I want to share with you a little-known secret of success. And this information is not for just anyone; in fact, in the wrong hands, it’s useless. It only works for those people who care deeply about the difference they can make in the world, who want to leave the planet in a better state than they found it, and who feel a deep longing for connection and meaning in their work (and their lives in general). I think this could be you.
Many people mistakenly believe that a big mission means finding your life’s purpose. In my experience, chasing this elusive dream is one of the biggest causes of procrastination and avoidance—it’s actually a waste of a life.
Your big purpose lives within you already, and it is not something you need to ‘get right’ or find outside of yourself.
I believe that a basic misunderstanding of mission and service is the reason that there aren’t enough people changing the world—we think it is just one more thing to do, another way to niche, and another chance of getting it wrong. What if we choose the wrong mission? What if we change our minds? That’s just for gurus, surely? Maybe we don’t want people looking up to us for answers.
I’d like to show you that uncovering what really matters to you and then fully committing to going for it (whether you succeed or fail) is actually the most transformative choice you can make for your life, your business, and the rest of humanity.
How do you connect to your big mission?
“We teach best that which we most need to learn.” – Richard Bach
So if you can’t go ‘out there’ to find your big mission, then how on earth are you to know what it is?
The truth is that what really matters to us is ever present, always within sight, and already teaching us if we choose to pay attention. It’s just that your true mission is probably the last thing you’d like to be focusing on!
In business (and coaching is no exception) we’d like to project an image of perfection and togetherness. We would like all our problems to be solved and share how we did it.
Unfortunately, for all your problems to be solved you would need to be a) frozen in stasis or b) dead. Either one would suggest a lack of growth and expansion!
Here is the million-dollar question: What is it that you are continually struggling with?
Here is where you can begin your explorations.
Three years ago, I would have said that my big mission was to change the world. Maybe that’s also true for you now.
However, can you see that there is a great deal of pressure to be ‘good enough’ to hold that mission? This leads to perfectionism, hiding our faults, and trying to have all the answers! It also means that we put off making a big difference in the world until we know more/have more clients/make more money.
“If you have a problem and you don’t know how to solve it; that is the solution” – African proverb
Two years ago, I was contemplating seeing a high-ticket coach. I knew I could afford it, she came highly recommended, and above all, she told me she could catapult my business to another level.
However, something was wrong. It all sounded wonderful but still, I hesitated. A friend suggested that I would resist this coach no matter what I paid. I knew she was right and began to despair. I had worked so hard on creating my own modality, but I knew that I didn’t have what it took to bring it to the world.
In that exact moment, my big mission became apparent. I finally chose to get present with the fact that I was actually afraid to commit to my life and business because I might just fail.
I also knew that there were so many other people out there who would spend their lives ‘trying’ but never really being brave enough to fully commit to their hopes and dreams. I knew that they were living at only 20% of what they were capable of, and I knew it caused them intense emotional pain and turmoil. The change they could affect in the world would never happen, and we would all be poorer for it.
Many of them had been my clients, and I had successfully coached them to make big changes, but I knew that for me to be truly fulfilled, more was being asked of me.
Right there and then I told myself, even if I failed, I would dedicate my life to finding those people and demonstrating to them what true commitment looks like. Furthermore, I would use my own life as an example.
Does this sound like a tall order? Do you doubt whether you could do the same? There are some amazing therapists and coaches out there working from their mission. Carolyn Spring is a phenomenal example of this.
I have a theory, and I have yet to be proved wrong (though I invite you to try!). My hypothesis is this: that each person, no matter their position or circumstances, has the potential for changing the world on a massive scale, just by being truly themselves and being willing to be vulnerable.
You, too, have your very own blueprint within, but you have to be willing to let go of control to find it.
So how does having a BIG MISSION actually help you grow your business?
Although part of the magic involved in living and working from your mission is the willingness to keep going even if you fail, you also need to succeed to reach all the people you’d like to help. So how does connecting to your mission and going through all the pain and trouble of getting vulnerable really help you in this?
Well, to give you a real-life meta example, there are many ways that I could write this article for you. I could:
- Try hard to get it right—to show you how much I know about this topic
- Write it as a hidden sales pitch, hoping my writing would persuade you to work with me
- Try to persuade you to adopt a Big Mission approach whether it suits you or not
Or, I could close my eyes before beginning, sink into my body and really open myself to who and what I care most deeply about, and then write from that space—from my deep caring and empathy.
Which do you think would make the better article? Which approach stands the best chance of transforming the lives of others?
I have also just let you in on my secret: that transformation takes priority over ‘business as usual’ for me. This is obvious to anyone who reads my writing, watches any of my videos, or checks out my website.
You will find that the right kind of people immediately responds to you, and you will also find that you immediately know what to say to your crowd because you’ve been there—you know what hurts and you know what helps. You are willing to give unstintingly to change the world. This key element of service also ensures that the movement grows bigger and not your ego. You can be sure that someone in your community will tell you if it does!
Having a key mission you care about also keeps you going when times are tough.
As deep-feelers and meaning-makers, coaches and facilitators often find it hard to push themselves. I’ll let you into a secret—I am the same. At times I am overly sensitive, I feel overwhelmed, and I just want to hide.
Luckily, when you have a big mission, you are growing a community, and that is far bigger than little old ‘personal’ you. Where you may well have given up as a private individual, a movement ensures you keep going and keep serving the ideas and the people that matter. Like a child, a mission demands that you are greater than you could be alone.
How do you get paid?
Perhaps you are wondering: with all this service, how am I supposed to live?
I’d like to reassure you that you are the creator of your life and you get to decide what it looks like. A big mission that creates more for your business and more for everyone is always a conjunction between:
- what brings you joy and enthusiasm
- service to something greater than your personal self
- communion: this is community with bells on, a kind of fellowship without hierarchy where you can learn and do not have to have the answers
Can you see how valuable this can be? Nowhere is there the suggestion that it should be free; we are not monks and nuns.
Here is where you can give yourself the gift of an audit. Are you clear on who you are serving? Is it important to you that your work is accessible to anyone? Are you willing and able to give for a while without results?
Always remember that serving through your blogs, your videos and the many other ways you show up is also a service. I have gained great insights and some massive transformations from free videos or a random newsletter I have signed up for.
Although I’ve attempted to break down ‘big mission’ here, it is all really very simple.
When our hearts, minds, and relationships (I’m including client relationships here) are all pulling in the same direction, something magical happens: people are magnetically drawn to us, our message is incandescent, and it is a natural and inevitable outcome that we build trust and relationships—even collaborations, which are essential to a big mission.
We don’t have to work so hard; we can let go and trust what we are building and be supported by it in turn. You will not find the answers by ramping up your social media campaign (though that will develop spontaneously when you do the inner work) nor by doing what you think people want.
Big mission begins with you, and your willingness to be vulnerable and follow what you really care about—whether anyone else ‘gets it’ or not.
Editor’s Note: If you enjoyed this piece by Jessica, be sure to read her article Are You Comfortable with Your Pricing? You can learn more about Jessica and her work in her Featured Coach interview.
Jessica Summers helps empathic entrepreneurs and coaches connect with their authentic voice and Big Mission. This allows them to transcend the marketplace and become much-needed thought leaders. She lives in Montenegro with her husband and young daughter.