Finding your purpose. Let’s break some myths here.
In my experience so far, finding your purpose is about simply allowing yourself to express what you are at your core, when all limiting social conditioning layers are peeled of. For me, that’s my values.
I value honesty, realness, and radical candor. I value being and staying human in the first place, no matter how far you go. Because how far you really are is measured by how you treat the people behind you. Growth mindset, ownership, dedication, and a sharp focus on solutions are the values I’m building FemGems on.
Being able to stand for what I believe in and to work for it daily is incredibly empowering. I’ve come to realize that allowing myself to do that, and making it possible for myself is the greatest expression of self-love.
When you start building something of your own from scratch, you find yourself under an iceberg. You’ve jumped and are now in the cold water. That’s extremely refreshing and gives you a whole new level of energy. It’s thrillingly liberating to be in the ocean of endless possibilities. But remember the iceberg above you? You have to move it. That’s your workload now.
As a solo-founder, you do have the flexibility, but you also have the availability. I work early in the morning when I’m in the bathroom, and I work at midnight when there’s an email coming in while I’m going to bed. You never have time off when you are founding on your own. I don’t have capacities for answering whatsapp messages and calling friends for birthdays; I got really bad at that.
The quote above comes from the latest episode on FemGems podcast, and the FemGem sharing that — Luisa Hoffmann—is not only a solo-founder but also a mother of three. She shares openly and sincerely how her daily life looks like in reality and what it actually means to have three kids and run your business in parallel.
'It's like driving a really fast car, but with no breaks.'
That’s another very accurate metaphor I heard from a startup founder lately. Driving this really fast car is exhilarating, but it’s also terrifying when you realize there are no breaks. Once you start, you can’t stop. And that’s a double-edged sword.
Finding your purpose doesn’t mean that suddenly everything falls into place, you are finally happy and start living that instagrammable life. It means that you go out of your comfort zone, make a lot of mistakes, and take on the biggest battle in your life. The one with yourself. It also means that you’re putting in a bigger than ever amount of energy and efforts in what you do. Sounds exhausting? It is. Yet, everybody is as glad as they can be to have taken the leap. Why?
I am motivated by sitting in the driver seat, taking risks and knowing that I have an impact.
— Madeleine Gummer von Mohl, co-founder of betahaus
Because there’s a powerful answer to the WHY question behind the decision to start up. That’s what drives you and gives you the strength to go through whatever challenge comes up. And great challenges will come up for sure. You won’t be prepared for any of them. It’s not gonna feel nice at all. But this is your baby, and you will do anything for it. You are willing to sacrifice everything to make it thrive. That’s the level of commitment and determination that comes with finding your purpose.
What also comes with finding your purpose is facing yourself as thoroughly as never before. Gradually, everything that is inside of you floats to the surface. And it stays there. All your fears, insecurities, shortcomings, inadequacies. You have to deal with them on a daily basis and there is no way around it. At the same time, when everything depends on you, you have to make sure you keep your energy level high and are as efficient as possible. For that, you start doing two things:
First, you become self-aware, conscious and mindful.
Of the thoughts you have: is this lifting me up or dragging me down?
Of where your time goes: is this activity tangibly contributing to the development of my business? Is my time best spent here?
Of your attention: does this matter deserve my most valuable resource?
Basically, you cannot run on auto pilot anymore. You need to be in the driver seat of your own personality first, so you can be in the driver seat of your business. You can’t let habitual responses and thought patterns run you anymore. You take charge. You take ownership. You deal with yourself.
Second, you fall in love with the struggle.
With time, you start embracing that struggle, because you see that it allows you to grow faster than you ever have. Adversity always comes to wake you up and show you something you need to change. A seeming catastrophe is always a blessing in disguise, because it gives you the opportunity to make a new choice of who you want to be and step up. Once you realize that, you’ll get rid of what’s holding you back by becoming enthusiastic about doing things differently, and doing difficult things. Then, it becomes much more about creating yourself than about finding yourself. You want to become the person you’ll be when you’ve mastered that challenge in front of you. You might even start obsessing about moving on; and in that process, fall in love with yourself, truly.
You become a person who’s always up for the challenge because you recognize it’s true value. Not many people are like that out there, though. Being mindful of your energy levels requires you to choose carefully who you spend your time with, too. The risk of burnout is extremely high when you are working as described above. So you need to prioritize self-care and pick who you want to struggle with.
That is my personal biggest blessing: the FemGems I get to connect with. The feeling that you are all in the same boat, you’re speaking the same language, and sharing the same growth mindset and work ethic is so uplifting! More than that, I’m infinitely grateful for the profound support and empowerment I’ve received from them so far. Some of them do ‘the women empowerment’ quietly and invisibly, but very tangibly. With each one, I feel such a strong connection, and that only reinforces my motivation to pursue the mission of FemGems: inspiring females to turn the things they’re passionate about into their own businesses.
When I dare to be powerful to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.
— Audre Lorde
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