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When running a company, it’s easy to get caught up in systems in processes. Numbers and figures. The day-to-day problems that need to be resolved.
And as your company grows, this problem usually only gets worse. You become so wrapped up in the immediate needs of your company, that you’re unable to step back and see the bigger picture. And unfortunately, this type of mindset often becomes reflected in the company’s leadership – which has an even more devastating effect on employees.
Recently, I went through a very stressful period for one of my eCommerce brands. Orders surged as buyers switched to online shopping shortly after the COVID-19 pandemic began, and it became incredibly overwhelming for my staff and I.
In fact, it became so stressful, I began to wonder why I was putting myself through this.
My employees were stressed out as well.
To make things even worse, we weren’t sure when there would be an end in sight. While orders continued to increase, we also were unable to hire, and had to change systems around to accommodate social distancing requirements as best as we could.
In other words, we had more work to do, but a less efficient way to actually carry it out.
Finding Meaning In Suffering
I recently read back through the brilliant book, ‘Man’s Search For Meaning‘ by Viktor E. Frankl. Viktor was a psychiatrist that described his experiences and observations while forced to work in a Nazi concentration camp.
One of his key observations was that people who were able to find some sort of meaning to their suffering fared much better than those who found their suffering meaningless.
Now obviously, what my team and I went through is not remotely close to the horrors experienced by Viktor Frankl. However, with this concept in mind, I tried to see if I could find a way to apply it anyway.
I began to look for ways to show my employees – and myself for that matter, how the work we were doing actually had a real impact on actual people’s lives.
We primarily sell baby clothing, with cute or funny designs on the garments. Many of our shoppers are parents, but many of them are also buying the products as gifts.
I reminded my employees that there were thousands of babies wearing our clothing at that very moment. That the designs give parents another reason to smile every day. That gift shoppers were able to form better friendships by choosing the perfect gift. That countless parents have used our clothing for pregnancy announcements or gender reveals, moments that they would remember forever.
I sought out and compiled a list of some of our most recent reviews and my favorite customer stories. I found pictures and video of our products on Instagram, and helped employees to truly recognize that they made these moments possible. Notable example below:
View this post on Instagram
We weren’t just manufacturing and shipping products. In this new frame of mind, we were helping customers to create a beautiful moment for themselves and their families.
Which, let me tell you, is a lot more motivating than simply ‘operating a heat press’ or ‘sealing boxes.’
Look for opportunities to show yourself and your team the true impact their role has – how it fits into the overall bigger picture. Even the smallest roles have their value.
Remember, employees with a sense of purpose and meaning will be more motivated and more productive – while also feeling better about their job as a whole.
I’d love it if you’d share with me a story about how your work has impacted somebody else’s life, and how you felt when you first heard that story. I’ll be looking to feature a couple of them in a future blog post or video.
If you don’t have a story you’ve received from one of your customers, share with me what you do and how it’s improving the lives of others – even if its only a small way.
I look forward to hearing from you!
– James McAllister
That’s the way we should strive right?
To reach out and touch other people’s lives even though we are selling a product.
But then again it is nor merely about the goods, it is about the whole experience and the little things and courtesy that you put into it.
Well written. Thanks for sharing.
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You are right, we can have a very real impact at any point in the experience, regardless of whether or not someone purchases a product. Although, I’ve definitely found that once someone does become a customer you can impact their life in much more significant ways!
This is definitely true with my website here – I like to think that my articles help people, but I really love seeing the transformations my students go through after they complete my paid courses! It’s an incredibly rewarding feeling.
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Hey James – Nice article! It is important to see the higher purpose of the work you do and the positive impact it has on the lives of people, customers and the community that a company operates in. This is a motivating blog. Thanks for sharing.
Thanks Kedar! You’re right, discovering the impact your work does beyond simply the money you earn can be incredibly motivating, and push you to work even harder. I have always found entrepreneurs with a strong sense of inner purpose to pull off some incredible things.
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My work has a daily impact on the lives of my clients, I am aware of this .. I am learning a lot from your blog! Thanks for sharing…
Happy to hear that ERP!
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What you’ve said here is 100%. When we know the whole picture and can feel good about what happens after our part is done, one can be a lot satisfied with what was done right.
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Well said Wasantha! Keeping this in mind can be very fulfilling.
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