I recently attended the First Annual Maine Startup Challenge, an awesome event hosted by the Maine Venture Fund. The competition invited four different age groups from kindergarten through adulthood to submit a conceptual business plan for the chance of winning a cash prize to start their venture. The finalists were diverse in many ways: all ages, solving problems ranging from a gap in the children’s outdoor toy market, to the lack of African language learning opportunities, to improving outcomes for dense breast mammography. While the ideas were big and impactful across every industry, what most struck me was something that the finalists all had in common: a clear focus on solving a real problem.
It’s easy to get caught up in our careers, our day-to-day jobs, our to-do lists. It is easy to lose sight of the problem that we are working to solve. The Startup Challenge reminded me of the importance of connecting deeply with this problem and internalizing it as the reason for the work I do. For us at SoulBeing, we are solving a gap in the US healthcare market that makes it difficult to access non-hospital health and wellness services even though they are plentiful in our communities. By focusing on improving care navigation, education, and affordability for these services, we are removing barriers and driving access to high-quality services and providers that help keep us well and drive down overall healthcare costs. This is a problem worth solving.
Whether the problem you are solving today is your true purpose, your organizations’ mission, or even a specific goal for your team, finding this connection and implementing a daily reminder of WHY you are doing this work will deeply impact both the quality of your work and the joy you derive from the daily progress you make toward your goal, no matter how small. There’s a reason why mission, vision, and purpose are at the center of the most successful organizations and high-performing teams: each of us is searching for meaning in our work, each of us strives to make an impact.
Human nature is a beautiful thing, and the more we understand it, the better we can be as individuals, as teams, and as companies. What do you consider the problem you are solving through your work right now? I’d love to hear about it.
Wishing you well,