I didn't want to be a business woman. This isn't a story of hustling at the school lockers selling multi pack Coca Cola at a knock up price (This was the era of Jamie Oliver's rage against the vending machine you know). I don't own a blazer and my favourite part of The Apprentice is theme tune and wondering how on the earth the female contestants manage to be Blow Dry ready within 20 minutes of the cars arriving.
No I never set out to be an entrepreneur when I grew up. But I had a feeling. A feeling I wouldn't have been able to articulate at the time but what I now see as Purpose. I wanted to do something with Purpose.
When starting a venture I think we need to ask ourselves, what am I doing this for? Is it a Treadmill (running for runnings sake, going no where at an average pace and moderate incline - you aren't going to write home about your treadmill time) or is this a freaking Ultra Marathon through an American National Park (a hell of a lot harder but a fully immersive, unforgettable experience thats going to make you feel something, feel everything).
Purpose guides you. Purpose drives you. Purpose shelters you when everything feels like a storm during a low point in your work. Purpose roots for you because you are equally rooting for it.
Starting a business is a hell of a ride. You're usually already strapped in and the rollercoasters started when you're suddenly hyper aware of all the T&C's: Loneliness.Anxiety. Stress. Cancelled plans/dates/birthdays. Forgetfulness. Preoccupation. And caffeine. Lots of caffeine. They'll be days you sit there wondering what the point is. And on those days, only purpose has your back.
Your business is wider than you. Your business is your consumer. You are just the hand that reached out and pushed the first domino, the rest is a chain of connection you hope and work to keep on going. We connect through a sense of unity, of not feeling alone, of sharing an idea or hope. We all want to feel something.
My background prior to founding Yogi Bare was that of a screenwriter and film script supervisor. I spent years working and studying scripts and how to make people feel real emotion through words and story telling. Most scripts felt cardboard and wooden as though the writer was just describing emotion from a distance. But every so often a rare gem would fall on my desk, a script that would lead to a lump in your throat and a pang in your heart. I was always trying to work out what that subtle difference between the two was. As I find myself in business I
realise that the difference is this: it was real.
The scripts that touched me weren't echoes of what they thought emotion should look like, how they should write about it. It was real. The writer was drawing from authentic and real feeling and pouring it on to the page and finding a real connection with the reader.
In our very strange, rapidly evolving social consumer world authenticity is the theme du jour. Companies with purpose can never be inauthentic. I don't believe companies with a meaningful purpose can ever truly fail either, sure they may have cash flow lows but if the purpose is solid and underpins everything, the company will just evolve and adapt to find a different way to keeping fight for the purpose.
Its easy to look around you and feel pressure to emulate brands and their messaging because it might be popular or current or successful but thats a sure fire way to living a life on a treadmill, or even worse - the cross trainer.
I honestly share my struggles, my learnings, my almighty fuck ups, my anxieties because Im hoping that in doing so it will spark endless chains of real connection. Its a bit scary because its not old school professional but to me it wouldn't be real anymore if I didn't. Reality is messy. Im messy.
Don't set out be an entrepreneur. Go out and find what sets you free, what makes you feel alive, what makes your heart jitter like a first date gone good. Purpose doesn't have a title that looks good on Linkedin but if you really open yourself up to finding it, it might just be a very lovely cherry on top.
And in case you wondered, my purpose is for everyone who's ever walked into a room or a yoga class and thought; "I don't belong here" "I can't" "Im not good enough" confidence to move in their own way. On the mat. Off the mat. Because if I can, so can you.