This is a guest article by #1 bestselling co-author of “Unbreakable Spirit” with Lisa Nichols and owner of SheVelocity.com, Corinna Rogers:
So you’re starting a business. The path will be many things; wonderful, exhilarating, terrifying, challenging, thrilling, all-absorbing. Wow. You are sailing along, full of enthusiasm, ideas, and energy one moment… and then it happens. Things seem to get hard. There is more to do, more to learn, more to decide. There is a never ending supply of demands on your time, energy and resources. Don’t panic. This happens to all entrepreneurs. What gets you through it is your WHY.
Why are you working on this, why are you banging your head against the wall, why do you keep moving forward when others are encouraging you back to their version of the status quo? Just Why?
“He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.” ~ Nietzsche
There are only a few things every business must have. Customers, something to sell, and business owner with a WHY. The really good entrepreneurs know this and create systems and support structures to constantly remind them of their one big reason for doing it all.
When you have a WHY that you are passionate about and inspired by you can find a way to accomplish anything. Even in very difficult moments if you have an uncompromising purpose, you will persevere.
Most people have some high level notion of why they want to start business, and why a certain kind of business. Why do you want it? Sometimes the top of mind response to this is not the real key… it’s not the steel core of your Why. Here’s an example from my own life to explain.
Some of the most formative experiences from my childhood came from my extremely irregular Girl Scouting experience. I was a scout for years; first grade clear on up through high school. In the fifth grade our troop basically hijacked the controls from our leaders and took over our own destiny. We decided that all we wanted to do was travel. Being fifth graders we didn’t have a lot of money so we became mini-entrepreneurs. We decided to bail on the cookie sales thing. The margins on each box of cookies just could not support our weekend trips. We branched out. We baked and sold home cooked meals. We sewed and raffled off quilts. We washed cars. We prepared and marketed Christmas breads for people to give to their neighbors. We ran around town putting advertising flyers on cars. We brought in experts who taught us to make eggrolls. We sold the heck out of those eggrolls. I’m talking hundreds and hundreds of eggrolls. We even subcontracted a man to make tamales for us to sell. You name it we tried it. If the margin was good and it would pay for our travels we would do it. We traveled all over the states and even internationally. It was great!
I share this story to make the following point. If you asked any girl in our troop why she wanted to do all this extra fundraising, she would reply with one singular answer: To travel. And yet, at the core of it, every one of us had a very different WHY. One wanted to travel for the cultural learning. One wanted the camaraderie she experienced in the group. One was motivated by a burning desire to get away from her kid sister every weekend. One just took pride in all we had accomplished to earn the money. Each girl had a different reason for why our actions were important.
The travel was just a “nice to have”. The WHY for each of us is what drove us to participate, to sacrifice time, to work hard. The WHY assured that we would do whatever it took. The travel was really only a tangible outcome from of our own internal WHY.
Each person has to figure out what their own WHY is. You will have to do so as well. It can be a very simple process, or it may be more involved. I have included one exercise here to get you started.
Review all of the values included in the image above. Feel free to include others I may have missed. Which are most important to you? Pick ten which really strike a chord in you.
Write them down in a list. Now start at the bottom two items. Ask yourself the following question. If I could only have one of these two things in my life which would I choose? You can absolutely have only one of the two.
For example you might have a list which includes:
If you could only have one, would you rather have Wisdom or Creativity? Hmmm. Say you chose Wisdom. Move Wisdom up the list, above Creativity.
If you could only have one, would you choose Wisdom or Health? Say you still chose wisdom. Each time move your top choice above the other and move on to the next comparison up. Now your list would look like this.
Once Wisdom is not your top choice it will stop at that point in the list. Now start again from the bottom two values in the list. If you could have only one, would you choose Creativity or Health? Swap if necessary… and so on. Eventually you will have an ordered list of the top values which are important to you.
The top two or three of these are likely to be well rooted in your WHY.
I hope this article inspired you to consider exactly what your WHY is. Once you know WHY you can cement reminders into your life which will keep you focused, confident and in motion towards accomplishing your goals.
Corinna Rogers, a best-selling author, speaker, and strategist, is the founder and CEO of She Velocity (SheVelocity.com) During her years consulting in the IT industry, Corinna was often the only woman at the executive table. This experience fueled her desire to help young women advance more rapidly in their chosen profession. Her experiences taught her that women need more focused professional development and skills. Corinna connects next-generation women leaders with insights, inspiration, and connections to accelerate their professional careers.
Photo credit: Pinterest.com