It's more important than ever before to know your purpose and be able to articulate it, put it in writing, and then live it. People can copy what you do—but they cannot copy what you stand for, what you believe in, and the relationships you have.
- A few years into my business journey, it was nothing like what I thought it was going to be. I thought it was going to be all peaches and roses and wonderful, and no, no. No, no. I was completely stressed. My business partner was push, push, push, why hadn't we made more sales? I could never get to all my emails. It was like I just couldn't get anything done. I never felt that I was moving the game forward. Ironically, I was spending less time with my family than I had intended to. I thought I was starting my business so I could spend more time with my kids, and they were getting less of my attention.
I needed to do something. I went to a seminar hosted by Verne Harnish. He has a book called Scale Up. He was talking about purpose, that when you share your purpose and your vision, all of a sudden, it doesn't seem like work anymore. And let me tell you, for me, my business was a grind. It seemed like such a good idea. But how do I find my purpose? Apparently, I'm going to be better in business if I have a purpose, yet finding it left me with a challenge.
I started asking everybody, what do they like about RedBalloon? What do they like about what we do? Sure, they loved the experience vouchers, they loved going off and doing activities, but it was reading customer stories that really made the difference. I'd read them and see the difference I'd made to other human beings. One customer wrote so eloquently. For his father's 84th birthday, he'd given him a flight in a DC-3. His father, he said, was excited like a little boy going to a birthday party.
When he flew with him, he said he was truly embarrassed as his father tried to pick up the flight attendants. But on the way home, he shared with him that, as young man, he'd heard the first DC-3 flight on the wireless, and had always, always wanted to be on one. He said, "My father is a very quiet man. "I'll always remember today "as one of the days he spoke." I knew why I do what I do.
I want people to have good times together, to enjoy each other, to tick a few things off the bucket list. Then I realized the difference I was making to other businesses. RedBalloon represents more than 2,000 other small businesses. We're literally their agents, selling their wonderful activities. I found myself sitting next to one of our suppliers, who I'd never met, and he said that we had represented him for the last nine years, and that we delivered him 80% of his customers.
We've made a material impact to his ability to serve customers and the growth of his business, and we were doing this to thousands and thousands of other small businesses, helping them grow. When I listened to the stories of the impact the business was having, I was clear about why I did what I did. But the most important thing was it transformed who I was. I no longer went from racing and rushing, rushing to the urgent for the sake of the important.
I started to focus on the difference I was making to other human beings. Days became more fulfilling. I didn't feel like it was stress, more that I was driven by my passion and purpose. Now, passion is not the same as purpose. Passion, in fact, is your energy. It's what drives you. It's that thing you can't help talking about. The first thing you think about in the morning. Passion is literally an energy, but it's yours. Purpose is about how you contribute to others.
It's about how you're making a difference in the world, how you're making the world a slightly better place. Don't get the two of passion and purpose confused. Your passion might be to play chess, however, your purpose might be to be a world leader in chess, and a role model to others. Think about how you contribute to others. Do you know your purpose? Do you know your purpose by heart? Do your team know your purpose? Do your stakeholders or suppliers know your purpose? Because when others know your purpose, they can support you in it.
Businesses rush, rush, rush. There's always too much to do, and it's often your purpose that gets set to one side. Yet making the investment in time, to be curious, interested, listen to customers, and devise your purpose might be the single thing that sets you on your strategic path for growth. If you love what you do every day, you never have to work another day in your life. It is worth making this investment. I love what I do now because I know the difference I make to other human beings.
It doesn't occur to me as work. It's amazing how much you can accomplish when you focus on why you want to get that done.
- Finding your purpose
- Keeping the passion alive
- Setting the framework for success
- Ensuring that your people are aligned to your goals
- Setting your priorities
- Promoting your business effectively