Diary of a Franchisee — The Mistakes: Losing Sight of My WHYs (Entry #4)

There are always reasons behind our choices and actions. Sometimes I’m aware of my motivations, sometimes I’m not, and sometimes I choose the “wrong” ones, or simply lose sight of the right ones. Ignoring my WHY has been quite dangerous. My WHY is more than an inspirational force; it’s the fuel that allows me to embrace the difficulties I encounter from an entirely different perspective. I lost sight of my original WHY right after I opened the business. It has taken me a year, not only to reconnect with my initial WHY but, most importantly, to realize that my original reasons didn’t result in joy for me. So, I’ve had to find the one reason that gets me excited about everything that comes my way day after day as a franchisee!

I had some specific reasons for investing in this franchise. They included building equity, achieving financial freedom, helping my family, having a positive impact on the environment, and making a contribution to my local community. These were, and are, all good and sensible reasons. I bought into them and was able to clearly, and even enthusiastically, articulate them to myself and others. They certainly propelled me to make the initial investment and launch the business. Yet, as soon as my challenges started, my connection to them was severed. This detachment left me feeling lost and frustrated. It was only after hitting bottom, for I don’t know how many times, that I realized I needed to reconnect with my WHYs.

I spent a couple of days in contemplation, soul searching for the internal dynamics that were causing my frustration and pain. Pretty quickly I identified my detachment from my WHYs as one of the reasons for my problems. So, I wrote down the original reasons for my investment, printed them, and hung them above my desk. I felt pretty good for a couple of days. I shared my ‘Aha moment’ with friends and family, but deep inside I was not entirely convinced. Something was missing. 

One day, after facing ongoing rejection and other challenges, I looked up to read my WHYs hoping they would inspire me and get me out of my funk. The problem was that I didn’t believe them. They left me flat. Those reasons simply were not enough for me to go through all that I was experiencing. I certainly could find other ways of achieving those WHYs via less painful vehicles. So, why was I doing this? Oh my, now what? Back to the drawing board!

I was amazed that it didn’t take long for me to get to my real WHY. I only needed to ask the right question: What brings me the most joy? I know the answer to this question without hesitation, without having to think about it for even a second. I have always gotten the most joy out of helping franchisees achieve success! I have spent countless hours thinking, studying, investigating, and testing success at the franchisee level, learning about what gets in their way of achieving their dreams, and what helps them get there. So, buying this franchise is a big real-life experiment for me! Crazy, right? Well, maybe not.

I know that deep inside I’ve always felt a bit of a fraud when I shared with franchisees what they were going to go through and how they could get the results they wanted. I had never been a franchisee. I had lots of knowledge, but it was when I started to go through it all, as a franchisee, that I understood. Those feelings and emotions I talked about for years are real. They can be paralyzing. They can get in your way and have NOTHING to do with following a franchise system. Being a franchisee pulled out of the closet all of my negative beliefs and fears that had been hiding there for years. And, you would think that all the knowledge that I had accumulated, all the research, all the experience would have somehow given me a way to gracefully deal with them, battle them, and tame them. Well, for an entire year, they didn’t.

Finding my joy has been a big part of starting to solve the puzzle. It has completely changed my perspective. Now every challenge has meaning. Nothing has changed, yet everything has changed. A chain reaction of aha moments has unleashed, and every day I’m reaching a new level of understanding. Now I know what Nietzsche meant. Because of my WHY, I can now endure any HOW. However, in my case, the better term is “rejoice with” more than “endure,” sorry Nietzsche.

Do your WHYs bring you joy? If they don’t, look until you find one that does!


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