We have a LOT of women owned businesses in our network. I know a lot of really incredible, brilliant, service minded women that are absolutely kicking ass. I also know a lot of burnt out women that are barely keeping their heads above water this year (and a lot of them are the same people). Recently I took a beat to ask myself “what is your mission?”.
Maybe it is because we are nearing three years of a pandemic. Although it has “mostly” fizzled to a manageable part of life, the stress and trauma of the last three years have not. Many of us started new ventures or pivoted during a time when everything felt uncertain and scary. We took on new roles, new responsibilities, and started new businesses.
2022 hit like a ton of bricks. Life opened back up at full steam ahead, leaving many small business owners scratching their heads, wondering how to manage all of their pandemic era commitments while LIVING. Wondering how to handle managing a business with a looming recession. Wondering how to handle this…interesting new world.
This year we have seen team members leave and we have gained new team members. We opened a marketing agency and pivoted our membership. The stress has been a lot to carry, but one day in therapy, I realized that I was casually missing the point.
THE MISSION. I was so attached to the people, the projects and the crippling expectations that I had forgotten what the mission was. Like motivation, people and projects are fickle and they come and go in seasons. The mission of your life/business/career should evolve, but should be our north star when we are making micro and macro decisions. How can we do this?
Check in with yourself regularly
Are you focusing on your north star? When you are making decisions for your work and life, are you focusing on the overall mission and are your decisions moving you further in that direction? Does that new house, new car, new relationship, or new client inch you towards where you want to go?
Sure, some seasons of life are for experimentation and reckless disregard of common sense, but in general, when we keep an eye on the direction that we want to move in, we will make decisions that are aligned with our souls.
Serve with soul, but put yourself first.
So often we pour ourselves into clients, bosses, employees, customers, family members and friends that we forget who the hell we are.
I found myself sitting up at night, worrying that I would disappoint one of our 140 members. I worried that I wasn’t doing enough. I worried that I was doing too much. Worry, worry, worry…constantly. One day I opened my eyes and realized that allowing myself to be stressed out that someone that is paying me $20/mo might be unhappy with me…for a job that I am not even getting paid for…made NO SENSE.
So I stopped. With the help of trusted friends, peers and members, we pivoted our membership into a more intimate setting that allows me to pour into the incredible women that value my time and effort. It was like a weight was taken directly off of my shoulders.
Accept changes and endings
I hate endings. I hate change. Truly. But then they happen and I breathe again. Sometimes it is hard to leave a job, lose a friend or an employee, to end a project or move to a new city…but sometimes it is necessary. Sometimes it allows you to make space for the people and things that pour back into you and fill your cup.
The bottom line is that your MISSION should guide your decisions. If your mission is to live a full and happy life that is filled with meaning, then go out there and live it. If you businesses mission is to make people feel good or fill an important gap, than DO IT. Be open to changes, to pivots, and to beautiful beginnings disguised as hard endings.
Caitlin Thomas is the Founder of Beyond Boss, a professional photographer, and a mama of two. She is passionate about helping other women make more time for living and enjoying life, without sacrificing their dreams and ambitions.