I’ve had a lot of conversations around this recently…
I even got an email last night, from one of my longest-term business mentors, who recommended I write about this in a daily essay (after reading yesterday’s).
So today, I want to talk about it…
Passion. Drive. Inspiration. Purpose. Mission.
When I was at that meeting in LA a couple weeks ago, one of the speakers said something that just about everybody in the room wrote down.
“Don’t build a business with a mission… Build a mission with a business.”
In other words, don’t focus on business first, and then add a mission to it as an afterthought and tax deduction.
Instead, decide what change you want to see in the world.
Google wanted to give you fast access to all the information on the internet.
Facebook wanted to connect people.
Apple wanted to build computer products that were enjoyable to use.
Agora started as International Living, to bring people the best ideas and recommendations for where to live well outside the United States.
The list could go on and on.
You could probably also come up with a list of companies started purely for profit, that succeeded at that.
But in a surprisingly large number of cases, even if profit was a strong motive, there was a visionary with a mission who had some other goal to create something that hadn’t been created, or to solve an important problem (large or small).
This has a twofold purpose…
Business is hard — and passion pulls you through when times are tough…
Starting a business, being an entrepreneur, shaping your own destiny is not easy work.
Any time you set out to accomplish anything outside of riding the grooves others have created, you will face difficulties. It requires growth. It requires change. You will have struggles.
When profit is your only motive, you will not be especially inclined to stick with it.
This isn’t to say profit is a bad thing — rather, it’s quite a good thing, and a way to measure your overall impact.
But if it’s your only reason for doing this, you’ll quickly go looking for the next opportunity, and the next, and the next. Looking for profit that comes easier elsewhere.
You won’t stick with anything long enough to make it really pay off.
You won’t persevere through the dark night of the soul that is inevitable in any great journey.
Having a purpose and a mission makes you attractive to money…
Most humans are naturally full of goodness and love. And they wish to reward goodness and love. Plus, they like to be part of things bigger than themselves.
With the exception of sociopaths, this is pretty much a universal human trait.
So to be serving a bigger mission in the world is actually a very selfish act, at the same time as it is a selfless act.
Tom’s Shoes was started, so the story goes, as a way to help put shoes on the feet of children who had none. Buy one, give one — that’s their model.
By buying Tom’s Shoes, the promise is that you’re also buying a pair of shoes that will go to someone that needs them.
I’m not saying you need to follow their model. You may not wish to be so directly charity-oriented.
Frankly, I think Google has done more good in the world than Tom’s Shoes will ever do, by giving the world faster, easier, and essentially free access to information.
That was a pretty big and audacious passion and mission that has driven Google to the heights they are at today.
But even on a smaller level, how can pursuing your passion help?
Frankly, I write better copy when I’m excited about something than when I’m not.
When I’m selling something, having passion for the product and the outcome it will have on the life of the prospect gives me an X-factor that ramps up my persuasive power.
When my colleague, friend, and mentor wrote me yesterday to suggest I write about this, here’s what he said…
The reason I work where I do is because of my experience with the product and the owner — the product worked better for me than any other like it on the market. I joined the company and I talk about my story of involvement and success with the company and people buy because of that.
Personal testimonials, story telling = passion. Passion exudes credibility. When I tell my story, people can’t hand over their money fast enough.
Just an idea.
When you have belief in, passion for, and are inspired by what you do, it comes through. It’s irresistible.
Even more, it gives you a story. A story that rings true, that radiates believability and credibility. It makes you attractive to the type of people you most wish to connect with and serve.
So here’s my question for you to ponder this weekend (and beyond)…
What moves your soul?
If you drop all pretenses and stop lying to yourself, what is it that excites you, drives you, and charges you up?
What could you work on nonstop, and have more energy at the end of the day than when you began?
If you were challenged to complete one mission before you died, what would that be?
And then here’s an important addendum…
If that mission had to be self-sustaining and even profitable to make the biggest impact, what can you do to monetize the mission and build a business around it?
What do you need to do to create a business that will increase the success of the mission as the business itself succeeds?
This isn’t something that will happen to you. It’s not something that will be given to you. This is something you must lead. You must create it. You must build a movement around it.
So what are you going to do to make that happen?
Yours for bigger breakthroughs,