It's Not The What's And The Where's; It's The How's And The Why's
I've often wondered whether the reason I can never pin down an exact description of who I am - you know the thing: 'what do you like to do best', 'what's your biggest strength', 'if you had to be an orange or have sausages for fingers, which would you be' (thanks to my sons for this gem...) - is because I'm an entrepreneur.
And not just a lifestyle, it'll do until I get offered a high paying corporate job, type of entrepreneur but a serial entrepreneur. An I-was-like-this-before-I-knew-what-an-entrepreneur-was kind of entrepreneur. It's in my DNA.
It's who I am. It's what I am. And it's how I live. I make decisions that other people would run a mile from, and my target setting (and achievement) abilities have often been the subject of much comment amongst my friends and colleagues. Smashing goals that seem utterly impossible is one of my specialities.
Despite having experienced all kinds of personal challenges that would have stopped better people in their tracks, they haven't stopped me from - ultimately - believing in me, my skills, and my potential; and turning it all into a level of success. One day, I'll figure out the disconnect...
I've spent a long time just following my heart, doing what I want to do, shying away from what makes my instincts uncomfortable (rightly or wrongly - and who cares anyway?!) but have recently felt the need to really start to dig down and find out what it is that motivates me; to identify my purpose. Only when you have that answer can you truly do your best work.
Along the way, I've learned something interesting.
What really gets me going when it comes to new projects, and in life itself is this, seemingly innocuous, discovery - it's not the what's and the where's; it's the how's and the why's.
I've started lots of businesses over the years and there's little in the way of links between them. They are distinct from each other, and often in different industries - the only commonality being me. I'm not terribly interested in what it is I do, although it helps if I like it (particularly if I'm going to be the face of it!), and even less interested in the operational where's, including my own operational where - I've worked in the middle of college canteens, on trains criss-crossing the country, and even in a cupboard for four years (yep, I kid you not). As long as I have something to put my computer on, I can work.
No, what really motivates me are the how's and the why's. How does this work? How can I encourage clients to buy in? Why did X work but Y didn't? How can I solve this need? Why am I the person who can make this change?
It's about being better and achieving more. Every time. Learning new things, having the chance to read books and discuss the finer points of what I'm working on with those who know more than I do. Refining and reflecting. Competing with myself; being a more agile and leaner thinker. Taking ideas and cutting them down to the bare basics before rebuilding them. Finishing each day knowing that I've conquered, even a tiny, something - and that tomorrow will be more of the same.
The how's and the why's are the domain of the entrepreneurlal mind, and the what's and where's are the land of the managerial mind; the person much more suited to process than innovation.
We need all varieties of thinker in the world, in business as much as in life itself, and for us to really achieve what we are capable of we need to understand which we are. Me? I'm the innovative risk taker, the rule breaker, and process dismisser.
It doesn't always win me friends (and it has certainly lost me some) but it does leave me satisfied, and happy. And, for me, looking for my purpose, searching for my reason, it's a trade-off I'm more than happy with.
Are you a what's and where's, or a how's and why's person? I'd love to know which resonates with you more! Comment below :)