Why Are You in Business?

As leaders, are we clear about the reason why we are in business for ourselves? What is really driving us to push the envelope and grow to the next level?

September 30, 2005

Doug Dwyer
Contributing Editor

Why are we doing what we do day in and day out? Is it because you or I think that is what we should or have to do? As leaders, are we clear about the reason why we are in business for ourselves? What is really driving us to push the envelope and grow to the next level?

The answers to these questions will provide us with the ability to be more consistent in producing the results we desire and to experience greater fulfillment in our days.

I have found after speaking and working with hundreds of business owners that they all generally want the same thing: strong margins/profits and quality of life.

There is power in clarity because it produces the ability to have a deeper commitment to the future and simplifies decision-making. If you are clear about what you want, there are only so many ways to get there. If you are not clear, then any old path will do! This is one of the major reasons why some have great success and others just get by.

After five years in sales, I was in my mid-twenties and was an assistant vice president of a sales department. It was one of many family businesses we had at the time. Have you ever found yourself good at something but you just weren't happy doing it? That was me. I wanted and needed a change at that time in my life. It was a tough decision to consider. It was one of those times in life, from a career point of view, that I wasn't too excited about any career direction. I didn't want to get stuck in another job I was successful at, but not excited about. I needed to get perspective and I had to do something.

The idea of being a ski instructor came to mind, and that was more interesting than any other. It would give me a chance to try something new, get away from the family business and not be locked in long term. This thought created another challenge from a perspective of pride. I could imagine someone asking, "What do you do for a living?" and I'd answer, "I'm a ski instructor," and not, "I'm an assistant vice president." It forced me to really think about what was important in life and what kind of impact I wanted to make.

I had heard over the years that you should have a personal mission statement. This was always kind of intimidating to me. What if I got it wrong? Not having one sure hadn't helped me in the previous five years, so I decided to write one. I wanted to be confident and secure in my decision to change careers.

Here was my original mission statement, created in 1991: "To contribute, impact and influence other people's lives in a positive and empowering way."

My thought was, "that will work, and I can do that as a business man or as a ski instructor." So, I made the change with confidence. The interesting thing is that I have made major updates to my mission statement twice since then; once in 1995, and again in 2000, but the original statement did not change. It was a pleasant surprise that it could be that accurate 14 years later. My statement has expanded to included things like "to live a full life, provide for my family, have meaningful relationships and serve God."

If you have never taken the time to write your own personal mission statement, you could be missing clarity, fulfillment and fun right where you are in life today.

Today, I am living the dream of running my own business, while at the same time fulfilling the mission I feel called to do. What do you have to lose? Or better yet, what do you have to gain? Go for it!

Author Information
Doug Dwyer is president and chief stewarding officer of DreamMaker Bath & Kitchen by Worldwide, one of the nation's largest remodeling franchises. He can be reached at doug.dwyer@dwyergroup.com.

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