Does the “why” of your business still suit you? We’ve all founded our businesses on a specific passion that drives us. Sometimes, though, that reason shifts as our business grows and we change. In this episode I explore how to reassess our “why” and the reasons it’s such a useful practice.
I’m Kari Lotzien, business and leadership coach, and Be the Anchor is the podcast where I discuss everything from big ideas to mindset, and sometimes just how to get through the day. Sometimes we find ourselves, years into our business, not remembering the passion we started with. This episode is me giving you permission to revisit your “why”. You can reignite your passion!
If you have ever recognized a little voice inside you saying “This isn’t what I want anymore” maybe it’s time to listen to it. Let’s talk about why it’s important and how to make a positive change.
2:42 Revisiting our personal why
3:46 Taking time to figure out what we’re supposed to do
8:38 What the big shifts in our careers tell us
- Do we want more time for our personal lives?
- Are we craving flexibility and a different schedule?
- What voices we should be listening to
Resources discussed in this episode:
Contact Kari Lotzien | Be the Anchor:
Kari Lotzien: [00:00:01] Welcome to Be The Anchor, the podcast. I’m your host, business and leadership coach Kari Lotzien. When the sgeteas of life gets stormy and they always will, it is not up to us to captain anyone else’s ship or to try to calm the waters of the ocean. It’s up to us to set our own destination for what we really want and to learn how to navigate those waves of life together while finding that place of security and stability with others. I call this being an anchor. If you are a dreamer, a visionary, an entrepreneur, whether you have an idea big or small, that you think might just make the world a little bit better, kinder, gentler place, you are in the right spot, my friend. We are going to talk about everything from big ideas to mindset and strategy and sometimes just how to get through the day. I don’t want you to miss an episode so be sure to follow and subscribe to the podcast so that we can stay connected and keep doing this journey of life together. Thanks so much.
Kari Lotzien: [00:01:10] Hello and welcome to Be The Anchor, the podcast. I’m your host, Kari Lotzien, and I’m so glad you’re here. Have you heard the concept of ‘start with why’? Many of us in business have heard this concept from Simon Sinek that leaned into that idea that business life, it’s more than just going through a series of motions and actions and experiences, but it’s about tying it to a greater sense of purpose.
Kari Lotzien: [00:01:38] Why are we doing what we’re doing? I think in service-based businesses, that concept of why does your business exist? How are you making the world a little bit better place? These are the business owners that I love working with because there’s kind of a greater sense of just how are we giving back, how are we creating stronger communities? How are we giving back to that next generation? How are we improving? That’s so much more than just putting money in our pockets or giving our employees a way to pay their mortgages. It’s bigger than that. When I think of that idea of visiting your why, I think there’s two sides to this. One, that every so often we need to come back in business and ask ourselves, Is the reason that our business exists still aligned with what our clients are asking for, what our customers want, what people really need right now. The side that I want to talk about a little bit more in-depth today is that idea of revisiting our personal why. I think for many of us, there’s a perception that when we find our why, it’s like finding our passion, finding our zone of genius, that answer that says, this is why you were put on this earth. This is how you’re going to give back to the world. This is the thing that you were meant to do. I think it almost feels like the sky is open, this light shines down and suddenly everything becomes clear.
Kari Lotzien: [00:03:18] And I think for a lot of us, it can fall short. That best case scenario is that we’ve had this experience maybe once or twice in our lives where we have a sense of giving back and that we’re meant for something more, and that it comes with a sense of clarity and almost a calmness that falls over us in this knowingness, that this is what we were meant to do. But I think for many people, we don’t have that. We don’t have this sense of this is what I was meant to do, and it lasts for years. As I’ve been talking more with my own kids who are young adults, they’re in their early 20s, there’s still this sense out there that somehow when we graduate grade 12 or we leave university or we start that first job, that we need to decide what were we meant to be doing on this planet. How are we meant to be giving back? And that we decide that in our early 20s and then we follow that dream and that when hardship comes, when things get tough, that somehow our why is going to just guide us through all of these bumps in the road. And it’s going to be that guiding light that pulls us through. I don’t think this is the way it goes.
Kari Lotzien: [00:04:40] I think for myself, when I thought about my why, it feels more like that idea of your favorite pair of jeans and, you know, when you put them on and they just feel right, it feels good, they look good. You get compliments on them. Other people like them. I think your why can sometimes be just like that. And over time, as life changes, as we get older, as new things come up, sometimes those jeans just don’t fit anymore. Sometimes they don’t look as good. We’ve changed or it’s just kind of gone out of style and we just don’t like them anymore. I think we need to give our why a little bit less power and that when we sit down and we visit our why, we think of it like that favorite pair of jeans that it’s hard to let go of. It’s hard to part with those favorite parts of our lives. But we need to acknowledge, I think, when our why maybe just doesn’t quite fit anymore and that we want to come back and say, Is it still working for me? I think for many of us who have leaned into entrepreneurship, who’ve developed a small business or who have taken one over, our first experience with finding our why is often related to moving from working for someone else as an employee or a contractor to really taking the reins and deciding we’re going to do it differently. We’re going to do something for ourselves. We’re going to create something out of nothing. And it’s often tied, I think, in a service-based industry with a sense of giving back, or we’re going to make the world a little bit better place, we’re going to offer something to our customers or our community that we’re not seeing anywhere else.
Kari Lotzien: [00:06:34] And it comes with this sense of sometimes sacrifice or service, but it’s often not enough. And I think for many of us, the next kind of big shift in our why, I know it happened for me. I developed my company. I started doing things as a solopreneur kind of just getting things started. And then I had kids and suddenly my drive to be working all hours to be giving so much to everyone else started to kind of fall a little bit short. And I felt that I wanted to be spending more time with my own kids. I wanted to be able to be there for their sports. I wanted to be able to volunteer sometimes at their school. I didn’t want to be this kind of career-driven all-in woman. And I know for myself at that time when my why started to adjust, I felt like I didn’t fit anywhere. I felt that when I went to work and I was around all of these people who were so career-driven and who were looking to work up the chain and wanted that sense of commitment from me, they perceived that if I wanted my business to grow and I wanted to be successful, that of course I needed to be dedicated to that and putting in all of the hours no matter what it took. I felt like I couldn’t tell them, I really just want to be home. I really just want to sit with my family and have dinner. I really just want to be able to snuggle my kids before they go to bed. I sheltered it away.
Kari Lotzien: [00:08:11] And then on the other side, when I would meet with moms who were staying home with their kids, who had more time, I felt like I couldn’t talk to them about how I was growing this business and how I had dreams of something bigger than myself and how I wanted to move that forward. I felt like my why just didn’t fit anywhere and I didn’t know how to talk about that anymore.
Kari Lotzien: [00:08:38] Now as I’m coming into another big shift, I developed that business, I went all in, I grew the company, I did the thing and I was so passionate about the business and the life that I had created. But as I started to move into my later 40s, I found that my energy just wasn’t what I needed it to be for the business anymore. And somehow this little voice in my head said, It’s time to let go. This doesn’t make sense anymore. And again, I felt that I couldn’t really share that with a lot of people. I couldn’t share it with my employees because would they feel like I was giving up on them, that I wasn’t committed, that I wasn’t connected? Would my clients and my customers that had been with me, some of them for many, many years, would they feel like I was turning my back on them?
Kari Lotzien: [00:09:27] I had a profitable business. We were making good money. My business coaches were saying, This just doesn’t make sense. Why would you want to let go of something that is in such an incredible growth phase that’s doing really well? You’re now starting to see the payoff for all of this hard work that you’ve done over decades. But like that great pair of jeans, it just didn’t fit anymore. It wasn’t aligning with the life that I wanted. As my kids have gotten into their 20s and now I start to look forward and think about what the next 10 to 20 years of my life looks like. I wanted to have a career that allowed me more flexibility, that allowed me to travel and to really secure my own schedule and to have more freedom. It’s like my why just didn’t fit anymore. I couldn’t keep lying to myself and giving 50, 60 hours a week to a company that didn’t feel like it was serving my life anymore. Although it was fitting my financial goals, we were profitable, we were successful, there was nothing wrong, but it just didn’t fit.
Kari Lotzien: [00:10:34] And today what I want to talk about is giving you permission to come back and just visit your why. Does it still fit the life that you want? And I think maybe like me, it’s hard for you to find someone that you can share this with that can really listen to that little voice that’s whispering, or maybe it’s starting to be a little bit louder, that says, This isn’t what I want anymore. What I would invite is that you just start to let that voice out of your own mind. That whether it is with a really close friend who’s so good at just sitting and listening, and not giving feedback, or a partner, maybe it’s a colleague or someone who’s been through this before, a mentor. And if you don’t have that person, if you can’t think of someone that this feels like a safe place to share with, then at least write it down. At least journal, get those ideas out of your mind so that your voice has a place to say, This is what I really want. I think many of us, especially in business where other people are depending on us, our families are depending on us for that security, that financial peace, our employees are depending on us to be that leader in our business, especially if we’ve done it well, it can be really hard sometimes to quiet those voices and to just hear your own. You might need to spend some quality time by yourself in silence until you can truly hear your own voice.
Kari Lotzien: [00:11:53] The next thing that I think is really helpful is to then acknowledge all of the other voices that come in. When you start to write down what your dreams are, what you’re really craving in your life right now. The voices are going to speak up. You’re going to hear the voice of your old boss, the voice of your parents, the voice of your partner, the voice of your kids, the voice of your employees. All of these noisy voices are going to come up. They’re going to tell you what you should be doing. They’re going to tell you this doesn’t make sense. Maybe they’re going to encourage you. Maybe you hear voices of someone going, yeah, you know, burn the boats, go for it. Write all of those thoughts down, dump them out, just like you’re dumping out that big bucket. And then start to just acknowledge whose voice is that? Whose voice is that? Whose opinion is that? You might be surprised who shows up. It might be that old boyfriend from, you know, 11th grade that said something to you that just stuck.
Kari Lotzien: [00:13:09] But as you look through the list of all of these voices that are in your head that are giving opinions on what you should or should not do, then I want you to lean in and decide, would you ask that person for advice? Would you trade them spots right now for their life? Do you acknowledge that they’re living the type of life that you want to live? And if not, just like when you’re listening and getting opinions on, you know, the new, latest and greatest cell phone, you can listen and say, thanks so much for the information, but I’m not interested right now. And just like that telemarketer, you’re just going to kind of shut them down and push them out. So we want to acknowledge whose voice is that? Because sometimes we get confused and we might think that that’s our own voice because it’s been there so long that it sounds like your own. But when you give it a space and then you sort through and decide whose voice is that? And are you going to allow them to be a part of this decision as you move forward to this next phase? And then lastly, when you go through this process, you might not be able to see how this can even happen. If you’re dreaming like I was about being able to leave my business, when I first started having that thought, when I first started journaling about it, I couldn’t even imagine how that would happen.
Kari Lotzien: [00:14:30] But then when you can just start to go, okay, why do I want that? What am I craving in my life right now that this big goal is connected to? What I could see is that part of that big goal was connected to the idea that I wanted to explore another creative side of myself. I was starting to have ideas for my coaching business, for doing more consulting, for helping other entrepreneurs follow their dreams. I was starting to come into this place of mentorship. I think part of that was my age, where I started to want to give back to the person that I was in those first ten years of my business. I wanted to be able to give back to that next generation rather than to stay in it. And this idea just started once I started speaking about it, once I started sharing it a little bit in safe places, I started to see ways that I could integrate this new thing that I wanted, this new place that I was craving. I wanted to have more freedom and flexibility. So I started exploring that within my company. I started being able to travel a little bit more while still being available to my team. I started being able to start letting go of some of the responsibilities and the tasks that I was taking on and moving those to other team members.
Kari Lotzien: [00:15:53] So when we acknowledge what we really want, when we acknowledge what we really crave, we hear and give space for the voices that come in, that give us all of their opinions about what we should or shouldn’t do. And then we really lean into the nitty gritty of that to say, are there elements, are there small steps, are there pieces of this next big why that I want to move towards in my own life to make the life that I crave? And how could I maybe take some small steps towards that in these next few months, maybe in this next week? This is how we can be constantly shifting and changing and developing the life that we really want. No matter where you are right now, no matter how far that dream or that new vision looks like, it might look like it is miles and miles away, it might be so foggy that you cannot see where you’re going on this path, but these three steps can really help you to just start to navigate those next steps together and to give you, if nothing else, permission to give the voice to what is next for you so that you are captaining your own ship, you’re taking the reins on what you want your destination to be, even if that means you’re changing course a little bit or a lot. But to just start to give yourself some permission to visit your why.
Kari Lotzien: [00:17:23] Now I listen back to so many celebrities, entrepreneurs, people who have achieved levels of success that many of us can only dream of. When you go back and you listen to your heroes, your mentors, the people who are doing incredible things with their lives, many, many times they didn’t decide what they were doing when they were 19 or 20 and stay with that until they were late into their 70s. They shifted. They changed. Sometimes big, big changes. They moved to different countries. They changed industries. They changed jobs. They did incredibly different things with their lives. But this is the path, I am sure of it. This is the path to making your life incredible and to developing things that really change our world for the better. You are leading the way. You are paving the way for that next generation of 19 and 20 year olds who are still believing that they have to decide what their life is going to look like at that stage. It’s different now. We can show them this is the way to do it.
Kari Lotzien: [00:18:36] I am so glad you’re here. Thanks for joining me in this conversation. If you found this podcast helpful, rate, and review the podcast. Please subscribe and follow. And if you are so inclined to take a screenshot, share it on your social media or send it to a friend, I want to build this community of people who are living bravely, who are creating lives that they crave but we’re doing it together. Thanks so much for being here. Chat soon.
Kari Lotzien: [00:19:07] If you like what you’ve been hearing on the podcast and you would like to do a deep dive with me into your business, I have an invitation for you. This fall, October 2023, I’m going to be launching the Anchored Leadership Group Coaching program. This is a chance for entrepreneurs who are beyond the start-up phase of business. You already have paying customers or people who are buying your products. You’ve already gone through that gritty start-up phase and now you’re at the place where you want to grow. You want to go to that next level without working more hours or stretching yourself any further. You know that that is not sustainable. People have told you maybe that you need to start delegating or you need to start building your team. This is how you’re going to do that. We are going to talk about everything from how you can explain your vision to someone else on your team so that you don’t lose the things that make your business uniquely you. You don’t lose efficiency. You don’t lose the quality of the services that your customers or clients have come to depend on. You’re able to give feedback confidently, maybe when things don’t go quite according to plan. We’re going to talk about marketing and possibly rebranding as you start to build your team and your network. We’re going to talk about relationships and how to intentionally use networking in your business. If these sound like things that are intriguing to you, let’s just hop on a call together. Go to my website at BeTheAnchor.ca. All of the information is there, and you can book a discovery call with me. This is a chance for you to ask any questions that you have and to just find out if this feels like a good fit. Again, go to my website. BeTheAnchor.ca.