I’ve always been willing to go full kimono with you, so why not start this year by doing so again? 2021 kicked my butt. I was invited to many fire drills and, with a penchant toward the parental, took on the worries, doubts and fears of the entrepreneurs I serve. For the first time since I founded this business, I felt depleted. There were days I had to force myself to mount my now infamous treadmill desk and log onto Zoom. There were times when this felt like just a job, which scared me. When I left my corporate life of 25-plus years, I promised myself that I would never again have just a job.
I brought this question to the cushion, my breathwork, journaling and all the woo-woo stuff I do for self-care. One thing kept coming into my consciousness: I needed to make this a mission, not a job. I committed to using the space created by the slight pause for the holidays to solve this challenge, and to ensure that 2022 wouldn’t beat me down.
I am not referring to a company mission. That is hugely important, a shared rallying call that can galvanize a team. Instead, I am writing about a personal mission. The thing that will get you out of bed each day energized by a call to action for which you want to manifest the best version of yourself.
For years, mine had been simple. I wanted to make my family proud and for them to feel safe and secure. While that remains important, I am now the parent of adult kids. Heck, I am a grandfather twice over. I am proud of them, and it is their turn to provide for the safety and security of their families. In a way, that job is done, or at least the chapter has changed. So what now?
I love what I do and who I do it with and for. That alone, however, does not a mission make. So, again, I went back to the cushion and the woo-woo stuff until it hit me. I wake up every day with the opportunity and responsibility to empower entrepreneurs. They are agents of change on the front lines fighting for human health, climate action, justice, equity, diversity and inclusion. How cool! Now, that is a mission! I could feel the energy and enthusiasm as I put pen to paper and read it aloud.
I am not naive. I know that despite the first blue-skied spring day when everything feels so fresh and possible, there will be dark and dreary days that follow. I will still be invited to the fire drills and won’t be able to set down the worries, doubts and fears of the entrepreneurs I serve. But I am confident that buffeted by this newly formed mission, those won’t have the same vampiric effect of draining my life force. I am convinced that if I keep this mission front and center, I won’t face any days when I am forcing myself to mount my treadmill and log onto Zoom. I am on a mission, and this will never be a job.
I’m sharing this guessing that I am not alone in experiencing the depletive effect of the past 20 months. Although I want desperately to believe it is soon to be in our rearview mirror, as a realist I recognize that we will be in these troubled waters for a while. We mustn’t succumb to them and we can’t allow them to overwhelm us. A solid personal mission is a life raft that will keep us above the dark, murky, tumultuous waters in which we find ourselves. What is your mission? Put pen to paper and share it with me. Don’t let this ever become a job!
Elliot Begoun is a 30-year industry veteran, author, podcast host, founder of TIG Brands, and a champion of Tardigrades. TIG Brands supports a community of entrepreneurs interested in building nimble, capital-efficient, resilient brands that become Tardigrades, not Unicorns. Learn more about TIG Brands’ programs here.
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