To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven. - Ecclesiastes 3:1
Having a business can be draining or liberating and the difference often is found in the purpose. Are you in business just to make money? Money can’t satisfy, the more you have the more you want. Yes it is good to make money and I would be puzzled if a woman were in business without the desire to make money. However, money cannot satisfy so it can’t be the driving factor. Are you in business because you want to freedom of having and managing your own time? This is another great reason to work for yourself rather than an employer but again you will quickly discover that having a job is a lot less stressful that being self employed. Too often the very reason you set out in business is the one thing you never attain – free time! With a lot of discipline and clear boundaries it is possible to free up your time and is a worthwhile pursuit, but alas it doesn’t fully satisfy.
You will find that even after making money and with free time to spend it in, something will still be missing! So what satisfies? I believe that having a purpose for what you do will completely satisfy your soul and a business built around a purpose will ensure success.
Purpose is the reason why you do what you do. It is the reason your business exists. Most people make money and time their purpose which is why they either fail or end up miserable as these things cannot satisfy so they lead you on a lifelong pursuit of something that cannot be attained. Take time to have a honest look at your current purpose. What is the reason you are in business? What are you striving for? What makes you smile when you wake up in the morning? Do you smile at all when you wake up in the morning? To find your purpose you need to consider three very important things:
Who are you?
What do you love to do?
How can you make money from who you are and what you love to do?
Once you have answered those question then you are ready to start building a business. You see, being you completely satisfied and the result of being you is doing exactly what you love to do. This might seem obvious but I know far too many people that are trying to be who they think they should be rather than actually discover who they are. These people are tired and drained by the constant effort to be good enough.
I know other women who are oozing life and freedom. Even on their difficult days you can still feel the energy flowing from the core of their being. Everything in their life seems to make sense and seems to be prospering. If you observe these women closer you will see that their purpose is to be themselves. That is it, plain and simple. They are confident in who they are, they do not attempt to be anything other than who they are and make no apologies for not pleasing everyone all of the time. They are authentic and their purpose is blatantly obvious – they love who they are and what they do!
Purpose in Ecclesiastes 3:1 comes from the Greek word chephets which means to delight or pleasure. In a nutshell it means there is a time for every delight and pleasure here on earth. Having a purpose is to have pleasure and delight in something. Is your purpose giving you delight and pleasure or does your purpose for business drain you?
Purpose is a really important part of life and people without purpose are often feeling lost or confused about life. Many people long for purpose but struggle to figure out what their purpose is. Your purpose should be in who you are, you should delight in who God made you to be, you should thank Him for His delightful creation known as you. Out of that delight comes your work here on earth which will be delightful too. The final step is to create a business based on these delights so that you can make money. You see the money isn’t what you delight in; the money is the end result of your purpose.
Here are some tips on how to start finding out what lies inside of you:
- Ask yourself what you excel at naturally now or perhaps when you were young?
- What subjects did you enjoy at school?
- What do you find yourself defaulting to now in any given situation? For example, for me it was organising things, in any situation I will always see a system that will make things neater and more efficient! Bingo, I must be a manager.
- Have a long, hard, honest look back over your life up to this point and see if anything stands out to you that might define you. This may help you find out what God has put inside of you, which will help you find your way to your purpose. For me it is also writing, I have loads of notebooks in my home full of my writings and ponderings. I have always been this way; I am not content if I can’t write. Often, if I need to process something that I am going through in a season of my life, I write a short book about it. Even if it never gets published, it helps me process what I am going through.
- Most importantly ask God to show you who you are, after all He made you and He is so faithful and if we ask He won’t let us down.
Once you have found some clues to who you are start to assess what you do. Is what you do a delightful overflow of who you are or is it a daily stress to make money? For example, if you are an introvert who enjoys painting and solitary time you will most likely find a sales role that involves a great deal of people time draining. Alternatively, if you are a very outgoing people’s person and are spending most of your days working at home alone on an admin based project then you are probably miserable.
To find your purpose you will need to find you. Once you have found you and matched it to what you do then you will begin to realise that there is more to your business than just making money, it can be incredibly fulfilling too.
Bigger Than You
The final stage of having a purpose in business is to have an element of what you do that is not for you but for the benefit of others. Although this might seem like an unselfish act, and it is, it still benefits you as giving, being generous and living for others, is the most satisfying thing you will ever experience. Once you have figured out who you are built a business based on what you love to do, why not find a way to help someone else through who you are and what you do. Your purpose cannot be complete if it ends with you. This is like having crisp, clear water flowing into a pond that has no outlet. It becomes stagnant and is of no use to anyone and certainly not satisfying. Make sure you keep a flow in your life and as you receive keep giving. Whether it is love, kindness, money or knowledge, do your part to live for something bigger than you, to live for the greater good. Now that is a purpose that will completely satisfy!