What's it like to run an impact driven business?
Today's question is a little bit different and it’s from Amanda, thank you so much for this question. It’s great to have these left-field questions from time to time. So, your question is:
“What's it like to run an impact driven business?”
This question is amazing because you’ve noticed something that most people don’t notice, which is that this business is driven by impact. This question shows an understanding that if we want to create concentrated impact in the world, on whatever level, it doesn't just happen by accident. Yes, sometimes people can get lucky and they can come up with a really good idea, and everything goes perfectly for them, which is fantastic. But most often, creating impact is not as simple as that. For example, for us it is creating a more compassionate and effective world for future generations, and that doesn't just happen by posting random Facebook lives and funny memes. It’s clear to me that this question is coming from a place of layered impact. Amanda here obviously understands that creating positive change requires organising, and also a commitment to serve.
The short answer to your question is that running an impact driven business is hard, and it is also rewarding. So, what is it like? It’s hard and it’s rewarding!
It's hard because:
- Impact doesn't happen overnight. You have to be committed for the long haul. If you want to create true impact in your life, it takes time. It’s not going to be six months and then you’re done. It takes years. A short term plan is a 5 year plan! That's something to take into consideration when you’re running an impact driven business.
- The other thing that’s hard is that people in general, you, me, everyone, want to create categories to make sense of something they don't quite yet have a full picture of. And many people have not run an impact driven business, therefore they don’t actually understand what we’re doing and how we’re doing it, or why. For example, because we are creating impact in the personal development industry, we, as in the Sumiloff Academy, are often categorised into 2 main boxes: money-hungry narcissists who want attention and who take advantage of people who are struggling, or we’re flighty weirdos who lack credibility and who are off with the pixies, and we can’t possibly know what we’re doing. Often then, because a lot of the personality development industry is like that, we get pigeonholed in this way. And that’s hard. There is space in between for building a financially viable business of integrity, and that’s what we’re going for. We want to be a financially viable business because this is our work, but we come from a place of integrity. That’s important to us, and we need to work to make sure we’re getting that message across.
- Another thing that is difficult with this particular industry and work is that this vision we have, of a more compassionate and effective world, requires change and people don't like change at the best of times. People only really want to change when things are unbearable as they are. Change is scary, and it can trigger us all into our most primal behaviours, as you’ve probably seen. So, simply doing the work, creating the videos to answer questions like this, writing the courses, books, and programs, and building our own social media safe house is not the only work. The other work is navigating the emotional landscape of every person we work with.
Those are the main challenges around running an impact driven business:
Change doesn’t happen overnight.
People like to put you into boxes that fit their points of reference, so getting your message across is really important, and can be difficult in this industry.
And finally, the fact that our work is change oriented, and people don’t like change at the best of times.
It's rewarding as well, and here are my top 3 reasons why:
- The main thing that keeps us intuitives going, and if you’re an intuitive person you probably understand this, is that this work, at its best, offers hope and changes the future for the better. This is my top pick for this list because we’ve literally stopped people from completing suicide. When I see a person falling in love with themselves, really seeing themselves for the first time, seeing how hope is restored in their mind and that they can aspire to the levels they’ve been dreaming of, or when I see someone stop themselves from making a permanent decision based on a situation that may change when they change, that makes me feel emotional and very humble. I can’t think of a more incredible gift to give another Feeler. Seeing people love themselves and accept themselves, maybe even for the first time, gives others permission to love and accept themselves more. That’s really beautiful and that’s why this is my top reason why this work is so rewarding.
- The second thing that is so rewarding about running this kind of business is we have the power to change, heal and grow relationships. Humans crave relationships that are safe and nurturing. Without that we don’t have a sense of truly belonging as our full selves. This work teaches our clients, our students, our beloved group members, how to build those relationships. We want to do our very best to help and show people how to heal and build meaningful relationships. When I hear a person overcoming their childhood trauma to build a loving relationship with their dying parent, I feel like we have made an impact. To help repair something like that is just incredible. Or when I see a marriage repaired after an indiscretion and both parties can show up as their authentic selves going forward, that feels like work well done to me. That is super rewarding to me.
- Thirdly, people who have self-actualised through this work, tend to want to support others. There is a willingness to pay it forward, and if you’re creating impact, you want to see the generosity of heart passed forward. This creates a ripple effect that has the power to bring healing to every corner of the world. And you may know, if you’ve been following along with us or working with us, about the Integration Mentors that I have trained personally, who are continuing this work wherever they are in the world. We’re sharing this work as widely as we can.
Those would be my top points about why it’s so meaningful and rewarding: we get to do work that genuinely changes lives, and sometimes stops people from making permanent decisions from temporary positions. Having the positive change to heal and grow relationships, as well as supporting people to repair relationships that could easily go down a different track is deeply fulfilling. Finally, the ripple effect that we can create in the world when we are feeling better within ourselves is amazing. When we succeed we naturally want to see other people succeed as well.
So, that’s what it's like: some days it's hard to keep going for the long haul, when quitting and getting a job seems like the easier option. Anyone who's ever run a business knows exactly what I'm talking about! Some days are hard, such as when I get projected onto, or assumptions are made about me, or when I’m placed on a pedestal- because inevitably I will fall since I’m not perfect and I don’t want to be on a pedestal. On days like that I would simply rather get on with producing the video or writing a book. And then there are the 1-2-1 sessions, the group calls, and the simple exchanges of progress, shared love and care, that make it all worthwhile.
I hope you enjoyed this Q&A. I would love to hear your thoughts of your main take-away from today's post, and I would like to encourage you all to even make a post about your own experiences on this topic. What does an impact driven business look like from your end? If you’re in business, what impact are you making? What are the things you struggle with and what things do you really enjoy? Those would be amazing to hear about.
Thank you for sharing this space with me, and thank you for being a part of our vision of creating more compassionate and effective individuals and leaders all around the world.
Have a day full of wonder!
I’m Merja Sumiloff. I’m the Personality Decoder and I show my clients and people who come to me how to heal and grow your relationships without massive disruption to your day-to-day life.