I had a revitalising realisation today regards to my main work. For a number of weeks I have been questioning whether or not I am fulfilling my purposes with my work. I provide professional services to businesses. It had begun to feel as if I just had multiple jobs and multiple bosses, an even worse deal than working a 9-5 job – I was feeling like was working eight 9-5 jobs!

When starting out, there was a definite motivation: money. I had made some major mistakes in my first foray into business and found myself staring at $800k of debt and more than 10 angry creditors demanding money NOW. I had already burned through my savings and borrowed to the max personally to try to handle it.

I would never be able to find an employed job to pay at the magnitudes my creditors were demanding so we started 3 different new businesses on the same day. We hoped between them we would see enough revenue to keep up.

Although we got through the first 18 months with all three it soon became clear that they were not really cutting it, we cut ties with two of them to focus on the marketing agency which saw some good growth. We took that growth and rocketed it up over 400% in an 8 month period. Expansion is great and it is awful. You gain a lot but you can also lose a lot if you are not careful. I found myself in recent weeks a little overwhelmed with more work than I could easily handle. When this happens I lose focus and my productivity falls out the bottom. Backlogs can very quickly accumulate!

In recent weeks I had seen some traction in some of my other projects and ideas had started to come to fruition. I was losing interest in my primary source of income. I had to take a good hard look at my purposes and priorities to get my head straight.

I think of this process as a reclaiming of purposefulness. You can lose sight of things if you do not take a good hard look at where you are at and where you want to be in the future and then figure out the best route between those two points.

So that’s what I did. Most people when pushed find out that their basic purpose in life is to help others. The fact that everyone will have a different way of going about it makes for the world to be an interesting place to live in. The main way I want to help others is to inspire them. In the marketing agency I had boiled it down to “making clients more money”. Unfortunately, this was moving me away from my purpose to inspire others, in had become this mundane, commercial cliché.

What had been really getting me excited was the potential to work with various professionals around the world and build an agency partner network where lots of like-minded people could apply my successful agency model and benefit themselves (be inspired by my results) and help lots of clients along the way. This was so much more than “making clients more money” – it was now “inspire my friends to succeed” (for my agency partners) and “help people I had no direct connection to be more successful in their businesses” (for my partners’ clients).

The knock-on effect of this was of course, I need to ensure my own agency and clients are all doing fantastically well, otherwise I would not be able to inspire and help the agency partners do the same for their clients.

This is a major aspect of business outlook. Your outlook on a given situation can make the difference between feeling really confident or feeling very nervous. The exact same situation can be present, but you can fell very differently about the situation. The best advice I can give is to have as positive an outlook as possible but to always correctly estimate the importance and potential consequences (good and bad) in any situation. I always come out better in a situation the more positive I am about it at the beginning and through solving it.

The easiest way I have found to having a positive outlook is to know exactly where you are at, where you are going and why you need to do what you are having to get done right now and into the near future.

Here, by looking at the bigger picture, I have kicked myself up a gear. I rapidly got all the outstanding work I needed to get done for my clients and my parts for the clients of my apprentice partners. It ended up being 7 hours straight and I felt great at the end of it. So great, I was compelled to get this article out on it immediately.

So when you start floundering and begin asking deep and meaningful questions like “is it all worth it” – make sure to reclaim your purposefulness before you answer them. You’ll be glad you did and you will move solidly forward on your overall goals.