I was recently asked by another business coach, whom I think is a very savvy lady, “So, what’s your favourite question to ask your clients when you’re coaching them?”
I answered with the title of this article, but it’s really another way of asking “Why are you doing this (whatever business it is that you’re doing)?”
There are of course people who run a business purely for altruistic reasons, perhaps for a cause that they care deeply about for example, and that is truly admirable. In most cases, however, we’re doing it for our own reasons and for the improvement of our own lives and the lives of our family.
In my experience, you’re much more likely to be successful if you can find the intersection between these factors. In fact, I like to refer to my ‘Tony’s Good Stuff Model’ – the ideal scenario for your business is to focus on the good stuff that occurs when you combine these three things:
- ‘Stuff you love doing’ (and are preferably ‘inspired by’)
- ‘Stuff you’re good at’
- ‘Stuff people will pay for’
This is not necessarily the only formula for success however, as I mentioned in a recent blog that you don’t have to love what you do to make it work, but it certainly helps your odds.
These three factors above answer really the ‘what’ in what is probably best for you to be doing as a business. The underlying motive that you share with those people who work for their cause, however, is the big ‘why’ – why are you doing it?
Some people answer with what they think you want to hear or what sounds good to them as some kind of moral justification for their endeavours, like ‘Because I like helping people’. Most of us like helping people, but it takes more than that for it to drive you to push on past the obstacles and the tough times that will certainly occur at some point on your business journey.
We need something that also covers the ‘What’s in it for me?’ aspect, because without that, you’ll probably crumble when the going gets tough.
That’s why I ask clients about their ‘big picture’ – their vision for their own life’s purpose. If that sounds harsh or uncaring about their customers, you may have missed my point.
Naturally, we want to ‘help people’ by providing products or services (or both) that solve their problems and enhance their lives in some way, but that business is not ‘who we are’; it’s really ‘what we do’ to earn a crust. One day that business will end or be sold – if you’re lucky (or better still, you have a good coach), you’ll get something to show for it. The bigger conundrum is ‘What comes next?’ In other words, where does this business fit in the greater context of your life?
This is the reason why I look at coaching holistically – it’s not just business coaching or just life coaching. Each one affects the other. If your business is struggling, don’t you think that will impact on your home life? On the other hand, if your life is going wrong (relationship issues, health issues, state of mind issues etc.), don’t you think that will impact on your business?
The marketing questions about which strategies to use to make your business grow are very helpful, but it all only really makes sense if you have truly resolved the ‘why’ questions.
MOST of have to do some kind of work to earn a living and pay our bills and expenses, whereas ALL of us need some kind of purpose to even bother to get out of bed and do more than merely exist.
It’s a well-used cliché perhaps, but the key to meaningful success is found in the word, ‘Why?’
If you need any help with that, feel free to touch base and we’ll talk – ‘Inspiring people to achieve their potential inspires me, plus it helps me lead the lifestyle I want, so I get to go on holidays around the world where I meet more people who inspire me. Then I come back refreshed with new insights, so I can inspire more people.’
‘Why’ leads to ‘win-win-win’ results for all concerned.