A reader asked me a question recently. Why do I spend so much time doing things that don’t really generate money? Writing to you like this, for instance.
It got me thinking about the why behind my business.
There’s a why behind everything you set out to do. If you’re aware of it, it’s a powerful tool for navigation. If you’re unaware, that unconscious why will most likely lead you astray one way or the other (more on that particular kind of disaster here).
Well, to answer the question: First of all, it does generate money, in a roundabout way. Most of my clients are my readers first. We get to know each other through this site, and once trust is established the step to exchanging money and services isn’t that big. So writing like this makes perfect business sense.
But that’s not the whole story.
The true why is much simpler and much more profound.
Looking around me, the people I truly adore and admire in this world are the ones out there creating, trying, giving, doing.
I want to be one of them. I want to write from that place of courage and active engagement, and I want to do business from there too. And I’m not the only one. Plenty of good people are doing – or trying to do – their work that way nowadays, so we can learn from each other.
Here’s what it looks like for me:
I don’t want to “just” build a business, I want to find and gather a tribe of likeminded people to share this path with, and create something of true value – that sustains both them and me. (And I added the quotation marks because there’s really no “just” to building a profitable business. It’s a heroic endeavour in and of itself.)
I don’t just write to communicate, I write to connect. (There’s a huge and important difference there, I’ll get back to that another time.
I want to make good money, doing what I love, because that enables me to grow, explore and evolve, and – ultimately – serve more people.
Because above and beyond everything, I want to be of service, doing what I love.
To build that kind of business requires me to be very vulnerable. Really, I had no idea before I started on this path exactly how naked I would have to get. And it’s not optional.
But then I had no idea of how amazingly empowering it would be, either.
The scariest and the most wonderful part about it is that I get to make the rules. I get to decide what the world of my business will be like. What it looks like, who it is for, how we relate to each other here, what the purpose of it all is.
I get to decide the why behind my business. And looking at that why I see something emerge that I did not expect when I started all this. I see connection, at the very core of my heart’s work.
I did not expect that, because I’m an introvert, I’m a loner, I’m a writer. If anything, I’ve been in the habit of avoiding connection. I kind of like the thought of going it alone. (Or actually I kind of like the thought of not having you see all my stumbling imperfections and my mistakes.)
But without the vulnerability there’s no connection. And without connection there’s nothing. I’m just beginning to understand that. No love, no life, business, no writing, no support, no friendship.
We can’t all be close friends and we don’t need to be, but we can connect. We can allow ourselves to be seen and respond to each other like we care. We can ascribe this moment, the one we share, and what we bring to it some significance
That’s how I want it.
I‘m not interested in playing this business game according to old rules and mindsets, where our relationship is merely transactional.
Let’s not do it that way. Let’s not assume we’re insignificant. Let’s not assume that we’re not welcome and wanted, and that our choices and actions don’t matter to other people. Because they do.
We matter to each other, more so than we’d like to admit sometimes. With that comes huge responsibility, but also the potential for so much joy.
If we want to.
Whatever we are trying to do, we will be better off with the support and encouragement from likeminded people. I know that for sure.