Discovering My Why in Business and in Life
Simon Sinek is famous for helping businesses (and people) find their why. I've been hearing it a lot lately. Maybe because I'm reading his book, and noticing it more, but maybe because I am trying to define my own why personally and professionally.
I didn't start Women on Adventures with an already established 'why I'm in business' motive. I didn't see a gap in the market, and decide to fill it. Women on Adventures was born from my own fear of living a life that wasn't mine. I was feeling dragged along for the ride and simply letting things happen "to me" instead of owning my own actions. I was pseudo dealing with life by drowning my own anxiety and fear, and in the process destroying any motivation to change anything. Between moving to a new state, blending families, suddenly having a "roommate", laid off from my job, and more...I was dealing with my anxiety, stress, and problems in a way that was slowing killing me. Literally. I was avoiding life and avoiding living. Which was super convenient because I was afraid of doing both. Depressed yet? Jeez! Let's move on to the good stuff!
This last week I was in Reno, Nevada attending the SCORE conference for the 2018 America Small Business Championship. It was a truly humbling experience to hear all of the stories of the other businesses attending the conference. Stories of surviving cancer, veterans on a mission, women empowering other women, and more. The experience brought me back to my own why, and me trying to very clearly define what that was.
The why of a business seems to be this carefully crafted and cultivated thing that is used to leverage sales and move the needle. Sometimes it grows out of a need to make a change in ones life and seeing that change can lead to other people changing their lives. Sound like something you read in a previous paragraph? Sometimes a why is less business motivated and more emotional and humble.
A few months ago I started taking ownership of my own life, and my business, this is when everything changed. I celebrated a year and a half of sobriety. I left a high stress job, (Friends, I'm a photographer, there should have been no stress there) and I got real clear on what I wanted to do with my life and with Women on Adventures.
The mission emerged over the years based on the needs of everyone in the group. We wanted to help women expand their comfort zones because living a life in fear and being small does not serve us any longer. We are powerful when we are not drowning in our own insecurities and doubts. We are leaders and mentors. We no longer have time to cut each other down, because we are too busy lifting each other up.
The road to the version of Women on Adventures today has been a long and soggy one. Going from a social group on Meetup, and transitioning into a baby business, to where we are today with amazing ambassadors, inspiring members, winning a national championship, and while this isn't necessarily all about me, I actually stood up in front of people speaking about WOA, so let me just tell you not only did we find a mission, we found our why. It is a pretty incredible journey!
I recently read an instagram post by Brené Brown that said "To live without regret is to believe you have nothing to learn, no amends to make, and no opportunity to be braver with your life." My journey to where I am now has been full of regrets, but I know that it has brought me to a place where I am able to appreciate everything it took to get here. My why is about giving women space to rewrite their story. A story that is full of connection, fun, challenge, and adventure. Where comfort zones can grow bigger than their panic zone and their lives are exactly what they have dreamed they would be.
I have found my why and my tribe, and I couldn't be happier.