Monday, February 18, 2013

How You Lost Your Purpose

It happens suddenly, losing your purpose I mean. But when it happens you probably don't realize it. You started out with a goal in mind, a purpose to your efforts, and somehow you lose sight of it in one fell swoop. Then, you realize it (or not) months later when its possibly too late to do anything about addressing it.

It can happen when you bring a partner on board, or in a brainstorming discussion with a non-stakeholder. It can even happen while discussing new channel opportunities with your business mentor. But, mostly it happens because you don't communicate that vision and goal properly.

You may not want to communicate that goal because it would seem silly to outsiders, or because it is not ambitious enough, or a cadre of other reasons. But, you have to communicate that goal, else your partners and other stakeholders will, at best, shrug and struggle to understand your vision over time and, at worst, will steer you away from it.

Then. for no apparent reason, you start to lose interest and your effort-level wanes. Your partners and mentors scratch their heads to understand how you've plateaued. You yourself begin to question why you got yourself into this business. Its not that complicated: you've lost your purpose. The business is investing in things that don't address your goals, and it won't pivot to address them just to salve your needs.

So, you try to get interested by whatever means: 1) interesting challenges, 2) exploring new technologies, 3) reaching new markets, 4) meeting cool people... but if you've lost your purpose, these are just temporary solutions.

State your purpose. Now. Email your business parters, investors, mentors. Tell them why you got into this in the first place and tell them that you'd be much happier if you were heading the same direction again. Tell them you'll have your motivation back. Meet them for lunch. Explain that you never communicated exactly what you wanted out of this in the first place. Find ways to agree to address those goals.

Then, get back to working with a purpose.

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