One of the hardest things to do as a business owner is to maintain your sense of integrity and authenticity: with yourself and with the people you serve.
What I mean by this is that being clear on what you offer, what you do, who you serve–and, most importantly, why you do all of the above, is necessary. But perhaps the most difficult part, the part that many business owners lose sight of is the why and staying true to their purpose. It makes sense; the day-to-day demands of a business can be both distracting and exhausting. However, remaining true to the “why” for yourself is the core of authenticity.
Remaining true to the “why” for your clients is the core of integrity. It is extremely easy for business owners and start-ups to be so focused on the money that they enter into relationships that neither serve them nor their clients. For example, I’ve had many prospects come to me requesting work that I simply do not do–like one-on-one grief counseling. Or counseling around grief and trauma. And they’re willing to pay a pretty penny to do this work. But this is not what I do. This is not the work I want to do, even if I’m capable of meeting the majority of their needs. I do grief-informed life coaching and consulting: I guide people towards getting over their fear (e.g. of loss and impermanence) to do the fuck what they want to do. To write the damn book. To fuck fear of failure. To go for that promotion. To be vulnerable enough to have that beautiful relationship. To ditch the need to control and overpower situations. To be anti-racist. To show-up consistently and powerfully when dismantling systemic oppression.
Being clear on that, and walking away from opportunities that are neither authentic nor grounded in integrity is so essential to not only building the life/business I want to build, but in supporting my clients in doing the same.
This is one of the many reasons I’m steering clear of VC funding for now (until I’m ready to build an app and it’s required). It’s easy to lose sight of who I serve and why when under the unrealistic growth expectations of a start-up. This is also why I do consulting for companies, and start-ups, so that their leadership and teams can get back to the core of what they offer. Leaning into purpose, and recognizing how fear of loss is jeopardizing your business goals via lack of authenticity and integrity is essential for sustaining growth.