About five and a half years ago I quit my safe, secure, and comfortable job as a IT advisor to embark on this crazy, roller coaster ride of an entrepreneurial journey.
It was an extremely tough decision; I’d worked in the IT consultancy industry for approximately 10 years up to that point and was very used to my life, but I felt trapped… like there was something missing… something more for me to do.
It started when I ventured into a business partnership with a friend of mine. It was an IT professional training company. However, it doesn’t work out like rest of the first startup from a newbies entrepreneur.
Along this journey I’ve learnt a lot of things. I’ve developed new skills and applications but more importantly it’s been a journey of self-discovery, with still loads more to learn.
Here are my 3 lessons that I think are key to successfully navigating along this journey whether you’re an entrepreneur, intrepreneur, or otherwise.
1. Finding your purpose: What is your “Why”?
A good mission statement helps an organisation to define its purpose… its ‘Why?’ It is usually a short statement that packs a big punch by explaining why the company exists, its primary objectives, and helps guide all of its decisions and opportunities.
Have you ever read a corporate companies mission statement?
“…to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”
Whilst it’s good practice for companies to write mission statements, I think it’s just as important for us as individuals to do the same. It’s so easy to let life happen, and when you start a business it’s almost inevitable that you’ll get pulled to and from trying to seize every opportunity that comes your way, do anything to please all of your customers, and do whatever it takes to make some money. Unfortunately, this can very quickly lead to a lot of activity with no real purpose, and probably eventual burn out.
It’s at this point that you absolutely need to know your reason “Why?”…
“Why am I working 25/8, never mind 24/7, for less than I’d probably get working on normal office work?!”
“Why am I living a life hesitate to spend a penny, thriving hard for cost saving, when I learn how to earn more money instead?!”
Not only is your ‘Why?’ a powerful motivator to help you persevere through tough times but it’ll also help you to make better choices about what to say “yes” to and when to say “no”.
2. Finding your purpose: What should be your work?
“Discovering your area of gifting leads you to discover your personal domain which is the discovery of your purpose.” – Myles Munroe
I absolutely love the statement above by the late preacher and motivational speaker, Dr. Myles Munroe, because I’m a strong believer that we all have particular gifts and talents which are tied into our individual purpose. We all have something that we just naturally do better than others that adds benefit to someone else, whether that be a great singing voice, a good listening ear, or just making a bad boy cup of tea.
When starting a business or career we often opt for what we think will make us the most money, what seems the most sensible or secure, or what will make our family and peers happy.
The first step in my journey was letting go of what seemed sensible and secure to others. Second was to explore my talents and gifts and apply them to my enterprise. But the big lesson along the way has been learning that passion is the vital component to discovering what your work should be and living a life of purpose. The importance of passion is mentioned by many including Steve Jobs –
We all have multiple talents, granted some of us more than others, but we generally only have one or two things we are truly passionate about. It is that passion that will keep you pressing forward against challenges and obstacles to make your vision a reality.
3. Finding your purpose: Who will help you?
The final key is acknowledging your need for people. When pursuing your entrepreneurial or career dreams it’s very easy to get tunnel vision. Particularly, if you are working a lot by yourself, it can be difficult to make time for nurturing your relationships and developing new ones; but, nurture and develop we must!
There’s a familiar saying,
“Birds of a feather flock together”.
It’s so true! Recently I realised that a lot of the ‘birds’ I associated with were related to the old ‘bird’ I used to be. Being an entrepreneur is completely different than being an employee, the sacrifices and lifestyle are difficult to comprehend for most people. So, it’s really important to surround yourself with like-minded people who can understand you, identify with your experiences, and enable and encourage you to excel.
With this in mind I set about developing new, strategic relationships. It’s also one of the reasons I decided to come to the Stanford University Graduate School of Business. In just one semester of being here that decision is already paying off.
“Life is about learning”
It really is all about the journey rather than reaching a destination. I truly believe that learning these lessons will make that journey more enjoyable and purposeful.
So, I encourage you to do the same (if you aren’t already). There are lots of exercises, materials, and resources available to help you discover your ‘Why?’, ‘What?’, or ‘Who?’ I’d be more than happy to help you, just private message me and we will link up.
Additionally, let’s encourage one another. Are you pursuing your purpose? Are you working towards realising your life’s vision? Share your ideas/passion with me!