Living On Purpose
This is the last post in a 3 part series on individual PURPOSE, inspired by my interview & conversation with Lisa Messenger. Following on purpose & finding your purpose, this blog is centred on living your purpose. Communicating your purpose is an essential part of identifying the people in the world who believe what we believe, who will be our trusted friends, loyal clients or customers, dedicated employees and inspired partners in bringing our WHY to life. That’s huge. And it is only the beginning. And for Steve Jobs it was everything ted talk – how to live before you die
For an individual, finding their purpose may lead them to realize that there is something else they could be doing or somewhere else they could be doing it that would likely have them feeling more fulfilled. Or it could confirm that the grass is always greener. Finding an Organization’s WHY can lead to a similar conclusion. Maybe the organization should be offering a different product or service. Maybe it should reconsider its hiring process or its metrics for progress. Perhaps certain employees would do better in different positions or divisions. Or maybe they are not the right fit at all.
Remember, the times we feel most fulfilled are the times we are living our WHY. It has always been that way; we just couldn’t put it into words. Now you can share your WHY and act on it intentionally. When you keep your WHY on a piece of paper in a drawer, you have a piece of paper in the drawer. When you live your WHY, you thrive and so do the people around you.
One of my favourite disruption authors is Whitney Johnson who is a devotee of Clayton Christensen, long seen as the doyen of disruption. Whitney has adapted the ‘S’ Curve, popularized by Christensen to explain how individuals can live on purpose. She puts forward the aforementioned 7 steps to do so:
There are two fundamental types of risk to consider when embarking on a life congruent with purpose: Competitive risks and Market Risks. The former refers to the risks involved with entering an existing market with a competing product. There’s probably an already-established market leader and other players, meaning you’ll be in a tough fight to gain traction. There is a king pin and it aint you. There will be customers but you will have to gauge whether you can compete and win.
Market Risk is what you assume when you effectively create a new market, by identifying a need that is not being met and creating the product or service that addresses this need. This is what Netflix did when it spotted the opportunity to deliver videos cheaply and directly to consumers’ homes, eventually forcing Blockbuster to adopt the same modus. But by then it was too late for the latter to succeed. What had been a market risk for Netflix, became a competitive risk for Blockbuster, and research tells us that market risk is, well, less risky, than competitive risk. In fact, your odds of success are six times higher and the revenue opportunity 20 times greater with market risk, says Johnson.
Competitive risk feels less risky. Because it is more certain. But if you can deal with the uncertainty of market risk then you are more likely to be successful.
Another key element of ensuring you take the right risks is to make sure you’re exploiting your particular skills, or “distinctive strengths.” If you try something you’re only moderately good at, you’re increasing the risk of failure. A distinctive strength is something that you do, that others within your sphere do not. Pairing this strength with a need to be met or a problem to be solved gives you the momentum necessary to move into hyper growth, the sweet spot of the above S-curve.
Refer to my previous blog finding your purpose to help you with the questions to unlock your distinctive strengths
Disruption breaks our existing paradigms and takes us out of our status quo. To improve our journey we need to seek constant feedback. One of the best ways to obtain this feedback is to impose constraints. Think of skateboarders. They are some of the quickest learners in the world because they receive some incredibly fast and useful feedback. Every action. Every movement has an immediate consequence.
A shortage of money is a powerful incentive for ensuring you have the right business model. A shortage of knowledge about, say, a particular process, can lead you to think outside the box and produce a novel solution. And a shortage of available time can force you to find others who are better suited to certain tasks or have the time to help you.
Entitlement – the idea that you deserve or are owed something or are in some way privileged or superior – can be a “growth killer”. It manifests itself in several ways. With cultural entitlement, we have such a strong sense of belonging with our peer group or clique, and such a powerful sense of its capabilities that we may tend to think poorly of those outside the group and ignore or even be unaware of their ideas. And if our plans seem to be working out well, we don’t feel the need to look beyond our own social and geographical borders for other people’s ideas. We believe that success comes naturally from within and always will. Instead, we should make a sustained effort to experience other cultures – in the broadest sense of the word – by networking outside our usual realm either professionally or even geographically.
Despite what its name and description might suggest, the S-curve isn’t actually a smooth, continuous, onwards-and-upwards growth process. “Disruption by definition involves moving sideways, back, or down, with all the negative connotations that conjures, in order to move forward,” says Johnson. As a business owner, you part with profits to acquire the equipment you need to scale. As a manager, you sacrifice some of your own productivity to teach your employees new skills. Furthermore, you might need to make course corrections, so reversing or moving in a new direction are key parts of the disruption process.
You can do this in a planned way by deciding in advance what you hope to gain from the process – a sort of business plan for your backward move. For example, as a manager, you might decide to allow employees to rotate into each other’s roles, knowing that in the short term, there may be an impact on revenue. But in the long term, the ideas and experience that flow from this could deliver big rewards.
Sometimes too there is failure. Whenever we start something new there is this fantasy of a perfectly linear world. Sometimes dreams come true. And sometimes they don’t.
Brene Brown stated that failure is particularly acute for corporate professionals. When the ethos is kill or be killed. Control or be controlled. Failure is being killed and it can elicit massive shame.
Paraphrasing John Milton: “the mind is its own place, it can make up heaven or hell, a hell or heaven”. “The mind is its own place”. It can see success in every failure and a failure in every success. As you climb up your learning curve what will you make of your success? What would you do next time?
As an individual living on purpose, you are on a journey to discover a yet to be defined world. You are taking on a market risk where no one else has played. This requires an emergent strategy. Rather than performing detailed market analysis and developing a step-by-step plan to achieve a goal, disrupters are flexible. They take a step forward, gather feedback, and adapt accordingly. Probably finishing in a place that was not anticipated.
Einstein, one of the greatest thinkers of all time, once said: “I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.” While he may have been clothing himself in modesty, there’s no doubt that exploring and learning are critical attributes of the disruptor. Curiosity and a willingness to learn are among the leading predictors of C-suite career success. More than this, a willingness to accept that what you discover may not be what you expected, can lead to fantastic breakthroughs.
If you don’t live on purpose when you feel you are called to do so, you’ll die inside just a little. But the process can seem daunting and a little lonely at times. So you need to know at the outset what you hope to gain from the process and why you’re disrupting yourself or your business. There are often clues in your hopes and dreams because, ultimately, a successful disruption is most likely to happen when you follow your ‘North Star’. In other words, go where your purpose leads you.
To see if YOU are living a life on PURPOSE read the Collective HUB article are you living your WHY?
Part 3 of the Interview & Conversation with Lisa Messenger (the ‘edited’ highlights)
Let us delve into two people who you cherish you live their life on purpose:
On Danielle LaPorte
Danielle is an amazing, incredible human.
One of my philosophies in life is that, when an opportunity presents itself that aligns with my WHY, I jump into it 1 million per cent. Pronto. Without delay.
Her one thing that resonates with me is all about the ‘feeling’. “How does it make you feel?” It is very easy for us to keep our feelings on the surface. It is one thing to say that ‘you love guitar’ but what is more important is understanding how it makes you feel.
Danielle also asks the pertinent question: What has to die for you to live your WHY?
She says, “Women and feminine-identified types specialise in beginnings, not endings. We prefer to nurture, not exclude. This, of course, is spectacular and divine and… Challenging. Because destruction is essential to creation. Something has to die for your dream to be born. And by that I mean… you may need to cut off its life or air supply and send it down the river to die.”
What in your life has to die so that YOU can be the change?
On Jason Silva (futurist and philosopher)
Jason puts out video on ‘shocks of awe’.
I have met lots of people but never met someone whose brain works like that. He has a very unique way of measuring the value of life.
How do we possibly measure success and happiness, when their very definition is going to be so different for each one of us? I’m not talking about success in relation to material trappings – the beautiful inspiring home, the fast sports cars and fancy yachts, the designer clothes, movie-star friends, front-row seats and VIP lifestyle…
All of that stuff can be amazing, but they are by-products of a purpose-led life. To really live according to your WHY, you need to connect to something much deeper than the pursuit of trinkets and toys.
A little while ago I discussed the concept of defining and measuring happiness Jason. This is what he shared:
“Many people want to create a start-up and be the next Mark Zuckerberg and become a billionaire. But here’s something to ponder: one thing that we know about money and fame is that they don’t heal,” says Jason.
“Having resources helps,” says Jason. “Money facilitates the movement of resources towards expanding your sense of volition and agency in the world. But having money of and in itself is not the end all, at all, at all.
“So: perhaps we should redefine what it means to be a billionaire – to extend it beyond money? A billion dollars makes you a billionaire. But much more interesting to me is a billionaire who can positively affect the lives of a billion people. If you make a video that gets a billion views, that makes a billion people smile, you’re a billionaire to me,” he says.
Ok Lisa, let us now get into the 7 elements of Living a life on Purpose:
1.Take the Right Risks
My belief has been built up over the years. There was a time though that my self-belief was in the gutter. But I did a lot of courses that uncovered my triggers and what made me tick. I learnt to shut out external noise that was not helpful and learnt to get feedback in constructive ways. I know have unashamedly unwaivering self belief that enables me to step into things that are big.
The reason my naivety didn’t matter was because I was completely and unashamedly on purpose. Every cell in my body was energised by this idea that I was onto something big. Something bigger than me, that was certain. I built Collective Hub because I want to ignite human potential and create a community where entrepreneurs and creatives can inspire each other.
For an ambitious fast-thinker, 12 months felt like an extraordinarily long amount of time to birth a new business. But, for a magazine launch? A global magazine launch? Starting from a place of no experience to creating, designing, writing and publishing our debut issue, at a handsome six-figure cost? Some major players in the publishing industry spend that long finalising a magazine’s title, let alone the entire product and strategy! I was completely green in magazine publishing, but I was also 100 per cent sure of myself as I launched a movement that, I knew in my heart, was going to change the game. And we have done exactly that,in just four years.
Living your life on purpose doesn’t mean you have to change the world. Your WHY can be anything, big or small. That’s because it all boils down to whatever it is that makes YOU stay in flow and be the best version of yourself.
You could impact five people or five billion people. The number is irrelevant. It’s about finding that connection, that drive, that will to want to do whatever it is you want to do, then pushing forwards with everything you’ve got.
You don’t need to be an entrepreneur or innovator. Anyone and everyone can find more meaning and purpose in their lives if they connect to their WHY. You could be a stay-at-home parent, a teacher, a sportsperson, an artist, a writer, a creative or an employee at a corporate company. The key is that you feel like your contribution – whatever that is – to your corner of the world matters and helps to impact people’s lives in a positive way.
To find your WHY, use your current life as a starting point BUT don’t place any limits on where you would like it to take you. Through my work, I continue to meet extraordinary people who have completely flipped their worlds and are now doing things, both in their professional and personal lives, that their younger selves would never have imagined. That’s because when searching for their WHY, these people didn’t place any limitations on themselves. They looked far outside their comfort zones and had the courage to chase after a dream they still didn’t fully understand.
So what if you’ve never done it before, have no contacts in that industry or no knowledge of how it works? Neither did I! The wonderful thing about humans is that we have an innate capacity to learn, adapt, evolve and connect with other people who can fill in our knowledge gaps and help us turn our vision into reality. What could be more exciting than that?
2.Play to Your Distinctive Strengths
To get ready to tune into your purpose, it helps to drown out the noise from other sources so you can focus on finding your inner drive. Go blank on social media for a few days while you do this internal work. Instead of checking out what’s happening online, check in to what’s happening with you.
As I’ve touched on earlier, when you’re trying to find your WHY you can be so eager that you almost force it, looking for outcomes that aren’t there. To stay in flow and on the right track, try to listen for consistent statements the people around you make about you.
You may have natural talents that you take for granted and dabble in part-time – could there be a way to elevate them from hobby to career? People often see things in us that we don’t recognise in ourselves, so think for a moment: what are the things you do naturally, unconsciously, without even putting in much effort that people compliment you on? The things you’re good at, which come easily?
I was a horse-riding instructor in the country. I was a corporate events manager. I managed sponsorships for big brands, such as The Wiggles and Cirque Du Soleil. I launched and ran my own small business, a book publishing and marketing company.
Growing up in the country probably made me quite grounded and prepared me for stepping into the world I move in now, which can be over-the-top and unbelievable at times. Working in events taught me how to multitask and juggle a million things at once, which is crucial to what I’m doing now. While Collective Hub started as a magazine, our events are a major business extension and add so much value to our community.
Working in sponsorship for The Wiggles and other arts and entertainment properties was the best possible on-the-job training of my life. It gave me absolutely essential grounding to broker the big deals I’m doing now with Collective Hub!
These are just a handful of my experiences and they have all, in their own surprising way, prepared me for what was to come.
3. Embrace Constraints
I have literally had hundreds & hundreds of doors slammed in my face. “Lisa what are you doing, print is dead.” I had no credibility. I had no staff. No money. I had never worked media, in an industry that was saturated and projected to die. What is key though is knowing when to start and when to stop. There has always been something in me that says “keep going, don’t stop.”
The truth is that we are all in transition – whether we can see it or not at the time. Our lives are made up of pivots, twists, turns and adjustments, which hopefully lead to contentment, satisfaction and that warm glow of pride – if we follow our own paths and don’t allow distractions, societal pressures and self-doubt to sway us off track.
It’s not only the sum of our professional experiences that shape us, either. I’ve been (very!) open in my past books about the personal milestones that have moulded me as an entrepreneur. Going through a divorce, drinking too much, giving up drinking 13 years ago, becoming estranged from members of my family, reuniting with them again. Love, loss and burnout have all made me strong enough, tenacious enough and resilient enough to deal with what came next.
If you haven’t quite landed on your Why yet, that’s fine – don’t dwell on it and don’t be hard on yourself. The most important thing to focus on now is that you’re finally ready to start really digging deep to connect to your purpose.
Nothing that you have done in the past is wrong. It was where you needed to be at that point in time, in that headspace, to fill your cup with the experiences that have led you forwards to this moment.
The question is: where will you go from here?
Don’t have money?
I have a big belief in ‘value exchange.’ Money is not an excuse. Because literally I had none. And I have explained all the reasons it shouldn’t have worked. So what I have always done to allow me to play a big game is if you remove money as a currency, what are my tangible assets? So I knew I was going to have a ‘physical’ print magazine. With this I could tell people’s stories. I could sell advertising. I could give partners physical copies. I could ‘speak’ (even though at that time I could not string two words together). So in exchange of this I could then seek ‘assets’ to trade. It could be money or it could be a database. So how could we trade? The first issue cost $350k and I had no money. So if ads cost 5-8k per page you could soon see that this may not be financially viable (unless we sold more than 80 ads). I had 4 staff. No one is buying print. So we had to think differently.
Self sabotage and excuses can be a killer but there is always a way.
Don’t have time?
The facts are right there in front of us: there are 24 hours in a day, 7 days in a week, and a certain number of years in your life. We can’t make more time or control how many days we have in our lives – but we do have control over how we use the time we have.
We know this, but all too often we don’t live consistently with this belief. We waste time on things that are unimportant.
Equally, we find ourselves experiencing time in different ways.
We all have enough time to achieve anything we want in life, if we use it wisely.
A woman came to our office for a book signing recently and in conversation, she casually remarked about something that happened “back when I had a career”. She said it like her life was over, like there was no chance for something new or exciting to happen.
“Out of interest, how old are you?” I asked. She was 53! Hardly over the hill! The founder of the transformative TED conference series didn’t even come up with his idea until he was almost 50.
This woman’s best years could very well still be ahead of her. It’s a matter of adopting the right attitude and perspective to put you in a positive headspace for growth and change.
Not enough experience?
This is the easiest point of all to fix. Do you know the best way to get experience? Seek out experiences! You don’t even have to quit your day job to do it! These days, thanks to the Internet and the abundance of technology at your disposal, you can give yourself a crash course in your chosen industry, without even leaving your living room.
Mark Manson says “What’s Your Favourite Flavour of Sh*t Sandwich and Does It Come With an Olive?” And here’s the truth he’s trying to get at: everything sucks, some of the time. Nothing is ever perfect and you have to let go of the idea that, when you find your ‘one thing’ – your purpose, your Why – when that happens, everything in your life will suddenly fall into place and you’ll run off and live happily ever after.
Spoiler alert. This is a fantasy. Everything involves hardship, challenges and difficult periods, at one stage or another.
As Mark Manson writes:
“Everything includes some sort of cost. Nothing is pleasurable or uplifting all of the time. So the question becomes: what struggle or sacrifice are you willing to tolerate?”
So, think really long and hard about this: What unpleasant experiences are you able or willing to handle?
- How uncomfortable are you willing to get – physically, financially or emotionally?
- Are you able to pull all-nighters and give your weekends over to your passion?
- Do you need some big boundaries in place, so as not to affect your family, in your quest to find your Why?
So if self-sabotage rears its ugly head just say NO!
4. Battle Entitlement
Everyone has ideas. But what separates those of us who live in the blissful, purpose-led space of living our WHY from everybody else is simple: less talk and more action.
You can’t blame anyone but yourself if, when your aha moment happens, you scribble a life-changing idea on a page in your notebook, stick it in your desk drawer and let it gather dust under your bitten pens, paper clips and chocolate wrappers.
I have written in the past about my frustration with ‘gunnas’ – you know, the people who say they’re ‘gunna’ do something, but never quite get around to it. They haven’t seen a sign, the timing isn’t right, their boss just needs them for one more project, and how could they possibly quit on them?
Fast-forward two years: someone else has launched their ‘unique’ idea and revolutionised an industry, while the ‘gunna’ is still staring at the faded wall of their cubicle.
This might sound harsh. And I’m the first to admit that it takes a huge amount of courage to chase your WHY. Especially when it means stepping away from a comfortable existence – a stable job (if there is such a thing these days), a good salary, and a company car. I understand why it can feel safer to stay on the ledge, instead of leaping.
But people leap every day. I know because I meet them!
- The single dad who left his job to join a tech start-up
- The 16-year-old health blogger who convinced her school to sponsor her
- The 83-year-old grandmother who developed her own prototype
- The corporate intrapreneur who pitched her innovation idea to her boss
These are the ‘doers’, who don’t just have a brainwave and brush it aside. Instead, they instigate it, innovate it, action it and implement it. They could build roadblocks, make excuses and join the ‘gunnas’ on their road to nowhere, but instead, they take their first step on the adventure of a lifetime.
The truth is, there will always be a good excuse not to fulfill your purpose. It will never be the perfect time, the stars will never perfectly align and there probably won’t be a sign. If you’re waiting, you’ll be waiting forever. Every forward-thinker feels fear, trepidation and apprehension. It’s a natural side effect of innovation. But later, you’ll find regret is a far harder emotion to digest.
5. Step Back to Grow
When you find your WHY, it can seem so obvious, such a natural fit, that you might wonder, “Why didn’t I do this before?”
I can tell you why. You weren’t ready.
There’s no freaking way I would have been strong enough to do this any earlier in my life. The specific moment that we launched the magazine, in March 2013, was always meant to be the moment of lift-off.
It doesn’t matter that I attended the Frankfurt Book Fair in 2007 and afterwards in Marrakesh, I sat and scribbled down a sketchy business plan for a series of magazines that I could develop.
It doesn’t matter that I bought a book a short while later, called How to Start a Magazine.
It doesn’t matter that I actually registered the business name ‘Messenger Magazines’ a full two years before I even got the idea for Collective Hub!
None of these things mean that I should have started my journey into magazine publishing earlier.
Instead, all of these moments prove that, while the journey I’m on now was a lifetime in the making, it was only ready to launch when I became truly and 100 per cent connected with my WHY.
One of the most significant pieces of the puzzle that clicked when my WHY landed was this fact: all the experiences I had garnered over the years had purpose. All the heartache and the hard times happened for a reason. These challenges and missteps and moments that, at the time, sank me to my knees and made me struggle to even get out of bed in the morning, were the exact same experiences that made me strong enough to step into this big, bold, exciting, exhilarating, crushing space I find myself in today.
Also, they were a catalyst – I knew from my own prior struggles with inadequacies, fear, lack of support and overwhelming self-doubt that there was a market need for Collective Hub. Better still, I knew I was strong enough to step in and help others. This was my calling – I could literally feel it in my gut.
In many ways, you could say that Collective Hub is a 16-year overnight success. I had a publishing and marketing business for 11 years, while I daydreamed about stepping into something bigger, bolder and more impactful. What was I doing for all of that time, if not preparing to launch this magazine and gearing up for this moment?
6. Give Failure its Due
Fear of failure. Fear of success. I have 18 business streams and most at one time or another have failed. So every day under the litmus test of ‘igniting potential’, we are always coming up with ways as to how we can connect with our community. So lets make this real. Four months ago after the success of our Kick Start series we decided to roll out Masterclasses, first in Sydney and then next in here in Melbourne. So I put this idea out on Facebook for a Masterclass on digital marketing for 25 people. The cost was $149 and the tickets sold out in 20 minutes. The beauty of our set up is that we get real time feedback from our community. If the idea failed, it would have failed fast. For every one that works there would be 20-50 that don’t work. You will know the failures by the ‘big news’ on social media followed by the silence.
Robert Downey Jnr once said, “It’s hard to get out of the barrel. It’s slippery around the edge and people are happy to see you fall.”
I’ve borrowed these words from Robert, the king of comebacks if ever there was one! He moved past a drug addiction, a jail sentence and career troubles and somehow leveraged his second chance to become one of Hollywood’s most sought-after actors. If Robert doesn’t embody second chances and successful comebacks, I don’t know who does.
Still, he isn’t the only person to have failed – once, twice or dozens of times.
Neither is he the only person who has brilliantly turned his life around. Every one of us has the chance to change our actions and our feelings.
We only get one life, but that doesn’t mean we only get one opportunity.
Potential, hope and possibility abound: it’s up to you to see where they take you.
What moments have you considered failures (i.e. job or promotion you didn’t get…Outcomes and experiences you’d rather forget… Travel and trips that took you in a different direction… People you met who changed the course of your life… Challenges and hiccups in your career… Plans gone awry at home or at work…)
- What have you learnt from each part of your journey?
- What skills, experiences, expertise, drive and resilience have these moments gifted you?
- How have those experiences changed you, educated you and propelled you forwards?
7. Be Discovery Driven
For many people who are striving towards a goal or a set outcome, the idea of surrendering is akin to giving up. But that’s not what I mean – far from it.
I’m referring to the act of letting go of your perception of control. Because honestly, that’s all it is – a perception – and the truth of the matter is that when you force anything too hard, it often falls apart under pressure.
Eiman Al Zaabi, author of The Art of Surrender: A Practical Guide to Enlightened Happiness and Well-Being, explains that our duty lies “not in controlling our lives, but in being able to sit within ourselves and develop a deeper understanding of the self ’s desires.” In this way we can develop a deeper understanding of our desires, our vision and our ability to create good and make an impact in the world.
“There is a future story that wants to be told through your life,” says Eiman. “This story needs to be listened to, and when you do listen, life takes on a different meaning. You begin to move in unity with your purpose.”
Trying to force an outcome is completely counterintuitive. Even though you are desperate, even though you’re itching for things to change, even though you’re so ready to move into your purpose that even one more day of waiting seems unbearable… even then, you need patience.
Because when you surrender, you are quite literally falling into ‘flow’ – my favourite state of being.
For example, at Collective Hub we are all about igniting human potential.
For every opportunity that comes our way, I ask: does that ignite human potential? It’s our litmus test. If someone wants to do a fashion label with our brand, does that ignite human potential? No, it doesn’t. What about starting a university course to educate entrepreneurs, does that ignite human potential? Hell yes!
Now, did I set out with the goal of creating a university course? Not a chance. But by adopting a Zen-like nature, staying in flow and being open to opportunities, it enables things to come to me and pass through me.
Of course, we have certain strategic plans and goals. But I never try to force an outcome that is not naturally brewing. For me, it’s all about energy and flow and being open, rather than ticking items off a list and moving in a certain direction because it’s on a business plan.
Surrendering to this process is key. What this means is that all day, every day when you’re open, people want to collaborate, share, grow and partner with you – and there are boundless opportunities to create beyond your wildest dreams.
Who am I not to keep going?
Here’s the truth: in 2016 I almost gave it all away. Everything. The magazine, the brand, the business, the lot.
My discontent starting seeping in slowly, and when I finally reflected back on it, I could see what the problem was. I was stepping away from my WHY, rather than stepping into it.
Where I thrive is in the middle of the chaos: I love big-picture planning and strategy, problem-solving, coming up with ideas and solutions, and sinking into the creative.
Where I don’t thrive is in the detail. In 2016 I found myself mired in – I was up to my eyeballs in staffing details, magazine details, HR details, financial details and operational grind… It was detail overload, and I didn’t cope with it well, at all.
To compound things, as I got busier and busier last year, I found that I let my self-care go. My routines and rituals, which are so grounding and so important to me, were sliding. I knew what my non-negotiables were. However, they were starting to fall by the wayside because I was struggling to keep my head above water, let alone remember to meditate in the middle of a stressful day.
This meant that when the sh*t hit the fan – which it did, in spectacular fashion – I didn’t have my usual support infrastructure to turn to.
So I did something drastic. I packed a bag and fled to India in October 2016. When I arrived, I was emotionally hungry and desperate. I’d got myself into such a risky position with the business, which was on a downwards spiral, and I was making massive personal sacrifices – health, relationships, friends, family, everything – along the way.
That journey to India turned out to be transformational in more ways than I can explain. It changed my life (again!) and forced me to turn inwards, while also flipping every belief I had on its head to analyse what was truly going on back home.
After the retreat – 11 days of going deep, being completely removed from all technology, digital connection and external noise – I felt renewed. When I returned to Australia, I dug deep and found reserves of energy that I didn’t even know existed! For 12 weeks I went full throttle – with a renewed toolkit that kept me safe and nurtured, and enabled me to go hard and fast again without completely burning out. And I turned every aspect of my life around.
I’ve experienced monumental life shifts like this before when I’ve chosen to invest time (and money) into reconnecting to my WHY. The experience was so transformative that, and this probably won’t surprise you, I’ve been madly writing the basis of yet another book, which will detail exactly how I got so far down the rabbit hole, and how I pulled myself back out again.
In 2017 life is very different for me, which is why I chose to return to India in a renewed frame of mind. This time, I’m faced with a different conundrum. Life is good. Really good. And now, life is so good that it’s about setting intention to move, grow, expand and unleash on an entirely new level.
Here’s the thing that I know for sure at this point: I’m 16 years into the business and four-and-a-half years into Collective Hub…and I still don’t have it all figured out. Not by a long shot. It is still a daily imperative for me to learn, expand, push myself and get uncomfortable. I believe massively in the power of continuous improvement, continuous checking-in and challenging ourselves.
Once you’ve found your way…how do you stay on track?
As you know by now, I’m a whole-hearted advocate of getting comfortable with being uncomfortable.
After going through the highs and the serious lows of 2016, what I know from the core of my being, and what I have talked about incessantly across every conceivable platform since launching Collective Hub, is that your WHY is an absolute imperative.
It’s the thing that drives you every single day, the thing that keeps you going when you feel like you are at your absolute limits and in the depths of despair.
It’s the one thing that has the power to propel you forwards, to shock you into action, and to drag you out of bed when every single fibre of your being just wants to crawl back under the covers and give in.
Throughout the last few years, my deep connection to my purpose has helped me to navigate the dark times of running a business. This journey has been so much harder than I ever anticipated. If I had known back then what it involved, would I still do it? Yes! Again and again!
- Surround yourself with people who support you.
- Never get complacent about what you’re doing.
- Put yourself back in your greatness zone. Things that weaken you? Ditch ‘em.
- Continue to make the choice to be part of the solution in the world, big or small.
- Be really prepared for what happens next. Sometimes, when people suddenly find some sense of success or celebrity, they turn into narcissistic a*holes. Don’t let that happen to you!
Here’s the kicker: if I hadn’t personally been through so many hard times and periods of adversity, how could I truly choose a purpose of helping others to live their WHY? From what platform would I be speaking? How could I empathise with people, genuinely and authentically, if I hadn’t truly lived the highs and lows?
SEE! Even at the toughest point in my journey, I could check-in with my WHY and make sense of the struggle. I could check-in with my WHY and find purpose in my pain. I could check-in with my WHY and know that even these horrific experiences, the dark days and heartbreak, were only helping me to achieve my mission.
For this, I am thankful.
Your WHY will become your best friend, your greatest mentor, your shoulder to cry on, your reason for smiling, the constant in your life that supports you, shelters you and inspires you, even when other circumstances change around you. Your WHY is so much more than a mission statement – it’s a map for you to follow, which will lead you to the light and out of the shadows.