It’s assumed that most entrepreneurs understand that they need to be able to communicate about their business in a compelling way. If people don’t understand it, they won’t buy it. But underlying that is a very important question about why you do what you do. Before I get into a really deep dive about the importance of purpose in the new economy, I thought it might be helpful to take a step back and examine what is driving us, as entrepreneurs, to do what we do. Once we’ve uncovered that, it’ll be so much easier to create compelling messaging about what we are offering to the world and have that messaging resonate with the right audience.
People often take action based on what they think they want, or what they think they need according to the opinions of others. Western society tells us we NEED X, Y, and Z to be happy and successful, so we do that, or we buy those things and then we still aren’t happy. What gives?
It occurred to me recently that so many people really aren’t in touch with what they want or why they want it, and that's not only about life in general, but often about their businesses as well. And that’s part of why their messaging is failing. Letting people around you know what you want to achieve is a key action that will contribute to your achieving it, but there’s really no point in even beginning to think about how to communicate about it until you figure out what IT is.
What we truly want has to come from within. And I speak of wants, I don’t mean basic needs at the bottom of Maslow’s hierarchy. Yes, you should “want” those too, but the wants I speak of here are higher up the pyramid. I’m talking about wanting the kinds of achievements that give our souls purpose – that give meaning to our life’s work. I believe, deep down, every one of us has this inside. My hunch is, if you are still reading, you have at least a curiosity to uncover yours if you haven’t already.
So, how do we uncover our deepest desires?
Here’s a simple process I’ve used in the past. Maybe it will work for you, too:
1. Go to a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed or distracted and take some long, slow, deep breaths.
2. Ask yourself what you really really really really (* yes, FOUR reallys ... please see below) want. Write down the first answer that comes to you.
3. Ask yourself what it would take to get that thing, or get to that place. Write it down.
4. Now, imagine that you’ve already achieved it. Build as realistic a picture as you possibly can in your mind. Ask yourself what it feels like, as though you’re already there. Where do you feel it in your body? (This is the part that is truly revealing. If it doesn’t make you feel awesome, then maybe you don’t really want it. Maybe it’s something else.) Keep going until you find what it is that truly moves you!
5. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. Whenever I find it, I know because I don’t feel resistance in my body anymore.
As a little inspiration, here’s a sneak peak at a very early draft version of the purpose statement I’m working on for HERE+NOW as a result of my own search for what I really want: “To help people break through barriers and allow them to consciously build culture in high-functioning organizations that create stability for everyone involved.” Now, that's way more complicated than I want for my official statement, but it’s a start. And now I’ll use that as the North Star to drive all my action … more on this soon.
I’d love to hear from you. What do you want most in this life? In your business? How do you know? What process did you use to uncover what it is?
*FOUR “reallys” thanks to the teachings of the late, great Wayne Dyer, who proposed that you need all four in order to manifest what you want:
Really #1: Wish (I wish I could … )
Really #2: Desire (As opposed to a wish, this is something you are willing to ask for out loud … either from God, the universe, or another human.)
Really #3: Intention (I will create this in my life. I will have this – eliminating any doubt for yourself.)
Really #4: Passion (Hardening of the will … eliminating anyone else outside of you telling you that you can’t. Keep the ego out of it and keep it between yourself and God, whatever God means to you.)