WHY Matters More than HOW
This morning, I had a coaching call with one of the students registered for my course. As we chatted, I realized something was holding her back from envisioning the life she wanted.
I recognized it immediately because it’s something that has held me back FAR too long from FAR too many things (as recently as last week) I wanted for my life.
It’s this little problem of HOW.
HOW is the bane of my existence. It’s one of my least favorite words and yet one of the most prominent questions in my life on a daily basis and I find myself asking it WAY too often.
HOW am I going to get all this work done today?
HOW am I going to achieve this result I’m seeking?
HOW should I do this?
HOW do I reach the right people with my message?
HOW do I serve my audience the most effective way I possibly can?
I am very familiar with this question of HOW.
HOWever, I believe we’ve given it too much play and prominence in our stories and lives.
It has become such a roadblock that it has blinded us from the more important and much weightier question we should be asking: WHY.
Let me explain.
When I realized I wanted to leave my 9 to 5, I wondered HOW I would do that? I needed to pay my rent or my psycho roommate might knife me in my sleep. I needed to eat. I needed to buy gas. All the things, right? I couldn’t just go rogue and go live in the woods. Well I suppose I could have, but that level of “off the grid” isn’t my idea of a dream life.
But I’ll tell you what I did next that changed everything for me and it cost me 20 cents.
I took the next (Very small) right step. Know what it was? Listing a single item on Etsy. Seemed like a “nothing” move. I didn’t announce to the world I was in business. I didn’t register as an LLC (yet.) I didn’t do anything that seemed “businessesy.” I just took a single step in the right direction.
I listed one item. Then another. And with two items in a shop front that represented me on my living room floor with fabric flowers and a glue gun, I REALIZED I had a “business.”
Of course we all are thinking the same thing — an Etsy shop with two items doesn’t mean you have a business.
But does it? Here’s what I think – it doesn’t matter whether or not that actually WAS a business or not – it made me BELIEVE that I now had something to fight for. It caused me to take the next and the next and the next right steps. And all those right steps ended up becoming a thriving business. At first, I didn’t have a logo or a photoshoot or models or a lookbook or pricing or retailers or even customers! But I did something I will forever credit much of my success with and something I still do that I believe is why so many people call me a “go-getter.” I started before I was ready.
And ya know what? I still make that a habit today. I look like the crazy person who starts projects without planning or making sure I have everything I need – because I am. But I do that intentionally. There’s a method to the madness, friends. I do that because it means I’ve started. It means I now must finish. For me, this is because I’m an achiever personality ( 8 on the enneagram, anyone?) and I have a really hard time leaving things undone. If I start, I will sure as heck finish, because I must acheive. I’m much better at starting, I enjoy starting a lot more than I enjoy finishing, but I KNOW myself well enough to know if I just take that first step, I’ll be in it and it will be MUCH harder to talk myself out of it.
Here’s the truth. Early on in The Yellow Peony, I thought retail would be my golden ticket to the top. But today in that bridal business – wholesale plays a MUCH, MUCH bigger role in my business than retail. Like 80% of my business is wholesale, 20% is retail. I had thought it would be retail that made me the most money, because after all, my margins on selling direct to consumers were much higher than selling to a bridal shop at 50% off retail.
But that was a question of HOW. And over time, the answer to that question of HOW to sell my bridal accessories has changed. It has shifted and evolved with my lifestyle and the type of life I want to live. And today, I’d rather say goodbye to 50% of the profit than hawk my accessories at bridal shows (NO THANKS!) and deal with the selling and back and forth with brides directly every day. I’d rather leave that part to the shops who are working with them face to face, trying things on with their gowns, etc. So I just changed my business model over time. The HOW changed, but the WHY stayed the same.
The WHY is: I don’t want to go sit at a desk in a dimly lit office for 8 hours a day. I want to work from home, from coffee shops, from wherever I want. I want to have freedom in my days and flexibility with my girls to be there with them as much as possible.
I share that example to diminish the important of HOW. The HOW changes — it morphs and looks different today than it used to.
But now I need to say something else. If that’s you? You are doing GOOD WORK. You are not “inferior” because you don’t have a business of your own. You are not less than and there is no guilt in working hard to provide for your family and your life. So hear that loud and clear, sister.
But also hear that if you want to achieve more flexibility in your lifestyle and more freedom in what your work looks like, and leverage your skills and talents to get a paycheck? You are FREE to pursue that! And discovering that people want what you have is a beautiful thing I wish everyone could experience.
If you WANT that and you’re willing to WORK for it, the HOW will take care of its dang self. And it will change — it always does.
The WHY is worth a second look, though.Worth thinking about and getting really comfortable with. Make the WHY your friend, and the HOW will be revealed step by small step.
When I get caught up with the heaviness of HOW, I try to refocus my mind on my WHY and just do the NEXT RIGHT THING in front of me.
Perhaps today for you, the next right thing is opening up Google and doing a search for a new job that will afford you a shorter commute into work and more time in the mornings and evenings to build something on the side.
Perhaps today for you, the next right thing is sending an email to friends and family to announce you’re beginning a new venture and are available for hire – doing that thing you know you could get paid to do on the side.
Perhaps today for you, the next right thing is starting a Facebook page for the business you’ve been treating like a hobby and raising your prices.
Perhaps it’s enrolling in a course to help you learn all the HOWs that feel hard to you right now. If so, I know a gal 😉
Ready to start your own journey to pursue your WHY? Grab my free 12 page guide to help you find your ideal WORK FROM ANYWHERE business idea!
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Here’s the long and the short of it.
You can figure this all out on your own.
You can google and test and trial and fail and edit and redo allllll day long. You know the drill.
But I imagine there are many who would rather not guess and check their way to success. Who would benefit from learning what worked for me and what didn’t. So that’s why I created The Busy Mom’s Business Quickstart course.
This is all stuff I figured out (eventually and slowly) how to do, even with young kids. And it’s totally and absolutely stuff you could figure out too. But I also recognize, not everyone has time or 7 years to mosy their way to success.
You need to take the next step into your dreams and make something happen more quickly. You don’t have time (or money) to mess around. You are willing to work hard enough to create opportunity for yourself.
In this course, I give you everything I learned and used to work my way to success. Business strategy, how to develop effective and clear messaging and a step-by-step plan for how to set up your business in today’s digital environment.
I run a podcast called Kindled all about work and motherhood and I’d love for you to check it out.