More Than Money: Understanding Why You Do The Work You Do
- Posted by Alaia Williams
- On October 9, 2018
What do super-successful small business owners all have in common?
It’s not experience.
It’s not extraordinary skills.
It’s not even a powerful drive.
Although all of these things can definitely help your business grow, they’re not a prerequisite for success. After all, no one is born with experience or skills, and plenty of successful people lack drive.
The one thing that does make a difference, though, is your “why.”
Why did you decide to become a coach? What made you want to become a personal trainer? What motivated you to open a boutique in an age when people are increasingly shopping online?
Why do you spend so many hours in front of your computer every week?
Why do you stay up too late and get up too early, just so you can work on growing your business?
The “why” is what ultimately drives us to success, but here’s the thing: it’s different for everyone. Your why is not my why, and my why is not her why. It’s a deeply personal choice that can have great meaning…or not.
For example, a survivor of domestic abuse might happily spend 60 or 70 hours each and every week mentoring other victims of abuse, or counseling couples on how to break the cycle. Her big why is a strong desire to prevent other women from suffering in the same way she did.
A mother of small children may be saddened at the thought of sending her kids to daycare just so she can go to work to (barely) pay for it. Her big why is a drive to spend as much time with her kids as she can, while still supporting her family.
A young, fresh out of school entrepreneur might resist taking the same path his parents took, working for a corporation for 40 years, only to retire and find themselves with barely enough to live on. Instead, he dreams of having the income (and the time) to see the world while he’s still young enough to enjoy it.
So what’s your big “why?” It might be the freedom to travel, the option to spend time with your family, the ability to take weeks off at a time to care for a sick family member, or even to earn enough money to support a charity that’s close to your heart. Suggested read: Start with Why
Whatever it is, your “why” is the driving force behind every action you take. When you’re deciding whether or not to take on a new client, ask yourself if it’s aligned with your “why.” When you’re setting goals for the year, ask yourself if those goals are moving you closer or further from your big why. Thinking of branching out into a new business venture? Make sure it’s in alignment with your big why, and success is suddenly much more attainable. Suggested workbook: Goal Planning Guide
Without understanding your “why” it can be incredibly hard to deal with the roller coaster ride that is small business ownership. For most people, success doesn't come overnight. If you're in it – really in it – you're in it for the long haul. Your “why” is your guiding star.