I sit here on the fourth day of the new year, debating on what my “Welcome 2012″ post should be.
A reflection on the past year?
My mentor, John James wrote a post that struck me. It wasn’t the common reflection or resolution post, but a post that challenges himself to have and to identify his sense of purpose. “What’s your sense of purpose?” he concludes.
Who am I to know about ‘purpose’? I am still figuring who I am and what this world is all about. While at 25 years old, I am not the best person to speak about a person’s ‘sense of purpose,’ I can begin to speak about the bars that I raise higher than I think I can reach and the mantras by which I live my days.
Do my all to to add value to any person that I encounter.
When I was laid off from the architecture firm I had endured my brief architecture career at, I knew no one, knew nothing and even worse, had no confidence. As I headed down the treacherous path of entrepreneurship, I met many folks. It was these encounters, that I owe a lot to fueling my drive to continue my pursuit in the hardest of times. When meeting someone new, as selfish as it sounds, I tried to figure out what I could take away. Please don’t confuse my ‘take away’ as ‘taking advantage’ of someone in the negative sense. I simply mean that I would try and identify how I could best leverage the knowledge, resources, support and networks that one has in order to help inch closer to some level of success. Most often, support was the take away.
Believe it or not, support is one of the most valuable of the four I listed. Support is like fuel for the aspiring entrepreneur. When people are supporting you it not only gives you a sense of “I can do this!” but also adds the pressure of not letting those who support you down. While support may be the most valuable, other times leveraging resources, gaining knowledge or gaining access to a network is the key take away.
We all possess these four things, though. How we share those four things and identify how best to share them is different amongst each and every one of us.
Each person I meet, each person I speak to, each person I encounter, I try and share with them as many of these four things as possible. It is not as simple as granting a person with the keys to your four things, though. Some are ready for certain pieces, while others, not quite. Some can use certain resources, while others not so much. Others should learn about specific experiences or processes, while others have no need. All people deserve and need support.
While sometimes I find it very difficult to add value to someone, know that I am always trying to. Know that it is the least I can do in exchange for your time. Know that it is because of the value that was added to my life by so many that continues today, that I am able to write this blog post and share the experiences and accomplishments that I have.
Invest my all into any person, project, company or organization that I involve myself.
I can see this as a problem or a turn off for some, but it is what it is. Know that if I care enough to meet with you and add value to you, then it is most likely that I am going to have some emotional attachment and ‘sense of purpose’ to go beyond our encounter to help you find success. Don’t be surprised if I follow up a 2 minute encounter in a coffee shop with an email or text offering a suggestion, a thought, an idea, advice, resources, a connection to someone in my evolving network or simply a verbal pat on the back and words of confidence.
Many can tell you that while I don’t have 40 hours a week to spend helping each and every person I meet, that I will do my best to help in whatever ways I can and as a 24 hour day allows. If it means meeting at 7AM on a Monday to go over a pitch deck and my schedule allows it, I will be there to help you prepare for that pitch you have with the investor at 10AM. If it is 3AM and you send an email with a question, if I am awake, don’t be surprised if you get an email back within minutes. It may seem ridiculous, but little things like this means the world to an aspiring entrepreneur.
I used to be amazed that someone would spend 20 minutes with me at a coffee shop. I used to tell my, now, wife all the time how I was excited about how a meeting went and how I couldn’t believe that ‘so and so’ just had coffee with me. When that person would proceed to followup or quickly respond to a followup email, it meant even more. Looking back, its embarrassing how much I would brag about who I got to share coffee and stories with, but it was because of the support and the investment each of those people made in me as an aspiring entrepreneur that has fueled me to become who I am today.
Knowing that you have someone that not only supports you over a cup of coffee but is going to help you through your many battles as an entrepreneur, is infinitely valuable. At least it has been for me. I have people that have stood by my side throughout the entire last three years of my life. These are people I have met while on my journey. I wouldn’t be the person I am, in the situations I am in today, if it were not those who have invested their time, their support, their advice into me.
I will never be able to thank the people that have spent hours listening to me talk, answering my questions and watching me make repeated mistakes, but because they have invested in me, and given me their all, they will always be a part of the reason I am able to do or become as a person and as a professional. These people are who have helped me and continue to help me become who I am each and every day. Without these experiences I would not be able to share this post with you, much less have a blog that I hope people read.
I owe a lot of thanks to many people. John James, who inspired this post, is one of those people who keeps my turbo button held down on the video game controller of life. He is always challenging me, always questioning me, always pushing me to learn, grow, and ultimately become successful. John is someone who I can call on 24/7 and know that his advice always has the best interest for me, Josh Clemence, above all.
We all have a mission, we all have goals. We all need to reflect on past years and look forward to the next, but how are you going to leverage your experiences of years past to inch closer to success in your future. What drives you? What do you stand for? What are your goals as a person? “What is your sense of purpose?”