It's not enough to 'want' to succeed. It's not enough to pour money into your passion. It's not enough to pay for an ad in your local yellow pages, or online, or in Facebook.
You need purpose.
The desire to make a lot of money is not purpose. The desire to be successful in a career is not purpose. The satisfaction of a job well done is not purpose.
Not so long ago, I was part of a CEO group in my hometown of Rochester, NY. The group met monthly. We had a faciliator, who I have written about many times (thank you, Bruce), and who continues to guide me in my business endeavors. We also had guest speakers.
"You must be willing to support something bigger than you," our guest speakers said, one and all. They may not have said it just that way, but as we 8 - 10 people sitting around a boardroom table would learn, to build a business and make a success of it, there must be a purpose bigger than... money, passion, even people. Without that purpose... you may build your bank account and create buzz and make a good go of it, but, you will limp along wondering what's next, and slip into ordinary, over time.
Purpose does involve passion. I have a passion for the human-animal bond and for working with women. The passion for working with women led me to creating this blog. I still had the passion for animals and how they impact our lives, but I didn't act on that. I concentrated on Lipsticking and the women who were part of it. I was happy. But, I wasn't making any money. I wasn't achieving anything remarkable.
It wasn't until I met Caroline Golon, and she and Tom and I decided to do something for pet bloggers, that my passion became a purpose. I could still work with women - it turns out the majority of pet bloggers are women - and now I could make a living, and give back, too.
When we founded BlogPaws, our growing pet community that hosts a yearly social media marketing conference, we did it to help other pet bloggers and to support shelters and rescues everywhere. It played so well into my passion to serve humanity by showing the importance of animals in our lives, as well as my desire to work with women, and also my deep, deep commitment to writing. To date, BlogPaws has held 5 conferences, with our 6th on the horizon in May. We've donated over $60,000 dollars in cash, goods, and support to shelters and rescues across the world. We've build a network of bloggers who can make money working with us and the brands who are eager to engage with pet bloggers.
Where is my purpose - the bigger than me purpose - in all of this? How can I become remarkable, rather than ordinary?
It's not like there aren't other places for bloggers to go, to engage with brands and make money. Or, for that matter, other conferences for them to attend, to learn social media skills.
It's not like the women who are part of BlogPaws can't do it without me - indeed, they can.
Here's where the purpose comes in - those other blog networks? They want bloggers. They're not that interested in the person who blogs, just the blogs. I try to get to know my bloggers. I have a smart, talented team that shares my purpose - to advance the human-animal bond initiative - and they work hard to build relationships with our bloggers.
What about those other conferences? Why should pet bloggers come to BlogPaws? They can learn writing skills, photography, video, SEO, and more... at those other conferences, as easily as they can at ours. They won't likely meet many of the pet brands (folks who are selective in both their conference support and their work with bloggers), but they'll come away with great resources in education, no dobut.
At our conference - you get to bring your pet. That's key. We are pet bloggers and our devotion to our pets is apparent in everything we do. To invite pet bloggers to spend a weekend in study about pet blogging, and ask them to leave their beloved pets at home, just didn't seem right to me and Caroline and Tom.
Plus... at BlogPaws, you have a weekend of learning, networking, fun...and a chance to be part of something bigger... because we give away big checks (like the lottery) to selected shelters and rescues. We do not exist to merely be pet bloggers - we exist to be part of a purpose: promoting the good animals do, the value they bring to human beings, and the unconditional love they give us, each and every day.
My purpose in being the leader of BlogPaws is to make the world a little bit better by sharing the wonder of the animal kingdom with people who would otherwise dismiss it.
It keeps me focused. I spent many years finding this purpose, working towards it without even knowing it, ever looking for ways I could improve the world tomorrow, with work I was doing today, not quite sure what that meant, not quite sure where that was... finally grabbing this 'idea' of BlogPaws and running with it, never looking back.
If you're struggling with purpose in your life and business, stop and think... pause a bit and take time to evaluate. Involve others who are having the same struggle. Work together - at BlogPaws, we embraced this quote from Margaret Mead, and we continue to believe in it:
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." Margaret Mead
I am closing today with a comment from my PR Manager, Carol Bryant, whose purpose in life mirrors my own. At our recent Team Summit, she remarked, "We write the blogs that make the whole world read."
And there you have it, the rest of my reason for doing what I do.