Why Do You Want to Start a Business?
Before you make the decision about what business you will build, it’s important to step back and ask WHY. Why do you want to start a business?
The reason the question “why” comes up first is because when you know your why, it gives you a huge amount of energy, inspiration and motivation… and trust me--you'll need that. More importantly, your Big Why will help you get out there and take the necessary actions you need to get big results once you once you find your business idea. Because if you’re not passionate about what you do, it’s going to be difficult to grow and maintain your business over time. Building your own business can take a lot of work and when the going gets tough, it helps to remember WHY you do what you do. If you really connect with your why, then the HOW won’t seem as daunting. You’ll know that all those actions and challenges are just something you need to do to be on purpose and to make an impact. In other words, your why becomes bigger than your fears, doubts and all of the overwhelm that you may feel as you stretch out of your comfort zone and into your genius zone.
Because resistance is a natural part of growth and when it comes up for you, return to your why. The more resistance you feel, the more growth you’re experiencing. For example, imagine you’re at the health club lifting weights. What do you feel each time you lift the weight? Resistance. When you feel that resistance, you have two options:
Discovering your why can be much like that. Hopefully you keep going in the face of resistance because, when you do, you’ll be amazed at the strength and resilience that comes out of you. What becomes possible in your life and business when you connect to the natural strength and resilience you were born with? This natural strength and resilience is in every person, that is why our species has survived for over 200,000 years. The truth is that when you work with your biology of motivation, anything can happen. You can literally become a record-breaking Olympian. But when you work against it? Well, you become Homer Simpson. Doh. Doh. Doh.
Unfortunately, most people make the mistake of activating their inner Homer Simpson by starting with the question “What,” or worse yet, “How”? They make this mistake because they think this is the most important question to answer. The truth is that while “What” and “How” are important, the far more important question for you to answer in your business is “WHY” because:
Of course what you do matters. But if you were driven solely by your WHAT, you probably wouldn’t be going through the trouble of starting your own business. You’d have been happy taking that stable paycheck and letting someone else worry about the business, while you contented yourself with just doing the work. There definitely can be incredible satisfaction in the WHAT, but when you express your why -- your purpose, your legacy, your contribution, the greater vision or aspiration behind your work -- you feel a fulfillment that goes beyond being awesome at what you do. And the beauty of this is that when you inspire yourself, everyone else can feel it too. Not many things are more powerful than sharing your beliefs, motivations and your Big Why with the world. After all, no one goes into business to be ordinary and I guarantee your audience wants to hear your Big Why too.
Every time I give a webinar or teach a course, I share why I’m doing it with my audience and I find that it always shifts the dynamic pretty much instantly. It allows them to open up to me and trust me because they know where I’m coming from. They understand my motivations and begin to connect with me in a real way that goes beyond being a customer or potential customer. Of course, they are aware that I have something to offer and money is involved, but they’re able to receive it as an opportunity and a gift that genuinely supports them. It takes my offer out of the realm of product or commodity and into the realm of true value exchange. They know I believe in the work that I do and I care about their results.
That changes the relationship in a fundamental way. I belong to the same tribe as my subscribers, my students and my clients. We share a set of values and beliefs. There’s a deeper meaning to our relationship. As Teddy Roosevelt famously said,
People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care.
You are probably familiar with Simon Sinek, the author of Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action and creator of the famous TED talk: “How Great Leaders Inspire Action,” which has been watched over 33 million times. Simon believes that:
“People don't buy what you do; they buy why you do it. And what you do simply proves what you believe.”
Since your why gives so much meaning and context to what you do, I encourage you to start there. The first question I want you to focus on is, why did you go into business in the first place? Or why do you want to start your own business? This is the emotional juice that’s going to energize your business, fuel your actions and make your WHAT a lot more appealing. Let yourself answer these questions without holding back. Don’t worry about censoring yourself or trying to edit as you go. Simply write. And if you’re a better talker than a writer, get out your smart phone and record yourself answering. Answer with as much truth as you can.
If you keep working through the resistance and practice being all in, you will build muscle. You’ll build your clarity muscles, your confidence muscles, your commitment muscles, your action muscles and your business-building muscles. Before you know it, you will have a six-pack. As humans we’re constantly saying that we want more. We want more love, more clients, more recognition, more how-to training, then the moment we get what we want we feel overwhelmed and we can’t take it in. We haven’t built the mindset and the muscle to hold for more. So we say that we want it, then we shut down when we actually get it.
Now, what if you could practice expanding when you receive more rather than contracting? The truth is that if you really want to be more, do more, feel more, receive more, overcome more and achieve more, you need to grow your capacity for more. In The 4-Hour Work Week, Tim Ferriss teaches people how to become experts fast. And his secret to becoming a fast expert is to learn how to be with the feelings of resistance and overwhelm. Most people are programmed to do things that give them the least resistance and quit the moment they feel resistance. They associate the feeling of resistance that comes from being at the edge of your comfort zone as a negative emotion, so they give up, shut down or walk away right when they’re about to experience growth.
Remember our weight-lifting metaphor? The truth is that if it were easy to build a business and you were already 100 percent comfortable with building your business, you’d already be successful beyond your wildest imagination. If you are, great! Otherwise, take a few minutes to work on your WHY, writing as though your life depends on it because it kind of does.
Since I imagine you may need a little inspiration to get you started, following are five additional questions that can help you identify your Big Whys around your business as a whole. Don’t worry about trying to answer all these questions. Just tune into the ones that inspire you and get your creative juices flowing. Even answering only one of these questions, can be enough to help you tune into why you’re really doing this.
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