Is it time to revisit your WHY?
Events of the past couple of years affected all of us – physically, mentally and emotionally.
We’ve been on quite a roller-coaster ride… devastating bushfires and floods, a pandemic and its associated lockdowns, the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement, outrage about the treatment of women in the very corridors (or offices) of our own government, and now a heart-breaking war in Europe…
No wonder we’re exhausted!
From what I’m seeing around – in the news, on social media and in a lot of small business marketing communication – this is having a few interesting consequences:
- They are leading people to be more introspective… to have a look at their lifestyle, their decision making and buying choices, and deciding what they want going forward. They’re more conscious of the impact their lives have on the planet and other people, and are wanting to make real, lasting change.
- People want to help and support others, and connection and kindness have often outweighed their individual wants and needs. They are also more open to supporting small businesses, listening to their stories, and understanding the impact these events are having not just on individuals, but whole communities.
Maybe it’s time to take stock and decide whether our current business is taking us in the direction that our hearts, as well as our heads, want us to go.
In short, to revisit our WHY!
Here are the three steps I use with my clients (and my own biz):
Identify your Big Wholehearted Aspirational (Awesome, Amazing) Goals (BWAGs)
You’ve heard of BHAGs right, i.e. Big Hairy Audacious Goals? Well BWAGs are a bit like that, but less hairy and more heartfelt!
In other words, they include not only those crazy business ideas you have, such as how rich and influential you’re going to be, but some of those other, more ‘wholehearted’ goals you have for ALL areas of your life. Goals like… How you would like to help others using current (and future) skills, knowledge and experience. What change you would like to see in the world and how can you be a part of it. How you might create some sort of legacy – for your kids, your community or a cause you believe in.
Make sure you WRITE IT DOWN and keep it handy any time you’re doing any goal-setting or business planning, so you can align your day-to-day activities to these bigger, long-term aspirational goals. After all, that’s the only way you’ll achieve them!
Choose anchor words for your Vision and Values
What matters most to you and underlies everything your business and brand represents?
Chances are there a few words that sum up your whole vision and value systems… Words like ‘Honest, Inspiring, Loving, Visionary’ (these are mine)! Words that you can use to describe what’s unique about your business to others, focus your marketing messages, and use as an anchor whenever you’re in a rut or going through a rough patch.
For simplicity, try to limit your list to 3 or 4, and ensure they are aligned with your own personal values – they don’t need to cover ALL your personal values, but there does need to be a cross-over, or you won’t feel authentic.
Once you’ve chosen your words, pop them in a place where they are visible every day. I designed a little postcard for mine with my logo and brand colours (yes, the designer in me is alive and well!), which is posted on the white board in my studio.
Define your Purpose
The word Purpose is bandied about quite a lot these days, and on a bigger scale, could cover all your WHY across all areas of your life, for your whole lifespan… so rather than spending all that time navel gazing, I like to use the Japanese ‘ikigai’ model to help people define their Purpose.
It’s simply the overlap where these four key areas meet:
- What you’re good at
- What you love
- What the world needs
- What they are prepared to pay for
OK, not really that simple!
But it’s a good place to start… and can help you identify any missing pieces.
If you are finding your work feels empty or dull, even though it’s making a good profit – you need to focus more on “what you love”, and perhaps add some new products or services that allow you to pursue that.
Feeling overwhelmed by tasks that are beyond your knowledge and ability? Check in that what you are offering is ‘what you are good at’, and if you really want to get better at something (rather than cutting this out of your offer), do a training course or upgrade your qualifications.
Loving what you’re doing but struggling to make any money – go back to ‘what the world needs’ and ‘what they’re prepared to pay for’. Maybe you’re not really solving a problem. Maybe your audience needs to better understand the problem you solve. Maybe you just need to tweak your pricing (undervaluing yourself is a thing!)
It’s worth going through this activity with someone who knows you well, such as a partner (life or business), best friend, trusted colleague or business coach, who can help you identify any strengths or challenges you might not be able to see yourself.
Reviewing your WHY is important to do at least every 2-3 years, as ‘opportunities’, ‘bright shiny objects’ and just ‘life’ sometimes veer us off course. But with so much positive change needed in the world at the moment, NOW is the perfect time.
Let me know how you go…
For more tips and resources about how to revisit your WHY and gain more clarity in your business, you might like to purchase my Wholehearted Business Essentials eGuide. Available here…
This article was originally published on Flying Solo, Australia’s micro business community – and has been edited to take into account take more recent events.
It’s been quite a journey to arrive here… and yet this is probably where I’ve always been heading. Sharing my experience, skills and knowledge to help reimagine work, life and leadership, and bring greater humanity and community into our working lives.
With over 25 years’ experience as a marketing professional – many in my own business – combined with a life-long curiosity and passion for positive psychology, leadership development and personal growth, I have explored ways we can achieve a more “wholehearted” version of success based on four principles – Purpose, Prosperity, Connection and Joy.
Using these as a foundation, I believe we can reshape our world into one that is more sustainable, loving, kind and connected.
Are you ready to join me?