Your “Why”

Many people would love to be able to quit their job, and work for themselves.  It’s a scary notion, but an exciting one, if you decide to take that jump to become an entrepreneur.  Most people are stopped by fear.  Time, money, and lack of knowledge all come into play.

I’ve recently been reading The Art of the Start by Guy Kawasaki.  It was a book that was assigned to me in one of my college business classes, but as a mom, and a full-time student, I wasn’t exactly a thorough reader.  I was in survival mode.  As I have been re-reading it, I have found so many fantastic things to share.  I’ll probably be basing several posts on some of my favorite parts, but I would encourage you to read it as well.  If you want to learn about starting a business, or really any venture, it’s a gold mine of information.

Pretend you are at the end of your life.  You will soon be gone, and you wonder if you made any difference in the world.  As an individual, did you accomplish anything?  Did you improve yourself, or were you just here for no apparent reason?  What did you do to better yourself, and the people around you?

Think about how long you have been alive.  If you died tomorrow, would you be satisfied with the efforts that you made?

You will make many choices in your life.  Sometimes your choices will help you, and sometimes the choices you make will only hurt.  Why did you choose the way you did?

When it comes to starting a new venture of any kind, Kawasaki says you really only need to ask yourself one question.  It is similar to the concept of “why”, but has a key difference.

“Do I want to make meaning?”

Meaning is not about power or money.  It’s not even about impressing all of your neighbors, or those old classmates at your high school reunion.  He goes on to list some examples:

-Make the world a better place

-Increase the quality of life

-Right a terrible wrong

-Prevent the end of something good

While having this large world view is fantastic advice for a business, I would like to focus on individuals here.  I enjoy covering business topics, but would like to keep my overall focus on individuals, so I would add these.  Here are some other questions you could ask yourself in order to decipher if what you are starting has meaning:

Am I becoming a better friend?

Is this helping me to become a better leader?

Am I learning a new skill?

Am I serving others?

Will this improve my quality of life?

Will this improve my family’s quality of life?

How does this help me to become a better person?

In many network marketing companies, the people involved are often encouraged to find their “why”.  What this means, is that in order to continue to motivate themselves, they need to have a reason for doing hard things.  For many people it’s money.  They want a fancy house, a car, or an exotic vacation.  The point is to keep that “why” in your head when you have to step out of your comfort zone.  That’s fine if money motivates you enough to get things done, but for me, that has not been the case.  I need better motivation in order to step out of my comfort zone.

Making meaning is the most powerful motivator there is.  Whether you are starting a business, a charity organization, or simply working toward an individual goal, it is crucial to have the proper motivation, so when you hit hard spots, you can get through them.

Keep in mind, your motivation has to match your goal.  If you are starting a business, and only worried about your own quality of life, it will not be enough.  You need to think larger, and stick to the examples that Kawasaki gives.  If you are trying to lose weight, improving your quality of life could be a great motivator.

The next step is to make a mantra.  Kawasaki specifically talks about business, but individuals can benefit from a mantra just as well as a business.  A mantra is your “why”.  It is not something long, that you have to write down.  It is generally very short.  In a large business, it helps employees and employers to be unified in their motivation and goals.  It needs to be something that is easy to remember, and can be repeated.  Here are some examples that he gives:

Authentic athletic performance (Nike)

Fun family entertainment (Disney)

Rewarding everyday moments (Starbucks)

Think (IBM)

We can easily apply a mantra into our own lives, whether we are starting a business or not.

I mentioned before that one of my goals is to keep a cleaner house.  In that scenario, it could be something like

Clean home: Happy family

My goal is to have peace in my home, and for my family to be as happy as possible.  It’s short enough to remember, and it’s something to remind myself, when I am tired and I don’t want to clean my kitchen.

Once you have a goal, and the proper motivation, the only thing left to do, is to get started.  So what are you doing here?  Get off the computer, phone, or tablet, and get started on making meaning in your life.



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