You've likely heard a lot of discussions lately about discovering your Why. At its most basic, the idea is that discovering your purpose will help you find fulfillment in your career - and in life. The movement started in 2009 with the publication of Simon Sinek's book, Start with Why. The next year, I was fortunate to participate in the President's Advanced Leadership Academy at Central Piedmont Community College, and finding our purpose was a part of the program. When we started, I was skeptical, but by the end of the process, I was an advocate.
That experience came roaring back as I participated in Leadership North Carolina's Forum last week. The event theme was Navigating NC, and we brainstormed together on ways we, as leaders in our state, can create paths for positive change. A main driver of the day was a discussion of our individual Why. As I shared in our small group, it occurred to me that as I celebrate five years in business this month, now is the perfect time to explain my Why and how it has inspired Fionix Consulting, even though it's deeply personal to me.
When I was young, we moved approximately every two years thanks to my dad's corporate job. By the time I was ten I had lived in two countries and six states. I'm an only child, so as I grew up, other than my parents, everything else was temporary. Then when I was 13, my best friend died from meningitis. It was very sudden and unexpected. The last time I spoke to her everything was normal, and I left the next day on a family vacation. A few days later she was gone. Life taught me very clearly, and very early, that nothing is permanent.
As I started my career, I found great satisfaction in making an impact early on. By the age of 24, I was leading a national federal program and supervising a team of 10. I was a self-motivated high achiever, but my life of change meant I bored easily. I wanted to succeed, check the box, and move on to the next challenge. And so I did, climbing up the ladder with new opportunities every few years and getting involved with various community organizations.
Fast forward to my time in that leadership course at Central Piedmont, and through that work, I realized my Why: to make things better. And it's true. With my understanding that life is short, I want to go in, make an impact, and make a place/person/thing better than how it was when I got there. Once I don't feel I'm helping, I'm ready to move on to the next challenge. I don't want to spend precious time on the status quo.
Over the years my Why has evolved. Today I see my Why as the perfectly circular explanation as to why I started Fionix Consulting five years ago, why I love it, and why my business continues to grow.
I want to make things better. I want to make organizations more effective, and make people in my life happier. The way I do that is through authentic relationships and a strategic, innovative way of looking at situations/challenges/life. I fervently believe that communication is the fundamental key to authenticity, innovation, and making things better. And so that is what I do. And that is why I'm right where I'm supposed to be.
I can see my impact and my recent client survey proves that point. My clients indicate that as a result of working with Fionix they have successfully driven revenue, navigated crises, improved their overall branding and messaging, enhanced their social media efforts, and strengthened their employees' professionalism and effectiveness. In the survey, 100% of my clients indicated they are likely or very likely to recommend Fionix Consulting, and one of my favorite testimonials from the survey - that speaks directly to my Why - is, "Jessica is warm, kind, quick, full of ideas, easy to connect with, and has vast experience in all areas to improve a business."
Today I'm at a place where I know what's important to me, I know what is natural for me, and I know where I'm happiest. There really is something to this idea of discovering your Why... What is yours?