Recently I went to an ashram in Millis for a Kundalini yoga class. During the introduction, the teacher referenced Sat Nam, a greeting that is used in the Sikh community.
Sat means true essence, and Nam means to manifest in the world.
So, there I was, someone who coaches and trains people in entrepreneurial-thinking, gaining a new perspective on the entrepreneurial process.
“True essence” sounds like something that would lead to a personal mission. Knowing yourself – your talents, interests, passions, experiences, ideas and values – is the first step in clarifying your unique contribution.
Entrepreneurship is the practice of taking things on. Why not have it be your mission to express your true essence and have that impact the world?
For example: One of my clients, Deborah Lynn Strafuss, just spent the last few years caring for her mother as she journeyed through Alzheimer’s, a disease that also affected all of her mother’s siblings. She then wrote a book about her experiences, which included learning and offering Reiki to her mom and other caregivers, creating workshops and support groups, and learning how to connect and be with her mom in new ways.
This woman’s personal interest, especially since it is likely to be a continuing factor in her life, inspired a change of career and a new focus on educating and supporting families and professional caregivers in coping with Alzheimer’s. Her book and this mission, guided by her values, utilized her talents and those of others: poetry, Reiki, art, design, writing, and a drive to make a difference. Now that the book, ‘On Angels’ Wings: A Journey through Alzheimer’s with my Mother” is published, it will become a tool for public awareness and education and a basis for the programs she wants to offer to families and to organizations that deal with Alzheimer’s on a regular basis.
Entrepreneurship is a way of taking responsibility for what you perceive is missing, and trusting that you have something essential to provide to the world.
Theologian Frederick Buechner describes your mission as “the place where your deep gladness meets the world’s deep hunger.” Whether you relate to Mark Zuckerberg or Mother Teresa, they both had a mission, a very clear idea of what they wanted to offer, and did so successfully.
If you want to feel fulfilled, design an offering that speaks to your “true essence” and help it manifest in the world. It is in the contributing that your mission comes alive. Bringing water to villages in Africa or financial solvency to your family are causes that become missions, that become reasons to organize, take action, and use your gifts and talents.
By assembling teams, companies and communities move missions forward. For example, the recent Women’s March exceeded any expectation for numbers and reach. All over the world, women peacefully marched for many different causes. Now groups are meeting to organize next steps.
Mission is divine purpose – it hits you in the gut and heart. Living your mission in the world brings fulfillment.
We are conditioned to adhere to the cultural norms: get a job, work hard, make money and be responsible. Although those things are important, sometimes they may not seem like enough. Recently I watched an episode of “Big Little Lies.” The series is about women in Monterey, California, and how they balance motherhood and career. One woman, Celeste, who was formerly a corporate attorney, gets an opportunity to practice law after six years of taking care of her twin sons. After the experience, she is talking to her friend in the car and they both start yelling, “We want more!”
I think people need more, and I think the world needs more from us. We are in a time when we can no longer sit back and think that someone else will handle it.
You and the world need mission-driven entrepreneurship. What is your mission?
Nancy Cantor is principal of Ashland-based Cantor Consulting and founder of the Dream Factory Community, an educational organization for women solo-entrepreneurs. She also leads The Entrepreneurs Connection that offers business development groups for small business owners. She can be reached at email@example.com or www.cantorconsulting.com.