What’s Next? Navigating Business and Life with Purpose
As we approach the end of the year, it’s natural to reflect on where we stand, both personally and professionally – and to look ahead and make plans for the future.
Two things recently piqued my interest.
First, while earning my CEPA certification, I learned that a startling number of business owners, after selling their companies to retire, find themselves unfulfilled and wish they hadn’t made that choice.
Second, I’ve had a few recent conversations with business owners who have retired over the last year or so – and I’ve found that the challenges they face aren’t really that different from those a lot of people face while they’re still working.
The common thread is that it’s all about finding purpose.
Articulating your purpose can be a powerful step toward making sure you’re truly living your values and can be helpful when you are:
- in the thick of business leadership
- thinking of selling your practice
- adjusting to post-business-ownership life
Knowing your purpose can help you figure out “What’s Next?” and avoid future regrets.
What is purpose?
Values and purpose, though related, are distinct concepts:
Values are the principles, standards, or qualities considered inherently worthwhile or desirable. They guide our behavior, decisions, and actions.
For example, honesty, integrity, compassion, and respect are common values.
Values often reflect what is important to us in life and are typically consistent over time. They can be influenced by culture, family, personal experiences, and societal norms.
Values serve as a compass for how we conduct ourselves and interact with others.
Purpose refers to the overarching direction or aim of one’s life.
It’s often about contributing to something larger than oneself, such as making a difference in the lives of others, pursuing a passion, or achieving specific life goals.
While values inform how we live and interact, purpose is more about why we live and what we aim to accomplish.
Values can shape our purpose, but they are not the same thing.
Purpose gives our values a direction and a way to be expressed in the world.
It’s easy, as a business owner, for your sense of purpose to get tangled up with your professional role.
When you’re deeply immersed in your business, it’s easy to equate your purpose with keeping the business afloat, being part of the action, and feeling needed.
But – once that chapter closes, it can leave a void if you’re not careful.
This is why it’s essential to get clear about your purpose without tying it to your role as a practice owner.
The COVID-19 pandemic brought a lot of this to the forefront – people began re-evaluating how they define their purpose and questioning whether they really wanted their purpose so tied into their professional identities.
We didn’t talk about that much pre-COVID, but now it’s more palatable for a lot of business owners to discuss.
And even if you think it’s a bit “out there,” I’ve found that clearly focusing on your purpose can change the way you feel about your business, your personal life, and how you interact with the world.
It’s worth any discomfort that comes with it.
This kind of mindset has a direct tie to your business success, too.
If you really think about it, your business should exist to help you live out your purpose.
Articulating your purpose is tied closely to knowing what your values are, what you’re excited about, and what you’re good at.
When you’re in business for yourself, you have the power to create a business that aligns with all three – and what could be better than that?
Imagine going to work each day in a business that is exciting, aligns with your values, and uses the skills that you are good at.
Too often, we business owners lose sight of that dream when we get caught up in the day-to-day grind – constantly reacting to the things that are going on – instead of proactively creating what we want.
So what do we do?
Make purpose exploration part of your yearly planning process
Participating in a purpose-driven exercise on an annual basis helps you retain focus on what really matters, rather than letting circumstances or other people define that for you.
This process isn’t about dramatic change for just for the sake of change; it’s about deciding whether your current pursuits resonate with your true self.
I make sure to go through a Wheel of Life exercise at the beginning of each year, and I invite my family to do it too. (Yes. I am the “fun” Mom!)
It gives us an opportunity to reset and recommit to living out our values.
Each year, we gain insights into our individual and collective aspirations, values, and areas that need attention.
I invite you to do something similar for your business.
Before you dive into creating your plans for next year, spend some time exploring your purpose.
After all, the main reason for owning a business should be to fulfill your purpose.
If your business isn’t serving this fundamental motive, it may be time for a change – or even time to exit.
With your purpose in mind, consider what’s next.
Do you aspire to grow your businesses, to grow personally, or to redefine how you spend your time?
Use these questions as invitations to start a purpose-driven journey that has the power to reshape your life and business in profound ways.
If you’d like a partner in that journey, I’m here to help.
Set up a consultation call with me today – together we can define your purpose and make sure your business supports your values. Book a call with Dawn.
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