“Draw the art you want to see, start the business you want to run, play the music you want to hear, write the books you want to read, build the products you want to use – do the work you want to see done.” – Austin Kleon
The early stages of running a business can be particularly tough. It’s tiring and full of late nights in and missed nights out. When you run a business, you report to yourself; when things go wrong, it’s on you. It’s a road of highs and lows and figuring things out on your own. Not everyone can do it, and not everyone wants to. But some people have something within themselves that wants to give their idea a chance and take the risk of launching a business. If you’re reading this, you’re likely one of them. There’s a reason you feel compelled to make this happen – what is it?
You might already have the answer, or maybe you haven’t thought about it – you just know you’re drawn toward entrepreneurship or have an idea you’d like to bring to life.
Even if you’re the kind of person who rolls their eyes at the question, digging into your motives and identifying and understanding what truly drives you is critical to success and, most importantly, enjoying the process.
When motivation isn’t enough, knowing why you’re doing what you’re doing is what will see you through difficult times.
Defining your purpose will support you through the challenges of running a business.
Running a business, like life itself, is full of distractions, emotionally draining challenges, and unexpected changes – good and bad. In the midst of that, it can be easy to lose sight of why you’re doing it.
It’s easy to hold yourself back because of ego and emotions – fear, frustration, exhaustion, a need to be perfect, or whatever else you feel. Both come up a lot in life, especially when running a business, and can be massive hindrances to progress. How often have you avoided something you wanted to do because you didn’t “feel like it” at the moment?
You need to understand why certain things matter to you so that when you don’t “feel like” doing them, you have a reason pushing you to do them anyway. On the flip side, it also permits you to let go of things that aren’t as relevant to your purpose. That will help keep you on track for your goals without burning out.
You only have so many hours in a day and a choice to spend them on what you want. Those choices add up to your successes in life and business. You might be tired and frustrated at the moment or feel insecure about your abilities, so you procrastinate. Understanding your “why” will help you do the hard work because you’ll have a deeper purpose that drives you further than how you feel in the moment.
How to find your “why”
Many successful entrepreneurs mention the ancient Japanese concept of “Ikigai” as a philosophy that helps them overcome the hurdles of running a business.
Ikigai refers to one’s “reason for being” and suggests you can find your reason, or “why,” in the intersection of:
- What you’re passionate about
- What you’re good at
- What the world needs
- What you can get paid for
Applying these points to your business can help you further understand why you want to do it. What drives you?
Similarly, the Danish ideas of Hygge and Lykke suggest life is about atmosphere and experience rather than things. Life is about how you choose to spend your days and where, and working for yourself, despite its ups and downs, might be how you want to spend yours. Lagom is Sweden’s version, while France has its “raison d’être,” meaning “reason to be.” Stoicism is another philosophy about finding a purpose and putting it ahead of all other distractions and emotions that can get in the way of doing what creates meaning in your days.
There are countless terms out there that boil down to the same point – a good life is about enjoying the process, not just the outcome. Beyond that, they encourage you to simplify your life as much as possible so you can more carefully spend your time on the things that matter most to you. Considering these countries are among those ranked highly as having the happiest people in the world, they might be onto something.
Find a concept that resonates with you and helps you get a better sense of what your “why” is. This process is usually easier said than done, so having your own “why” motto and resources to turn to when needed are crucial to surviving the challenges of starting and sustaining a business.
Sustain your vision by using your “why” as a business roadmap
In his book Find Your Why, Simon Sinek states, “People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it.” Not only is your “why” paramount to your success, but it’ll also help ensure your business actually resonates with your customers.
It takes discipline, dedication, flexibility, creativity, and resilience to sustain a thriving business for years. It’s a grinding thing millions of business owners worldwide choose to do with joy and pride – because they know why it’s worth it to them. That’s why Wild Idea Co. exists – because, despite its challenges, creating a new business and bringing your idea to life is something worth doing.
Defining your “why” is not only a good base for your business’s mission statement, it’s, most importantly, something to turn to when part of you feels like giving up on it altogether.
Download our Wild Purpose Worksheet to start defining your “why” and evolve your purpose into a larger vision, ideal target, and core values for your company. The worksheet will be helpful when creating your mission statement, business plan, and other tactical pieces to help your business get off the ground and succeed long term.