It all started with a couch.
I sat there in my friend's apartment, on the whim-driven vacation of a lifetime, experiencing a mid-day lull in my New York City tourist binge.
We'd had a busy morning filled with trains and sightseeing and unfulfilled dreams of being photobombed by Jimmy Fallon atop Rockefeller Center.
Perched upon Jennie's couch, I was glued to my phone swiping feverishly through photo after photo I'd taken of my first Big Apple experience.
Then the phone buzzed.
I could feel my face tense up when I saw the invitation email appear in my inbox. I wasn't sure if I was smiling or grimacing. My guts were grimacing, that's for sure.
I can't recall what exactly came out of my mouth as I read the email aloud, but it was dripping with sarcasm. My insides were slamming on the panic button but I tried to keep my cool.
"You've been invited to join the HuffPost blogger community."
There I sat with an invitation in my hands to a platform where my message, my mission to make a dent in this world, could really be heard. And there I sat locked in a staring contest with my cell phone, completely frozen with fear.
Being a writer by trade and a mission-driven entrepreneur, you would think the opportunity to utilize such a visible platform would be a moment of sheer, squealing joy.
Oh, no. My reaction was quite the opposite.
What the hell am I going to write about?!
I can't waste my space on HuffPost with Three Hot Tips to Pop Your Copy.
I can't waste this enormous opportunity with one of the biggest platforms around on measly advice to help sales pages convert.
The people who make an impact through HuffPost are people who have something to SAY!
Then it hit me.
... Oh yeah. Once upon a time, I was someone who had something to say.
Once upon a time, I had a mission soaked in impact. A mission to empower changemakers, innovators, and world-savers to maximize their impact and inspire the masses. A mission that mattered. A mission and a message that, unfortunately, had become completely diluted by my enthusiasm to serve just any damn Joe Schmoe that showed up willing to pay for copywriting or graphic design.
I'd come to the realization that despite my mission, I'd somehow followed the path to dollar bills paved by paying clients in an effort to become a successful entrepreneur. I'd realized I lost sight of the original path I'd set out to create for myself and my business: the idea that sharing your big why, your world-changing ideas, life-altering philosophies, and paradigm-crushing visions is, hands down, more powerful than any copywriting trick or marketing technique out there.
Sitting on that couch in Brooklyn staring an invitation to be a HuffPost blogger, it suddenly became painfully clear I'd forgotten what I had to say to the world through my work.
After my NYC vacation ended and I re-entered the world of reality, I set out to reconnect to my mission and retool my business. I worked to redefine my mission, align my messaging to that mission, and create a movement around mission-driven entrepreneurship.
It was grueling. I was haunted by the need to figure out how the hell I ended up there - so far disconnected to my purpose and discontent with my success.
Was I just not committed enough? Is the mission-driven business model just not viable? Can it just not be done?
This thought permeated every waking moment of my existence.
I started talking to people in my entrepreneurly communities about the epiphany I had and found out it wasn't just me. There were other passionate, inspired individuals dedicated to making a buck or two WHILE making a difference falling further and further from their missions. It was happening all around me and as we talked, the "Once Upon a Time" phenomenon reared its ugly face over and over again.
"Once upon a time..." moments are often associated with children's storybooks or love stories or Hollywood romance. But the "Once Upon a Time" phenomenon that was occurring all around me was quite different. It had now become the sudden realization that being in the business of making an impact isn't quite so glittered and magical.
It's the realization we've been led astray. That what we've been taught to do in order to achieve entrepreneurial success isn't working in favor of our mission to make a difference through our work. That our blood, sweat, tears, and sleepless nights have made us some money but have failed to help us create the movement we once dreamed of creating.
It's the near-violent wakeup call that shakes us at our core and reminds us that we have more than just something to sell; we, as mission-driven entrepreneurs, have something to say.
So here's your wake up call.
Are you showing up with more than just something to sell? What is it you want to say to the world through your work? And are you shouting it from the rooftops?
If not, it"s time to start.