We all have a purpose, an identity, a reservoir of gold deep within us.
Sometimes it feels so obvious what we are here to do. Sometimes the reason behind life seems elusive.
If we listen, we will hear dreams and ideas whispering to us. Something new, something beautiful that only we can accomplish. Sometimes we need to close our eyes and shut down the noise to let that whisper come in. Surround ourselves with other dreamers.
This is the way inspiration came to me, to do something new, to build a store where customers can shop for freedom. To create a lovely curated shop where every purchase supports a cause. Where products are made with dignity, where hands have created an item with care, where every touch along the supply chain is one of love.
I had many people tell me that I couldn't do it, that statistics show that only half of small businesses make it through five years, but I dug deep for the win because I listened to the strong pulse of my purpose driving me forward. And despite the odds against me, I founded Redemption Market, an ethical boutique, that is now in partnership with fifteen social justice organizations and is hard at work bettering the lives of men and women around the world.
Do you feel your purpose bubbling beneath the surface?
Stepping out into what you are made to do is often the scariest option. Especially when others are confirming your worst fears. I received a lot of advice, I read a lot of books, and I listened to a ton of podcasts, but none of them really emphasized the lessons I have found invaluable…
1. You have to define the meaningful purpose behind your business.
The why that transcends making a profit needs to be flown as a banner over your work and lifted up as the light that gets you through the dark nights of hustle, grind, and rejection. As Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, says, “Choose a mission that is bigger than the company.” Because profit doesn’t leave a legacy, purpose does.
2. Running your own business is the ultimate roller coaster ride.
For every victory, there seems to be a setback. The excitement for a partnership that falls through; for a magazine feature that gets cut to just a brief mention; you have a stellar sales month, followed by a dismal one. Running a business is like following the stock market — you can’t gauge your success on the events of each day, you have to be in it for the long haul, always being mindful of the bigger picture of why your business exists in the first place.
3. “It takes a decade to become an overnight success.”
If building an empire from nothing was easy, wouldn’t everyone do it? Although the internet seems to be flooded with incredible entrepreneurial success stories, the truth is that most companies are trudging along day after day, doing the necessary work to create a viable business. Rather than being mired down in comparison, which is so easy to do, find joy in the meaning of your own work.
4. Let your purpose be woven throughout your work.
When you discover purpose for your life, you can use that as a source of inspiration to draw from and weave that into the work you do as well. How can you better serve your employees, your community, the environment? In any business there is opportunity to create a positive impact on our world. If your team members and stakeholders are aware of a higher purpose to your organization, there will be more fulfillment, creativity and loyalty from everyone involved.
5. Finally, find community to walk with you in life and business.
Love others unconditionally. Find time away from the hustle to be self-aware, to think about the deep issues of life, to take a deep breathe and know that you are doing a good thing.
Rhonda LaBatt is the founder of Redemption Market, a fair trade boutique based in Phoenix, Arizona. Starting with a small partnership helping young women rescued from trafficking, it’s now grown to provide aid for more than a dozen organizations, providing clean water, building schools, and securing employment for some of the most vulnerable of the earth. She lives with her husband Kerry and three amazing teenage daughters. Rhonda loves to teach others about ways to fight human trafficking, the joys of adoption, and the sweetness of slow living.