Well, it is my birthday today after all… 43 completed trips around the sun. And this last one has been quite a ride. Please forgive me for dragging you into this self-absorbed tell-all during the Christmas season, but I promise I will talk about Jesus… so we’re good, right?
It’s been a rebirth for me in many ways, so telling you about it on my birthday makes perfect sense. There’s so much to share… so much change in me personally, in my relationship with God, my family and in the business.
My crazy, life-giving 2018.
I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I knew I was looking for answers on how to lead the business into the next season of our journey, but I never saw this coming.
2018 was the 20th anniversary of my creative agency. I’ve seen it grow from a small solo shop run out of my spare apartment bedroom, to a thriving business with 20+ employees and hundreds of clients all over the country and beyond. That growth was clearly provided by the Lord. He gave me a passion for design that, when combined with the internet boom, was a powerful mix. I’ve been blessed because of it in many ways, but I knew things in the industry had changed, and I knew that to continue to provide value for our clients, a new vision would be needed. I became aware of that fact three years ago, but nothing I tried had made an impact.
Over the last couple of years before 2018, I was involved in a couple of business owner groups in the DFW area. I was hoping to find that “next great idea” to unlock the future of the business. I found some good tools that we’ve implemented, and I made a few friends here and there, but the bottom line was that nothing new was coming into place and all my best efforts were leading us nowhere.
In the fall of 2017, I joined a business leaders group through Gateway Church. That group, now known as Kingdom Business Leaders, was similar in format to other groups I had tried, but this one was built on the idea that God has so much to say about how to run a business, and that He wants to use my business to serve others, and grow my relationship with Him through it.
New Vision. New Purpose.
Through the first few sessions in my Kingdom Business Leaders group, I was introduced to my group members and to some of the core lessons on what God has to say about running a business. I learned that God has a unique vision for my life and for my business. I started trying to unpack some of that. First, understanding that He has created me with a burden and purpose. Second, that it is unique and important to how I operate in every scenario, whether as a parent, friend, neighbor or business owner.
That burden turned out to be clarity.
In everything I do, I seek out clarity. I didn’t realize it before, but I can see it now (clarity about clarity!). I want communication to be clear. I want expectations to be clear. I want systems that allow people to be clear about who they are and why they do what they do. And that is what I do every day in my job. I use my clarity and creativity to help others communicate well. I want to help others understand their God-given purpose, so that they can operate in it, and be fulfilled by it. Once I uncovered my burden, everything else started changing too.
God revealed a purpose and vision for my company: To inspire and equip others to fulfill their God-given purpose. That is my WHY statement that applies to everything I do. I flesh this out that at work through helping people uncover and identify their WHY and then help them bring it to life. That’s how we serve people. We inspire them to fulfill their purpose. Then we equip them with the tools they need to go out and make it happen.
As I dug into that, I realized so many popular business books similarly suggest that purpose is important in your business. Knowing WHY you do things should help you build a business and team focused on accomplishing it, and should then attract customers who align with it. Cool. That makes sense. However, what I found is that most businesses do not know how to bring that purpose to life in a clear, easy to follow, easy to apply manner. And most don’t have a brand that tells their unique purpose story in a creative and compelling way.
I began reading books like Simon Sinek’s, Start With Why, that talked about infusing purpose into your business. I then combined it with what I was learning from Kingdom Business Leaders. Something powerful started to form in me and in the clarity it could provide our clients.
As we began implementing this with our clients in 2018, we saw an incredible impact. We were creating the same deliverables for our clients (branding, websites, and marketing), but with our WHY process on the front end. It was like pouring gasoline on their passion. It reignited our clients; they began leading with their purpose. And that ignited me.
New Purpose. New Process.
We now have a name for that process. It is called OVRFLO. We believe that brands, like people, speak out of the overflow of their heart. We believe that if we can identify your core purpose and build your identity around it, that others who believe in your purpose will align with your organization. Their relationship with your brand would then be built on inspiration and trust, instead of transactions and manipulation.
My walk with God has been turned upside down through all of this. I’ve learned that the business is His. He has a vision for it. He will guide it. My role is to be a steward of it. To do that I have to listen to Him. I have to be able to hear Him daily. This is new for me. And as I have worked through this, God has been faithful to show up and speak. He has guided. He has provided.
It has taken a lot of courage for me to go through this process. I’ve been more vulnerable with my KBL group than I’ve ever been with others before. They’ve invested in me. My group leader has blessed me and helped me dig deep into the purpose God has for me, and that brings up tough stuff… things that need to be transformed. And by God’s grace, that is happening. He is breathing new life into me. I didn’t know what I was getting into, but the struggles have been worth it.
My faith continues to grow. When I’m faithful to the things He’s leading me to do, the results are fulfilling. My confidence in Him then grows and my willingness to keep doing it grows. That cycle is powerful and God has no shortage of grace and love and purpose to develop in me.
His Business is Relationships.
Often the life of a business owner is stressful. There’s so much hustle involved every day. The endless effort to make things happen can be overwhelming. Despite all that effort, I’ve learned that God is still after one thing. It’s the same thing he wanted when he first created humanity: for us to walk in the cool of the day with Him. He’s after a relationship.
The purpose he’s created in me, and awakened in me, is happening so that I can know Him in a more meaningful way. It makes my life more meaningful. My work. My family. All of it is more meaningful now. I see how God has woven it all together to point me to Him… my loving Father who cares for me and wants to know me, and sent his Son into this world so that we could have that kind of daily relationship with Him (I told you I would talk about Jesus).
I’ve ‘known’ those truths nearly my whole life, but I’ve experienced them in HUGE ways this year; more so than I ever have. Happy Birthday to me indeed. What a gift. I am so excited to see how God continues to develop me, our team, and our clients as we seek to uncover and fulfill His purpose in our lives.