisdom.
You ROCK at something. (Maybe more than one thing!)
It might be coaching or counselling or consulting or healing. It could be the way you design or code or keep projects on track. It could be an idea you want to bring to the world.
It’s the thing that lights you up, that gives you energy.
Being YOUR thing – you also want to do it your way – in alignment with your values, your preferences, your voice.
You don’t want to be a cookie-cutter clone of someone else.
I believe that we are all here for a purpose, that we have a role to play, that there is a YOU-shaped piece in the giant jigsaw puzzle of life.
Make a good living
We tend to hear a lot about 2 extremes: minimalism and materialistic abundance.
Travel the world on the cheap while running your business using the 47 items in a backpack that comprise all your worldly possessions.
Become an internet celebrity, make millions and live a life of luxury – endlessly snapping selfies in front of your expensive possessions.
In between the austerity of minimalism and the material excesses of “abundance” – lies a vast middle ground I’ll call enoughness.
Enoughness is a GOOD living. It’s comfortable. It’s enough to live a good life, to take good care of yourself and the ones you love.
Enoughness isn’t “scraping by.”
Enoughness gives you the power to vote with your wallet and make ethical choices that often cost more (organic, fair trade, etc.)
I think a good measure might be: it’s as much or more than you would make if you took the highest-paying job you’re qualified to do.
But, instead of giving your life energy to a corporation, you give it to your own business.
That’s my measure of enoughness.
Maybe yours is different.
It’s not up to me to define what a “good living” looks like to you. Enoughness is a subjective measure.
Some of my clients want an extra $20,000 or $30,000 per year. Others have stated goals in the millions. Most of them choose a number somewhere around the $80,000 -$100,000 mark.
Too often, we are faced with what looks like a choice: I either do My Thing OR I earn a good living.
I want to live in a world where doing your thing, playing your role, contributing your gifts is as well-compensated as being a cog in some corporation.
Change the world
This sounds like a tall order. I don’t mean by YOURSELF – that’s a heavy weight to carry on your shoulders!
I believe there are 2 ways that we, as individuals, can can do our small part to change the world through business. By what we do – and by how we do it.
What we do
This is contributing directly through your work with clients, delivering a service that makes the world a better place.
If you’re a counsellor, a coach, a wellness practitioner, an educator – you’re changing the world with every client you see.
You don’t have to be huge or famous to make a difference. There’s a ripple effect that happens when your clients go out into the world – changed – and impact the people around them.
I’d like to see a whole lot more respect directed toward the folks on the front lines who do deep work with individuals – instead of being disparaged for “trading time for money” and implored to “go big or go home.”
To riff off a quote from Derek Sivers: “If more motivational quotes, books, digital products and speeches were the answer, everyone would have a billion dollars and perfect abs.”
For every one celebrity writer/speaker who reaches an enormous audience at a superficial level, we need thousands of practitioners who work closely with individuals.
How we do it
So much of our culture and society is impacted by how we do business.
I believe we can change the world by doing business in a way that is honorable, respectful and in alignment with our personal values.
We can market with honesty, empathy and integrity – instead of using psychological manipulation.
I’d like to see small and successful businesses. Businesses that are more personal, more creative, more equitable.
Businesses that care about their social and environmental impact – instead of ONLY about the bottom line.
Instead of having the huge disparity we see in corporations – where a handful of people on the top are paid exorbitant amounts of money and the folks at the bottom are grudgingly given minimum wages (or their jobs are outsourced to save even more money) – I’d like to see more leveling in the middle.
In a big way or small…imagine if everyone used their life energy and talents and the best part of each and every day – to make the world a better place.
This is the world I’d like to live in – and that’s the mission my business is on: to help self-employed professionals Do Their Thing, Make a Good Living, Change the World.
If you’d like to share your purpose with me, I’d love to hear it.