Should I start my own business and follow my passions?
I have had countless conversations with highly successful, ambitious, and very clever friends and clients who have a certain skill or knowledge set they adore, wanting to know if they should turn in their successful, fulfilling careers and start a business doing the other thing they are good at - Because you know, “Living My Purpose”.
So, Should you start your own business? Are you thinking about it?
Well, you could. Of course you could. With this wonderful thing we have called the internet, you can actually start a business doing exactly what you love, and make money from it. You know I am a huge advocate for starting the things you really want to do and not waiting for permission.
But the question is, should you? And really, what’s underneath this question is a deeper thought... What’s my purpose? And Am I living it? And below that? This innate feeling of fear and anxiety that we’re missing something by not “knowing our purpose” or living it in absolutely every single moment of every day. Like if we don’t start our own businesses and absolutely live our passion for peeling potatoes * every single day we are missing the point of life.
I’m almost 100% certain you would have heard the phrase “do what you love” more times than I could poke a stick at. It’s pretty yummy. It sounds good, it’s rebellious, and it invokes a sense of freedom and permission to just “be happy”. But the message underneath it implies you can’t love exactly what you’re doing, and this is where the problem lies.
DO WHAT I LOVE? OR LOVE WHAT I DO?
Over a decade ago I attended a 3-day workshop held by a huge personal development company, where the aim was to discover our life’s purpose. At the end of the 3 days, I was really peeved, and stressed out. For a few reasons.
I couldn't come up with a “cool" purpose like everyone else seemed to be so sure of (saving turtles, building orphanages, baking cakes for the homeless etc) - so I felt like I was a massive failure.
I felt ripped off that I went there to discover it, or get some kind of lightbulb lightning flash of realisation, or it’d be handed to me on a piece of gold foil, and really everyone was just making it up.
I was in a transition stage of my life - so even though I knew roughly what I wanted out of life, I didn’t know what I wanted to do day-to-day. Which made the picking the “purpose" thing impossible!
And I had it all so backwards. I can’t actually remember a whole lot of that workshop because it was so long ago, so I can’t be 100% certain I was taught the wrong thing, but what I do know now, is how simple, and how internal this process really is, and when you get it right, how good it makes every single damn day of life.
YOUR PURPOSE HAS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH YOUR VOCATION.
You are living your purpose in absolutely every thing you do. You can’t help it. You’ve been doing it since you were little and you had no idea what a purpose was, and you do it every single day in the job you currently have. No, it’s not what you do IN your job, or as your vocation, it’s the way you interact with the world in every moment.
No matter weather you’re Beyonce, or the fruit guy.
And get this - it’s so simple, and obvious, it’s not even that obvious to you - because you do it so naturally. Ha! When you figure it out for yourself, I promise you, you will be slightly disappointed. BUT - When you know this, every day becomes “on purpose.”
For example: We think Beyonce’s purpose is to be a killer lady-singer with badass business cajones to boot. We think her purpose is to sing - because it’s her talent, and she can’t help doing it, and she loves it. Its her job, she can't help it, and she's craaaazy talented at it. She might even think so too. Nope, that’s her Vocation. Her purpose is to empower women. In fact I could go deeper and say it's simply to Inspire. Take Beyonce off the stage, put her in a fruit shop, and that is exactly what she will still be doing. She cannot help it. Since she was little, she has empowered the women around her to be their best selves, and inspired people all over the world through her music, documentaries, creativity, and words.
Me? I love to sing. I’d do it all day every day if I could. I love interior design (I’m an interior architect by trade). I’m a martial artist, and I run a peak performance coaching practise. Purpose? None of these things. My purpose is also to empower. To Inspire. I did it back when I was a kid. And when I was at uni with the other stressed out students. And as a martial artist. And when I worked in the surf shop. And it’s the natural direction of my conversation with anyone. To lift them in some way. (Yep! And Beyonce and I are preeeeetty much the same person…). I can’t help it. But it was so obvious to me, that it wasn't obvious at all. It was the thing I looked past in order to find something big. It was like the elephant in the room. I was even kinda disappointed when I figured it out.
PERMISSION TO NOT START YOUR OWN BUSINESS, AND JUST BE HAPPY.
Sometimes we get lucky, and our purpose matches a vocation that is going to support the lifestyle we also want to live. But let me assure you, if you recognise what your purpose is, you’re lucky. Most people don’t get to have these thoughts about life and discover the purpose which has been there all along. They’re too busy looking outside of themselves. (If you know one of these people, send them this article, will you?)
Your only job from here on in then, is to allow yourself to live your purpose, no matter where you are or what you’re doing.
And if starting your own business is fully in alignment with what you want right now, and your life stage allows for it, and you’re ready to work harder than you’ve ever worked before and experience the ride, then go for it. Because running your own business is an adventure like no other.
But know this. The fact you’re even asking this question makes you a leader. And when you live your purpose, no matter where you are, you lead. Because nobody does your purpose like you do.
Now I want to hear from you. What do you think your purpose is? Are you thinking about starting a business around it?
Stay Curious, It’s the Omega.