A decade ago, I found myself being introduced to multi-level marketing.
Yes, somehow I found myself at one of those “talks” – full of well-intentioned people fully believing this business model was the key to success, the key to giving you what you wanted if only you worked for it.
The foundation of their belief system was one three-letter word.
Whether you had been in the business a decade (and then some) or were just showing an interest for the first time, the same question was asked of you: what is your why?
When I was asked, I stared back blankly. I shrugged my shoulders. “I don’t know”.
No-one had ever asked about me before, so why were these strangers?
As the question got asked around the room, the answers were different – though fundamentally the same. Spend time with family, buy treats for grandkids, buy a dream holiday/car/house, retire early… Financial freedom.
The whole MLM thing never worked out for me – but I learnt a valuable lesson in those meetings.
That lesson? Find your why.
As simple as that.
A few weeks ago, in the middle of lockdown, I was mentally struggling. I’d lost more than 70% of my income thanks to an unknown virus, I didn’t qualify for support from the state and, despite writing it down as a “must-do” last year, I’d never gotten around to sorting finances out so that I had a safety net cushion – my target for that was the first half of this year.
As I sat on the sofa early one morning, I contemplated what had gone wrong. How I’d ended up in this situation – living month-to-month, forever chasing the next paycheque. Wondering where the next client would come from.
And then, as if sensing my internal pondering and despair, my three-year-old came up to me and gave me his Batman Duplo figure.
“Daddy, play Duplo?”
Three simple words, but immensely powerful.
Standing in front of me was my why.
Chasing the big money. Working from 5am until gone-midnight. Chasing clients. Trying to convince myself that that was what would make me a success.
But I’d lost sight that I’d started working for myself because I wanted to spend more time with my family; I wanted to see my children grow up; have barbeques in the garden and run around having water fights; go along to the Christmas plays, the sports days…
I spent the rest of the day doing DIY, fixing up the decking and our outdoor seating area. The boys helped me with their toy tools. At the end of the day, we ate outside together – and then I put them to bed (with an extra big cuddle each), before heading back outside and spending time with my wife, as the stars began to appear overhead.
Your why doesn’t have to be huge. It doesn’t have to be global or national. But finding it, focusing on it and using it when times are tough – that’s what’s important.
My why has helped me get through the last couple of weeks – but also brought me closer to my family; something that I hadn’t realised I’d missed.