Why do you do the job you do? Do you have a single, over-arching purpose that drives you every day? Something concrete you could clearly communicate to someone if they asked? If you find it hard enough finding ONE purpose, how would you feel if I told you I think there are actually TWO distinct purposes that should drive you and your business.
The Purpose of Self
First and foremost is the purpose for which you were put on this earth. I believe there is a reason you, specifically, are here. It’s something that could take you a life time to figure out, but the sooner you do, the sooner you will reach a level of satisfaction and contentment that transcends traditional worldly riches. There are some people in history I could name and their life purposes is easily identifiable. Dr. Martin Luther King. Mother Theresa. Abraham Lincoln. We can see the fruit of their life and know why they were here. You may feel like it’s not that easy for you to see or know yours. And you may be right. When you’re in the thick of your life, it’s not always easy to see what you’re meant to be doing. But there are some things you can look for which will give you clues. What are you naturally good at? What brings you joy? Where do you see yourself already making an impact in the world? What are your strengths? And by “strengths,” I mean how Marcus Buckingham describes it. What are those things that energize you. (I may be good at accounting, but I can wholeheartedly and unequivocally tell you it is NOT a “strength.” It sucks the living force out of me like Krypton does Superman.)
The other thing to keep in mind about the purpose of self is that, it doesn’t have to be BIG. Don’t feel like your purpose in life is unimportant just because it’s not changing the whole world. Sometimes all that is needed is to change the world of just one person. That simple purpose could have a ripple effect that does change the world.
The Purpose of Your Self-Employment (i.e. Your Business)
The other purpose in your life you should know is that of your business. This is something that for the success of your business is crucial to know. You can’t afford to wait a lifetime to figure it out. Why does your business exist? What is the single overriding mission that drives it? For my company Dare Dreamer Media, it’s to change people’s lives. To empower, encourage, entertain and inspire them to change their own lives. The majority of the jobs I take, the projects I start, even this blog, all flow out of that purpose. Even back when I primarily focused on wedding filmmaking, that was the purpose of my business. Only then it was to affect the lives of married couples.
The Power of Purpose
When you know what your purpose in life is, and when you know what the purpose of your business is, making decisions in life becomes much easier. You know what you can say “no” too. Apple CEO Steve Jobs is famous for saying that one of the defining elements of Apple is the things it says “no” to, much more than the things they say “yes” to.
Knowing your purpose also helps your team meet your objectives, and gives them a sense of accomplishment when they achieve things that meet that purpose. A perfect example in a microcosm is the 48 Hour Film Project I participated in last week. We as a team decided going into it that the primary purpose was not to win, but to enjoy and learn from the experience. That gave us a level of freedom while in the process. We were overwhelmingly successful to that end and have a film we’re proud of because of it.
If you haven’t already done so, take the time to write down the mission and purpose of your business. Develop a mission statement that is clear and concise. Then structure your business so that it is consistent with that mission.
Tomorrow I’ll delve into an exercise you can do to help hone your statement.
48 Hour Film Update
Speaking of our 48 Hour Film, it premiered last Saturday. I’m holding off on premiering it online until the time is right. Stay tuned…