One day last year I realized I had a purpose problem.
In 2011, I took 210 flights, averaged about four hours of sleep each night and ran on fumes while my business quickly progressed and my life regressed. I had maintained that pace for nearly three years since becoming an entrepreneur, so I figured it was sustainable. Nope.
There are three types of happiness. The first is "rock star happiness." It is difficult to sustain and this is when you actually feel like you’re a rock star. You feel an intense spark of joy. The second type is "flow happiness," when you’re having such a good time that you forget what time it is. You're in the zone. For me, this is when I'm "working." The third type is "purpose happiness." It's the most difficult to achieve, but it’s the most sustainable once you’ve reached your purpose. Big ROI. We need all three to scientifically be "happy."
So for several years, I was living on rock star happiness fumes, gallivanting around the globe -- and reaching flow happiness constantly while working 24/7, as I helped my influential clients become more influential using social media.
The day I asked myself "why" was the day I was diagnosed with a purpose problem. The universe was basically sending me flashing signals that said, "U-turn, U-turn. Something is not right here." Turns out, I had a major deficit in the purpose department.
At about this time, family and friends started to say, "You need more balance. Slow down." Ugh. I despise the word "balance." Seems like an excuse to revert backward and ease up when the going gets tough. I didn't need more balance. I needed a reason. A reason why I was doing what I was doing. And by the way, it turns out that if you don't address a purpose problem, it manifests and eventually shows up in your physical health.
So I proceeded to search for and identify my "why," which has led to today. My team and I have made some shifts. We have evolved our one-year-old social media corporate education division, Digital Royalty University, by automating it and opening up the curriculum to anyone and everyone. All types of businesses, job seekers and students can take our classes.
One thing I realized while seeking my "why" and innovating my life was that where passion, purpose, and skill collide, bliss resides. Social communication channels are the ultimate equalizer. As a girl from small-town Wyoming who grew up in a trailer home, I believe I've proven that we all have access to this equal opportunity space, and we all have a voice. We just need to own it. My purpose is to help other people identify and reach their point of bliss as well.
Inspired by TOMS Shoes, my team and I have implemented a Buy One, Give One program. For every class purchased on Digital Royalty University, we are giving back a class to a teacher. We’ve partnered with Teach For America as our initial beneficiary. We are launching the program in Downtown Las Vegas, where we office and live, and will soon expand nationwide. The literacy rates in our community hover around the 50% mark, one of the lowest in the nation. It's important that we start with our community first. As we roll out nationwide, the giveback will be localized to the area where the Digital Royalty University class was purchased.
Our strategy is this: Teach the teachers. It's our scalable model for accelerating the process of learning and the process of innovation. We are placing the social media classes and content in the hands of the educators, so we can start to bridge the communication gap between teachers, parents, and students. Studies show that children learn more effectively when the parent(s) are involved with their education.
There's a much larger road map, but we're going to start here. Today, my team and I are simply going to be where our feet are. We've paved the way to this purpose path. Today, the drought is over. We've started something that matters.
Also, my first book was released today: Renegades Write the Rules. I share more about my experiences of the past four years, which hopefully help others leapfrog my mistakes and snag my lessons free of charge. I'm humbled by the support I've received from so many people who helped me seek my why, my purpose, and ultimately my bliss. Ready to pay it forward.
Amy Jo Martin is Founder and CEO of Digital Royalty.
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