When I was in my mid 20's, I was an energetic entrepreneur on the scene looking to make my fame and fortune. The vehicle I chose to pursue this was the Recruiting Industry. I started to cut my teeth for a small Recruiting firm which was only 2 people in size, but I thought it was an amazing opportunity to grow this business and I could make a real difference in building it. And I did. When I left that company, there were 20 recruiters, and we were a multi-million dollar company in less than 18 months. But then I left...
I left because I was left uninspired by the owner. I was uninspired because my belief system was to make a difference, and once we had grown so large, that difference became a moot point. -It was replaced by Monthly Revenue, accountability and Profit margins. -Pretty UN inspiring things if you ask me.
So I started my own recruiting firm...
And it was just me and the name of my company for about 2 years. But then I met the woman who would become my wife, and I became inspired again. I realized that I would build a recruiting company for her, but not for me. I would always find a reason or an excuse to let myself down so that I wouldn't feel that I could fail. But if I had a reason WHY to build it for her, it was bigger than me, and I wouldn't let her down. She inspired me to go out and get a small office and hire people.
For the first time in 2 years, I was recruiting a team to work with me, and not FOR me. I found a great nucleus of young guys, and found ways to inspire them and for a couple years, they worked their asses for the cause of what my small recruiting company stood for. Certainly, there were bigger, better companies to work for, but they worked with me because they believed in my "WHY" in what my company did.
My "WHY" my company existed was to help regular people become inspired in the companies we placed them in, and find people who really needed a helping hand in their careers. We worked with a lot of immigrants to get them their first positions in Canada and allowed them to build a life for their family here.
We just didn't place people in jobs, that's WHAT we did. Anyone can do that... But where my small company was different was that we found people and asked them what KIND of environment they wanted to work for, and made that match for them and their belief system. We took people from other countries and made an effort to find them positions that would help them establish themselves in Canada, and it made a huge difference in their family, and their lives. It touched them that someone would do that for them, and believe in them when nobody else would.
And I had a wonderful company...
When we started to grow again, now to over 10 people, I had to get a bigger office. And as soon as I started seeing the cost and the WHAT involved of this, I stopped seeing the WHY it was that made me successful in inspiring my team. When you lose that WHY in your vision, you start relying on the WHAT and the HOW, and when that happens, you lose your competitive edge. There will always be competition in every industry, and you can always lose yourself to someone faster, cheaper, bigger ect. But the "WHY", or cause you have distinguishes you from your competitors on another level. You don't feel like you have competitors if you have a strong "WHY" because although other companies placed people in jobs, they didn't do what I did, which was change lives. I simply used placing people as the way to do it. And that's why people worked for me.
But I lost that vision in the grand ol'scheme of things when I started seeing money and success come in. And as soon as the leader becomes uninspired, it doesn't take long for the team to feel that, and one by one, they all left my company to start their own, just like I had when I left my first recruiting job.
I want to be clear...My story is not meant to be a tale of "Woe is Me" Instead, it is meant to show you that if you inspire others around you, and take yourself out of the equation to find a WHY, or a cause bigger than yourself, you will create something intrinsically special. And that will inspire others to drop everything to work with you.
I now realize many years later that my co-workers were no different than me. They simply wanted to work for a place that inspired them to come to work and touch people's lives. When I took that WHY away, there was no longer a reason to work for me. I had ceased to maintain the WHY they were there for in the first place, and they could take their time and skill set somewhere else and do better.
There are people out there that inspire us everyday, and we are drawn to them. Some call it charisma, and some call it leadership. But whatever you call it, it will make you dig down deeper and work for a cause that you truly believe in, and in that realm, you can create any possibility.
And that's what we as humans want. We want to create something that inspires, and touches people's lives. This makes us feel like we are part of something infinitely larger than ourselves surrounded by those who have the same belief system.
So looking back, it makes perfect sense.
Today, I sit in this chair and write this seeing new possibilities of helping and inspiring others once again, and it has brought me back to a life of contribution. And that feeling of WHY replaces everything that WHAT and HOW ever could.
And this has made all the difference...