When we are busy, it is so easy to be distracted by the what (the job). To be successful, we need to constantly remind ourselves of the why (the reason we do the job).
I work with an author named Al Andrews. A few years ago, one of Al’s good friends asked him what he dreamed. He quickly answered that he was living the dream: he had a family he loved, a job he loved, working in a town he loved. But his friend pushed back, “That’s great, but what do you dream?” Al realized he was being asked a much bigger question, causing him to dig deep and find what he really dreamed.
Al had it! He wanted to become a philanthropist. The problem was, he didn’t have the kind of money philanthropists have. To make money, Al wrote a children’s book and planned to give away 100% of the net profits from sales to organizations that are doing good in the world.
I joined Team Improbable at the beginning of this year, after being inspired by Al’s mission during our first conversation. I help Al with a lot of the day to day details, allowing him to dream big and then we develop a realistic plan to go after those dreams.
This past Sunday, Al had the opportunity to speak at Cross Point Community Church. The title of his talk was “Dream & Do.” Most of my week was about the details … the topic for Sunday, Al’s outline, slides, times, volunteers. Without even realizing it, I was so consumed with the what and lost sight of the why.
The night before the “big game,” Al and I had a great conversation on the phone. We both agreed that the what was well taken care of. It was time to focus on the why.
The current Improbable Philanthropy project is to raise funds for an organization called Thistle Farms. The women of Thistle Farms have survived lives of drug abuse, prostitution, and trafficking and are finding a new way to live.
At Cross Point, it didn’t matter how many books we sold (the what). It didn’t matter how many people came to the services (the what). Sunday was for our friends at Thistle Farms to be given hope (the why). Sunday was for the people at Cross Point to be rewired to dream again (the why).
Al spoke four times on Sunday and did phenomenally well. He presented our project for Thistle Farms and the people of Cross Point responded with vigor. As a collective group, they purchased over 1100 books and helped us to fully fund the lift!
While it’s important to accomplish the what, we must never lose sight of the why.
Why do you do what you do? Leave a comment.