I recently was listening to a podcast that featured Lolly Daskal, author of The Leadership Gap. She was talking about in this age of everyone asking “what’s your why?” that she thought it made more sense to ask “who are you?” You can check out The Leadership Gap here. This was an ah-ha moment for me. Why? Because I have never quiet understood the “what’s your why?” question that seems to be the buzzword of today. I have had coaches work with me and ask, what’s your why? I would always think, I have no clue! Why do I need a why? It’s never been about why for me. It’s about who I am.
When I started my business it was born of a deep searching inside of me. I didn’t look at what others were doing. I focused on what was I about. This searching didn’t immediately lead me to start a business. I spent four months asking God to show me what he wanted me to be doing. That was my most important question. Not why was I here. I wasn’t looking for my purpose. I was looking for God to lead me where he wanted me to go. For the first time in my life, I truly wanted to do what he wanted me to do. So much so that when I kept hearing this little whisper in my soul that said I should start a business, I fought it. Why? Because I didn’t want this to be about me but God did. You see it was about growing me, changing me and refining my character. He knew he would use this to shape me. He knows I am no where near perfect but he has used my business to grow me in two years more than I ever grew in the 43 years before. I meet amazing people and I get opportunities to do things I never could have imagined I would get to do when I was younger. When I was little, I always wanted to be a teacher. I loved it. My sister and I played school for hours every day. But when I got older I decided to work in accounting. Numbers spoke to me but the desire to teach has always been there. Now I get to do both!
I feel blessed to be able to do what I love. He knew my talents because he gave them to me and he wanted me to use them to serve others. Yes, I said serve others. Isn’t that what we really do in business? If you really are focused on customer service then you are serving others. My vision for my business was that I wanted to help small businesses and nonprofits thrive. That is a tall order. Sometimes I fail because let’s face it, it happens. But I learn, I am challenged and I get back up and try again. This business exposes my flaws, challenges me, and grows me in ways I never dreamed. For the first time in my life I am not bored with my work. Most days I get up excited to see what the day will bring and when I don’t, I know it is because I need to go back to who I am as I have forgotten what brought me here.
As business owners it is easy to lose your focus. Business moves fast and furious and some days it is all you can do to hang on for the ride. It can be overwhelming, scary and even depressing at times. When I find myself feeling any of these things, I know I have lost my focus. No matter how busy I am I have to stop and ask myself, what are you doing? To who do you belong? I have to circle back. Many times I find I need to let some things go. Sometimes the season has passed on something but we still hold tight to it. Letting go and moving forward can be the kindest thing we can do for ourselves. Then we refocus and get back to where we belong.
So for me, business isn’t about my “why” but “who I am”. What did you start your business? Maybe you have a “why” or maybe you are like me and it is about “who you are”. I always love to hear how others came to that decision. Share your story with me and let’s encourage each other today.