As I grow and evolve as a person, so does my business.
I’ve been reading the book The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur by Mike Michalowicz (don’t be put off by the title—it’s actually been a great read), as I tend to read books that reflect where I am in life. So, being in business, I tend to read a lot of books on business and entrepreneurship.
Michalowicz encourages the entrepreneur to discover his or her “why” for being in business, referencing the work of Simon Sinek, known as “The Why Guy.” Sinek, author of Start with Why, discusses how great businesses start with “why” the company exists, rather than the “what” most companies put out as their message to clients, customers, and consumers.
Over the weekend, I decided to sit down and do this particular exercise, as I’m certain on the what and how aspects of my business (going with Sinek’s updated concept of the Golden Circle), but wanted to more deeply connect with the why of my business.
Michalowicz asks, “What’s your Why? Why are you an entrepreneur? Why did you choose your specific industry? Why, why, why?”
And then states, “Keep asking until you get to the heart of the matter.”
So I did. And I did. And I did. And each time I did, I developed a case of existential angst. Because I felt I wasn’t getting to the answer. I was intellectualizing it, but I wasn’t feeling it.
In frustration, I left both the book and my business journal (the place I record all my ideas and inspirations) on the dining room table, opting to watch an episode of “The New Adventures of Wonder Woman” to take my mind off things.
I didn’t return to the table the rest of the evening.
The next morning, I decided to check out Oprah’s “Super Soul Sunday.” One of my favorite episodes was being re-broadcast. It featured Gabrielle Bernstein, Marie Forleo, and Mastin Kipp, three individuals being hailed as the next generation of spiritual thought leaders. Having watched the episode several times already, I decided to check it out again.
And while watching, it happened: I suddenly began seeing, in my mind, when I played volleyball in high school.
Now, I wasn’t a jock or sports guy back then (I’m still not.). I couldn’t wrap my head around the whole “competition” thing about sports that the jocks in school had going on. Because of that, when it came time for those oh-so-awkward moments of having to stand and be chosen by team captains to play on one of the two teams—and wondering when—or if—you’d be chosen—I often wound up with the other kids considered non-jocks.
Back then, when we played volleyball, we had to alternate positions, so we got to experience each spot on the team. It was through this, I found my “sweet spot,” which was the position of server. I was a damn good server—with a mean serve. Who knew?
I wondered why this memory was coming to the surface now—not having played the game in 30 years. And then I knew: I was being shown My Why.
Volleyball, in this sense, is an analogy for the Game of Life, which we are all players in.
Playing with the team of kids not considered “jocks” was a representation of my team of like-minded people: the people who sometimes get overlooked in life for not playing the Game in the Spirit of Competition we see in the world today. We’d rather play the Game with the Spirit of Co-operation and Collaboration—and just for the fun of it, not caring whether we win or lose.
Everyone on the team has their “spot,” that position in which they get to shine, to play the Game with their strengths. But we all have to go through the process of discovering what that “spot” is (which was having to alternate positions).
Finding my spot as a server is an obvious indication of being of service to the world, and having a service-based business, which I do. Serving the ball is my putting my service out into the world, having it touch many people (all the hands that come in contact with the ball); my offering will be for some people, and not for others, and I will have my supporters (the people playing on my side of the net) and my detractors (the people on the other side of the net—those people who don’t “get” what I do, especially the metaphysical aspects of my work).
In this way, no one has to, as the saying goes these days, “hate the game.”
It was all so clear. I found My Why.
My Why is to team up with fellow players in the Game of Life who want to discover their perfect spot in the world—so they can play the Game from a position of confidence, playing with their strengths–not from a place of competition. I play with individuals (people who want to see and experience life in a different way) and solo spiritual-based service providers who want to get into the Game of Business, getting their unique services out to the people who would benefit most from them. Why? Because they are me.
And all this coming from a memory of playing high school volleyball.
So, in closing, I ask you: “What’s your Why? If you’re a spiritual entrepreneur–why? Why did you choose your specific industry? Why, why, why?”
I’d love to know your Why. Share it with me in the comments section below.
Your partner in starting with Why,